Why I still have this blog: a reader’s testimony

Here is one of the reasons why I still have this blog:

I found your site early this year while searching for information on the new translation. Well, it was a real eye opener. I don’t want to make this long so I’ll just tell you that today I went to confession for the first time since childhood. It was because of you frequent posts on the subject and while I had been procrastinating for a while I did it today so that I could receive communion on Christmas. I was very nervous, even though I thought I was prepared but I asked the priest for help and to bear with me. He was gracious and I think you would have been proud of how he handled my awful bungling of the whole event. Again, thank you for the repeated reminders, I’m grateful to God for the return of his Grace.

That, friends, make the time and work worthwhile.

Dear readers, go to confession.

Fathers! Bishops!

Preach about confessions… talk about confessions… promote confessions… hear confessions.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. St. Epaphras says:

    Glory to God!!

  2. letchitsa1 says:

    This is awesome news!

    I keep working on one of the college kids at church to make the leap and do the same. He is 20 and has been to confession once in his life. He’s almost to the point of making that leap, but not quite. It helps a lot that a priest he admires also keeps prodding him.

  3. Springkeeper says:

    I still have a very very hard time with confession. It has been eight months since I became Catholic and I really have to force myself to go (even though I feel so much better afterwards). Fortunately, we have an awesome priest otherwise I’m afraid I might not go at all.

  4. FloridaJoan says:

    Praise to You Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory ! … and thank you Father Z

    pax et bonum

  5. skull kid says:

    God bless all our holy priests who have a thirst for souls and who love the Church.

  6. Mike says:

    One of the best funeral homilies I have heard: the priest encouraged everyone to make a good confession, soon, calling it, with their prayers for the deceased, one of the best things they could do for the repose of their loved one–and themselves.

  7. lucy says:

    Thanks be to God! There is must rejoicing in Heaven today, for one who was lost is found. May he have a most blessed Christmas!

  8. digdigby says:

    If you find it hard to go (I do) pray to St. Jean Vianney or just read some of his homely, loving words about this sacrament. Tens of thousands came to confess to him, some from across Europe to tell the darkest secrets of their souls, things they never told anyone – and if anything was held back he was famous for knowing it and gently opening his penitents to a full confession.

    What amazes me is that this unimaginable ‘deluge’ of sin left him utterly unsoiled, even to the end he was as limpid and simple as spring water. Not a trace of ‘world-weariness’ or cynicism or even sophistication. None. St. Jean Vianney proves our faith to me, proves our sacraments and that God’s mercy is infinitely greater than any sins.

  9. Joe in Canada says:

    We just had confessions at the Catholic boys school I work at. 8 priests for 5 hours. I reckon I heard maybe 8-10 confessions per hour, which spread among all 8 priests would be about 320 – 400. The confessions were edifying, but I can’t praise enough the work of the Religion teachers who prepared them. And the generosity of the 4 diocesan priests who don’t work at the school who spent their day helping. And one of the tools we used was the leaflet Fr Z presented a few weeks ago from an English priest, which many boys found very helpful. Religion teachers and catechists, keep up the good work!

  10. Mary Jane says:

    Deo Gratias! Father talked about confession in his homily on Sunday, and paired it up with the coming of Christ and Advent…that we know not the day nor the hour…always be prepared…

  11. Peggy R says:

    Praise God!

    You keep me on my toes as well.

    Our priests made themselves available after every mass this past weekend for folks that didn’t attend the “reconciliation service” the prior week.

  12. Ralph says:

    Quote my third grade son the other night at dinner, “Dad when can we go to confession again?”

    Pride for a son who understands the importance of this sacrament.
    Guilt for not establishing a regular “day” so he wouldn’t have to ask.

    I am a youngish convert (37) so I didn’t have a tradition of weekly confession days. However, I have some cradle catholic friends, older folks, who recall saturday as “confession” day. Everyone in the neighborhood would go to confession on saturday. The church would be packed with folks waiting on line. What a nice tradition.

  13. xsosdid says:

    May I add my own testimony?
    There is tremendous beauty and joy to be found in this blog. I am, I guess, a lifelong geek. I grew up playing the violin and with open Encyclopedia Brittanica’s covering every available space in my room . I no longer play violin, but my days still have wings on them when I find something intellectually/spiritually inspiring. This blog has unique content and I have become thoroughly engrossed in our liturgy and its truth and beauty through your passion, Father. What’s more, there is a great dearth of information, a cultural vacuum really, about the continuity of our liturgy and its purpose. I am currently trying to find out more about the Veronese Sacramentary that I have discovered through you. Fascinating stuff!
    So thankyou, Father. You give wings to my days and speak to my heart in a way I didn’t know before, simply because you speak the truth about our Holy Church. That’s a tremendous gift and I am very grateful.
    May you find many, many reasons to continue this blog!

  14. benedetta says:

    I think there are a great many of us out there who received the sacrament at First Communion then never again until a certain point in later life. I think it is a great undiscovered secret, the graces from confession that help us in innumerable ways to continue when things are difficult, or, when things are going great. Many of us who dutifully attended the seasonal communal penance services and then went back to confession realize how unhelpful in the long run the former was compared to the real thing. I suppose that those communal situations where people (some) branch out individually to receive a quick individual absolution in the middle of the church with a lot of people around and lined up can achieve something if nothing at all however in terms of real spiritual growth it’s pretty hard to argue that they are really that helpful over time. And since sin has community effects we should perhaps have something where we come together to be penitent together the efficacy of that seems to assume that the individuals together are routinely mindful about individual sacrament of confession and have brought that process to bear on one’s relationship to the community as a whole. In other words those services may be much more effective for us in our life together if we all were attentive about receiving the sacrament regularly individually to begin with. We do live in stressful, strange times, many of us more than others I guess, but still I don’t see that we have approached life in wartime on the battlefield such that communal absolution is remotely pastorally appropriate or helpful. I don’t think the priest shortage really is an argument for it either given that we have lay people able to take on a lot of business and administrative matters in order to better free up our priests to be in the box and available at greater time frames. I sure do appreciate priests who take this aspect of their vocation seriously.

  15. n1tr0narc says:

    Thank you for being our little conscience online. I’ve been going to frequent confessions within the last 2 years due to your gentle reminders. Now, I’m more aware of my current state of grace and have been more thankful for all of God’s gifts and my charity to others.

  16. MikeM says:

    Fr. Z, I’ve never sent an e-mail about it, but your blog played a big part in my decision to start going to Confession again a few years ago. And, your frequent reminders are the nagging I need to keep going… more than once I’ve been sitting around on my couch when I should have been going out the door for Confession, and then I’ve seen a Confession reminder on your blog which spurred me out the door.

    Thanks, Father.

  17. jhayes says:

    At this Sunday’s Mass, the priest reminded us that every church in the diocese will be open for confessions 6:30 to 8:00 PM this Wednesday night. It’s a program called “The Light is On” that we’ve done for a least a couple of years.

    He mentioned that one advantage of it is that it gives you a chance to go to confession in a parish where you are not known.

  18. jhayes says:

    At this Sunday’s Mass, the priest reminded us that every church in the diocese will be open for confessions 6:30 to 8:00 PM this Wednesday night. It’s a program called “The Light is On” that we’ve done for a least a couple of years.

    He mentioned that one advantage of it is that it gives you a chance to go to confession in a parish where you are not known.

  19. Fiat Mihi says:

    Thankfully, my home parish, Mary Our Queen, has had daily confessions (except for Sundays) since the parish was founded in the 60s, and of course the good priests of the FSSP, at Immaculate Conception, have confessions before every Mass. The only excuse that I can have for not going is spiritual laziness. It is a blessing to live in an area where regular access to the sacrament isn’t an issue.

  20. JuliB says:

    This weekend, the priest read a stupid (and I’m being charitable) story out of a book called ‘stories for advent’ or something similar as his homily.

    I used to get upset at dreadful homilies, but I can comfort myself with the fact that I get ‘fed’ almost daily by coming to your blog, Father.

  21. wanda says:

    Your blog is a big reason why I have been doing better about confession, also. Recently my husband also went to confession, it had been many years. He asked me about preparations and I came here and printed him up the guide you have from, I believe, your priest friend in England. It was exactly what he was looking for. Thank you, Fr. Z. Blessed Christmas to you and everyone here.

  22. pm125 says:

    This blog (Posts and comments) is an accessible and valuable beacon for understanding so many aspects of Catholicism in this world of provincial influence and ‘party-line’ agendas.

    It’s such a rich faith: the seen and unseen, translations and interpretations, prayers and meanings, Liturgy and experience. Daily visits here really help with sorting and discerning.

  23. ByzCath08 says:

    Fantastic. I love hearing of people coming back to the sacraments after such a long period.

    I say to you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than
    upon ninety-nine just who need not penance.

  24. Tony Layne says:

    Benedicamus Domino!

    Thanks, Father, for inspiring us all to “walk the talk”!

  25. Trad Catholic Girl says:

    Thanks to your encouragement Fr. Z, I went to Confession tonight, and feel 100% better. I went to another church and was fortunate that the priest was kind and understanding, especially since I made a spur of the moment decision to go and was not really prepared.

    I remembered to bring with me Fr. Stedman’s pocket size ‘My Sunday Missal’, which I like to use to pray following confession. There were two prayers of special importance for me tonight following the act of contrition: one was renewal of confirmation graces and the second, a prayer for priests which I said for you Fr. Z and the two wonderful priests at my home parish.

  26. Genna says:

    God called you back and you heard. Welcome home.

  27. Centristian says:

    A couple evenings ago I attended something I never have before: a Penance Service. Usually, I just go to confession before Mass as scheduled, but my mother happened to mention she was going to this service and so I joined her out of curiosity. Apparently, clusters of parishes across the diocese do this at Advent and Lent each year. It was a very good thing, I thought, and I was surprised at the number of young people in attendance. The examination of conscience drifted away from the traditional concerns into the areas of social justice and community awareness a bit much (not surprising), but apart from that I thought the service was, altogether, a generally good idea.

    There were about ten priests available to hear confessions after the service, each stationed at different places in the church. I was happy that my own pastor was there so that I could go to him face-to-face, since he already knows me and my faults. I can see how a service like this would make the whole experience of confession much less dreadful for one who hasn’t been in a long while. It’s too bad, in fact, they only offer it twice a year. Perhaps if dioceses were to do this sort of thing, say, once a month, it might be a way of promoting the frequenting of the Sacrament.

  28. alexandra88 says:

    Praise God!!

    I heard a wonderful story from my old pastor who preached in an Advent homily years ago that everyone should come HOME for Christmas, and way in which that happens is through the sacrament of reconciliation. On the following Saturday morning, he made his way to the confessional expecting to see the usual 2-3 old ladies. He was shocked and bewildered when he saw the number of people awaiting him. Father said he stopped counting at 40, and was in the confessional for 2.5hrs. He told me “I cannot tell you what they said, but what I can say…is that lives were changed that day”.

    Priests, preach about confession and people WILL come

  29. Tom T says:

    Fr. Z, your apostolate is truly inspired and the fruits of your labor welcomed by many. Thank you for keeping us in line and a Blessed Advent and a joyous Christmas to you and all those who frequent your blog. Pax to all in this Blessed season.

  30. restoration says:

    When I was in graduate school in Baltimore, one of the priests who said the Traditional Latin Mass always made a few parish announcements before starting his homily but his last announcement was always the same. He would always say something to the effect that,

    “It is a priestly privilege for me to hear your confessions after Mass today, so I’ll be in the Confessional right after I leave the sacristy.”

    He always said it with such an inviting and humble warmth. For those who had a tough time going to confession, his friendly reminder made a big difference.

    I hope more priests will mention Confession frequently, not only in preaching, but in gentle reminders similar to those used by that holy priest and by making himself available to administer this vital Sacrament.

  31. pm125 says:

    RE: The Penance Services mentioned above sound similar to one I happened on Mon. eve.
    Two parishes advertised that there would be Confession at 7:00 PM in a joint effort. It happened that about ten local Priests processed in during ‘Amazing Grace’, the Pastor gave a meditation after readings. introduced the Priests as each went to an area, and introduced the usher who would direct those in line to the next available. The Confirmation classes remained seated as the line formed.
    I sort of wanted to depart, but stayed in line with a neighbor and her little boy I found there – there was chatter and much socializing in general. Soul searching difficulty. Solemnity, if that’s the word, forced. And people watching, timing others was disconcerting. Aside from my experience of self-consciousness and surprise at the Service though, it was interesting that the time of day brought a lot of people to Reconciliation. Also, it was good to see that so many Priests made the Sacrament possible for so many. I wonder whether more young people as well as adults would avail themselves in early evening. I think so. The Vigil times on Saturdays are when many have work or activities. If these were more often, the event atmosphere would probably dissipate and – the annoying couple sharing jokes aloud might learn to shhh. Not good behavior formation for the observant catechumens.

  32. Denita says:

    Exactly What Father preached this past Sunday.

  33. esiul says:

    Dear Fr. Z.,
    You are a shining star out there in the darkness. To know how many people are reading your blog and being inspired by it, is proof of your guidance to us. Please remain with us.
    Thank you.

  34. Trad Catholic Girl says:


    I agree that monthly penance service would be an excellent way to encourage people to go more frequently to Confession – I know that I would go if offered!

  35. KFT says:

    On the first Sunday of Advent, our priest preachd about opening the door to our hearts and remarked that maybe if we hadn’t been to confession in a very long time that being reconciled to God might be one of the things that we were called to do this Advent. One of my co-workers who hasn’t been to confession in nearly 40 years happened to be in attendance at that Mass. She came to work the following Monday saying, “well I guess you know what part of that I needed to hear!”. I have been encouraging her for years, but hearing it from a priest seemed to make it more urgent. Last week, she came to work saying, “I need to talk to that priest.”. “What can I do to help?”. “Make the appointment and come with me.”

    I emailed our priest who was so encouraging and willing to do whatever it took to bring her peace. Yesterday was the day. I picked her up, knocked on the door with her, introduced her, and waited for her in the church. Our good priest answered her questions, listened, encouraged, counseled and absolved. Almost 40 years wiped away in just over an hour. God is so very good.

  36. mamajen says:

    I relied heavily on your guidance (via reading the old Ask Father Question Box) when I was in college, and most especially when I was all by myself studying abroad in England. By sticking with my Catholic faith and being fairly vocal about it, I not only managed to “stay out of trouble” while dating my husband (an Englishman), but was also blessed that my example inspired him to start going to church again on his own. He was Anglican, but a year after we were married he decided to convert to Catholicism, and he has done a wonderful job so far raising our three-year-old son in the faith. Though I was raised in a strict Catholic household, it seems that the people around me have become increasingly lax as the years go by, so this is where most of my guidance comes from. It’s awesome that a good priest knows his way around the internet, and I appreciate everything you do.

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