“But Father! But Father!”, I read in my email, “You are always telling us to go to confession but around here priests don’t hear confessions very often if at all! What are we supposed to do?”
Thus, I read of the plight of many in regard to their eternal salvation, and I am filled with dread for the souls of the priests who have the care of souls but who don’t hear confessions. They will pay a heavier price at their judgment than those in the charge who die unshriven.
Therefore, I was glad to read on the site of the UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald, that a bishop has stepped up and is doing something to revive the Sacrament of Penance:
Bishop asks for hour of Confession every week in Lent
By Madeleine Teahan
The Bishop of Lancaster has launched a Lenten initiative to encourage Catholics to return to Confession.
Bishop Michael Campbell has written to all Catholic schools and parishes to announce the introduction of a co-ordinated weekly Confession on the same day, at the same hour in every church across the diocese. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?]
From February 29 until the Wednesday of Holy Week, every Catholic church in the Diocese of Lancaster will be open from 7pm until 8pm in order for the faithful to go to Confession.
Bishop Campbell said: “During the Lenten season we will invite those who seek to strengthen their relationship with the Lord to join us in this celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Our priests are here to welcome you home, to pray with you, to be of service in the name of Jesus Christ, who offers all of us forgiveness for our sins and the gift of His mercy and love.
“Confession gives us the chance to start over, to hit the ‘reset’ button of our lives. It shows how forgiving and compassionate our God is and it helps us to grow in concern and love for others. Come to Confession this Lent and receive God’s mercy, for peace of mind and to deepen your friendship with Jesus, to receive spiritual healing and to increase your sense of joy and to experience Christ’s saving grace.”
Responding to the concern that many people feel too unworthy to return to Confession, the Bishop of Lancaster said: “God’s love for you is greater than all the sins you’ve committed or could ever commit. Now is the time to come and have God take away the burdens of guilt that can often weigh us down. If you’ve been waiting for a sign to return to the Church or to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, this is your chance to re-establish and strengthen a relationship with God that will last forever”.
A statement from the diocese explains that the “Light is On” programme is a preliminary to the forthcoming Year of Faith, announced by Pope Benedict XVI, which begins in October.
WDTPRS kudos to Bp. Campbell of Lancaster.