The Pope crashed a priest’s Holy Thursday lunch and had these words to say about confession which I sum up this way. If you get in the confessional and turn on the light, they will come. Oh yes, they will come.
Archbishop Giovanni Becciu has a longtime custom of inviting priests to join him for lunch on Holy Thursday – a custom that predates his 2011 appointment as sostituto, the deputy secretary of state responsible for the internal affairs of the Roman Curia). When Pope Francis heard about the meal with the priests, most of whom work with the poor, he said he wanted to attend.
The Pope “said, ‘Open the doors of the Church, and then the people will come in … if you keep the light on in the confessional and are available, then you will see what kind of line there is for confession,’” recounted Msgr. Enrico Feroci, the director of Caritas Rome.
“The Pope said he was confident of the need of the people of God for priests to open the doors and allow the people to meet God,” Msgr. Feroci added.
The Pope wants to put the focus back on the poor, poor sinners that is. I think this is awesome. I would be so pleased if this went beyond advice and into some papal initiative.
April 1, 2013 at 3:39 pm
At a church near us, the first thing the new priests (from Spain, they are lovely!) did was update the old confessionals to the new (which is to say traditional) style. They then instituted 22 hours of confessions scattered throughout the week and are available other times as well. They updated the parish website to say "Confession is Beautiful". And they came. And they came. And they still keep coming! The lines are long, the waits are an excersise in patience, and they still keep coming. I have never seen an empty line for confession. Awesome. http://stanneaz.com/confessionals/
April 1, 2013 at 3:53 pm
Fr. Z had a story on his blog recently. The diocese of Tulsa has an initiative going. Confessions are being offered every Tuesday in every parish from 6 to 7pm. They even put up cool billboards promoting it.
April 1, 2013 at 3:55 pm
He is right! People WANT to go to Confession. They are receiving forgiveness and HEALING there!
April 1, 2013 at 5:09 pm
In my area of the country at least, the limited availability of Confession is shocking. I also have an issue with locked Churches but that's off topic. . .
April 1, 2013 at 6:34 pm
While this all sounds nice enough to the average person the question is this-why should people come back to Confession if they have not been properly taught the Faith for several decades now. Even among certain priests are themselves saying to their flocks on any given day that there is no sin no hell no devil etc. So while it is good to want to promote it we need to state what it is for and how it is to be used.
April 1, 2013 at 6:55 pm
Our parish and another in town has confessions 6 days a week. Folks come. And for our parish's feast day, there are priests there for confession for 12 hours and then the penitents really come–from all over. My husband waited over an hour in the middle of the day that day a couple of weeks ago. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the midweek confession times; in the past I had to work my schedule around the tiny window on a Saturday afternoon but then there were not many in line. Now there are always people in line every day. And there are many many regulars–monthly and weekly penitents.
April 1, 2013 at 7:35 pm
I attended a men's religous chapel for the Triduum. No Latin Mass near and this is be most "orthodox" NO Mass I can find within drive distance…
Their is confession 30 mins before Mass and as long as needed once Mass starts for those waiting.
Holy thursay — Chapel was ~1/4 full.
Good friday — Chapel was ~1/3 full.
Easter Sunday — Chapel was full to over flowing. However, only 3 folks waiting for confession when I got there…
So, I applaud the Holy Fathers emnphasis on confession. I actually cried with sadness and frustration on the way home for Easter Mass.
I'd love to hear more about need for reparation, too.
April 2, 2013 at 3:16 am
What about Holy Saurday ceremonies? Good to hear something substantive from Pope Francis. Confession is absolutely necessary for all of us, and we may not receive the Blessed Eucharist with even one unconfessed mortal sin.
April 2, 2013 at 4:47 am
At our hometown Church, some lovely ladies associated with Opus Dei organize an all-day confession during lent. Every year, the lines go out the door and around the block.
And every year the people who 'gather' to 'be church' at 5p become increasingly, obviously annoyed by the serene, prayerful atmosphere in the Church as confessions wrap-up.
And despite the fact that nobody sticks around after confession to 'be church' (they go to the 8a Mass on Sunday), the priest will not add confession. Its done by appointment only.
I am so looking forward to what I hope is a re-introduction of Catholic practice to the Catholic church by our new holy father.
April 2, 2013 at 4:10 pm
The red light on the confessie's side and the green light on the priest's side calls to those who have been away from the Sacrament. It is like a beacon from God saying, "Come back to me with all your heart, don't let fear keep us apart." I know this from experience. Our parish always has Confession 1/2 hour before masses. Holy Thursday and Good Friday, the lines were long. If you turn on the light, they will come, and come back again and again. St.Padre Pio, pray for our confessors. Open their hearts to being willing to sit in the confessor's seat for as long as it takes to bring the repentant soul home.
April 3, 2013 at 1:09 pm
I'm blessed to have a church nearby with confession everyday, 3x a day, before every mass. And every time I go, it's packed in there. The thing is – every other church in the diocese has confession once a week. People are yearning for it, no doubt. I hope the Pope does take some initiative with this.