Busted Halo
August 20th, 2011

BH@WYD: Annie Goes to Confession


I haven´t been to confession in 10 years. It´s not that I refuse to go, it´s just something I never thought too much about.

One of the many events on the World Youth Day schedule included the Festival of Forgiveness, a section set aside in Retiro Park where 200 priests are stationed to hear confession. Since I had been conducting interviews all week in and near the park, I really had no excuse not to go.

Toying with the idea in my head for a few days, when the chance came to ask a priest about certain aspects of confession, I jumped at it.

Fr. Emiel Abalahin, O. Carm answered all my questions and concerns and even admitted that there was a time in his life when he avoided confession for 10 years. While the church advises we go at least once a year, he said once a month is even better.

“We all need a place to witness God´s listening ear,” he said. “We need a place to say what´s on our hearts and weighing us down.”

So, with an open heart I went to confession for the first time in 10 years. I was incredibly nervous, sweating profusely and slightly uncomfortable as I knelt to confess, the sun beating down on me. Admitting your faults is not an easy thing, but I felt immense relief once I did.

As I further explained my spiritual journey to Fr. Emiel, he said to me, “I´m glad you´re moving and not just standing still.”

And, that´s what I hope to continue this week  during World Youth Day and even after it has ended.

Originally published on August 20, 2011.

The Author : Annie Reuter
Annie Reuter, is a freelance writer and music blogger who covers concerts and music festivals around the country. In constant pursuit of the next show to attend and band to interview, Annie keeps up her own music blog, You Sing, I Write, where she uncovers what it's really like to spend the day with a rock star.
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  • kelly damude

    Bravo Annie! It IS hard going to Confession at times, sometimes a lot, but I go b/c I ask for the grace of God’s forgiveness. My confessions may not always be the best, but I am there asking for help….I know God knows that & so I feel blessed by this Sacrament.

  • Noe

    I’m just a tad confused – this is not a confusion derived about Annie – glad it was a powerful experience for you! – but her story, given it’s WYD setting – really raises to the fore thoughts I’m having as someone who comes from a strong, several times a day prayer-centric, repentance-oriented faith background who is considering Catholicism…how does someone navigate the decision to go to WYD, a…well…very Catholic experience, and not be someone who experiences confession with SOME more regularity than once in 10 years? I mean…for her that was what,…confirmation? Thats…a lot of life going on between then and now! Especially if you’re a normal kid in high school and college!!! And praying every day seems pretty darn straight forward, in the sense of “how hard/strange would it be to do every day”…when, again, we’re talking about someone going to WYD?? doesn’t she take tests in college?…Again I don’t speak so much to Annie, she merely raises these questions for me as much material by identifying, committed Catholics that I’ve read, forums I’ve followed, etc, account these kinds of things about OTHER active, committed Catholics – how does someone NOT do these things, and yet STILL consider themselves Catholic catholics – especially given the statistics of various things privately practiced by young lay Catholics that are…well…to be honest confession-worthy that prevent people from being sacrament-receiving, grace-receiving Catholics? To be clear – I adamantly AM NOT impugning Annie’s character! – I mean this final comment about the aforementioned OTHER lay Catholics who concede to their practices, often openly, in statistics and interviews. How does that…work? When you’re in college and you visit family and go to midnight mass, do you simply take communion without having made confession, or…how does that work? do people communally let it slide, and individually disregard the sins they do that would prevent them from validly receiving communion, and therefore literally go through what are – in their UN-Reconciled state – only motions, for purely secular, psychological reasons?

  • Jean Rummelhoff

    I loved what Fr. Emiel had to say – “our faith is not flat, it is dynamic” would love to hear him more- couldn’t find a twitter account for him – is there another way to follow him?

  • Emily

    You’re so amazing, Annie. I’m so proud of you. You just reminded me that I haven’t been to confession in a year — maybe I should I make sure to do that soon.

  • alisha

    I’m so proud of you! glad you’re learning a lot on your trip, I can’t wait to hear the stories you bring back! I hope Spain inspired you and opened your eyes as much as it did for me. I bet you’ll leave a bit of your heart there. safe travels!

  • john collins

    so so happy your confession experience was so positive. I particularly enjoyed Father Emeil’s explanation. Your honesty about how often you may choose to go was very refreshing.Know it is always available to you. Thank you, Annie

  • Kim

    Annie – Thanks for this! It’s been a long time for me also(my kid’s 1st Communion in 1999 was the last time). You give me the courage to try it again.

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