A reader on going back to Confession, the Sacrament of Penance

From a reader:

I’ve been reading your blog for a few years and I wanted to write and thank you for continually posting about getting back to the Sacrament of Confession. For the past 3 years I have been discerning a call to the priesthood. I knew that to discern properly I needed to get back to Confession, but your blog and insistence on going really brought me back to the Sacrament and made it less “scary” as it has always seemed. It was a truly awesome experience and confession has made helped my discernment so much that I was recently accepted as a seminarian for ….

To all the Priests that may read your blog: I hope they would consider offering confessions more than once a week at their parish. They’d be pleasantly surprised at the response from the faithful! Keep spreading the Good Word!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    This reader has my prayers. The Church Militant needs more faithful men to heed His call to the priesthood. May Our Blessed Mother pray for the Holy Father, all priests, seminarians and those men who are discerning. +JMJ+

  2. Suburbanbanshee says:

    There’s probably a lot to say for that. Less frequent Confession times and less frequent vocations do seem to have gone hand in hand in the Catholic Church in the US. Logically, it would be hard to see God beckoning to you with an understanding darkened by sin. Even lots and lots of little sins.

  3. ghlad says:

    To the writer of the note, thanks for the willingness to follow the call! I pray that yours is a priestly vocation, and that you are given the graces needed to overcome all obstacles in service of Our Lord!

    I wonder how many spiritual children Fr. Z will have in Heaven – I pray there are many, his is a unique vocation with plenty of room for tireless lasoo’ing of wayward digital (and real) souls. :)

  4. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    To all the Priests that may read your blog: I hope they would consider offering confessions more than once a week at their parish. They’d be pleasantly surprised at the response from the faithful!

    Very true! Time and again, I’ve seen at my own parish and at others I’ve visited, that people respond to a priest in a confessional.

    One practice that priests have had at my parish is that when there is something like Eucharistic Adoration going on, they will head into the Confessional for a time. As soon as people hear the keys rattling for the confessional doors, they get up and go. Other times are when there is a spiritual talk or conference in the parish Church. There’s something about people seeing a priest go into that Confessional, or seeing the light on, that is inviting. Perhaps these visual cues are one of many avenues of grace.

    Dear Fathers – don’t limit Confession times to posted hours. Even if you sit in your Confessional for a while and no one comes at first, give it time.

  5. nialasfitch says:

    Fr Z,

    Your calls to confession echoing at the back of my mind recently pushed me to “make the leap” too. I made my first confession in a while in Holy Week. Thank you.

  6. I hope you follow the call. I was away from the church for over 20 years, and went back to confession on a Wednesday of Holy week. My penance was to attend Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil Masses, and enjoy them! Eventually I heard the call and continued to run for a time, but Mary always gets her way! On the 8th of June it will be 16 years as a priest. I also have confession before every Mass – including the weekends! Welcome home!

  7. lucy says:

    I love when these stories are posted. Our family prays for good vocations to the priesthood every day before our rosary.

    Regarding confessions – since having FSSP priests serving us a couple times a month, we’ve been encouraged to go to confession every two weeks. We’re still only making it about once a month, but when the opportunity presents itself, my children will jump at the chance to go. We need priests to talk about confession often.

  8. lucy says:

    Added thought –

    At our parish, there’s a sign on the confessional doors. There were no confessions this past Saturday because of the celebration of First Holy Communions of the school kids. There are no confessions this coming Saturday because of some other “liturgical celebration,” and there are no confessions next Saturday for the same reason. In a large parish with several priests, is it really impossible to offer confession?

    We’ll go to another town where there are Oblates this evening for confession.

  9. plemmen says:

    I will pray for strength of purpose and God’s Grace to remain upon you, to follow and be true to your vocation. I often yearn to be back in the solitude of my monastic cell, deep in prayer or reading the works of the early Fathers of the Church. If I outlive my beloved wife (doubtful) I will most probably seek out a hermitage or other austere foundation to live out my remaining time in this vale of tears.

  10. KenJ says:

    I still remember my first confession after I came back to the Church. It was morethan 15 years in between confessions. Our parish of 2,000 families “advertises” confessions on Wednesday nights from 7:30 to 8:00 PM and Saturdays from 4:00 to 4:30 PM. I see people there on Wednesday nights. Never been there on Saturday’s. I have to believe that the shortened hours occurred due to lack of “demand”. I would find it difficult to believe that it was because our parish priests didn’t have the time.

    Since returning to the sacrament I have found it beneficial to have a confessor, a priest that I go back to so that he is familiar with me (and my sins!). Rather than take u pthe 30 minutes during posted hours I would call the rectory and make an appointment. Now you can probably use email or text messages to schedule confession if your priest is willign to share their contact infromation.

    Most recently I have been graced with a spiritual director which has brought a whole new “light” to my sinning ways.

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