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Here’s a Year of Faith approach… here’s a New Evangelization project.
This, instead of all the blather, is how it is done.
From a reader I have known for many years:
Your recent post brought to mind an experience of many years ago.
A priest became pastor of a smaller rural parish, of approximately 300 registered families. The first Sunday of Advent, he announced to the parish that he wanted no Christmas presents from the parish that year – no gifts of money, or food, or gift certificates. Instead, the present he wanted from his new parish was for every member of the parish to go to confession during Advent.
To that end, he would add times for confessions during the week, bring in outside priests, and make the sacrament as available as possible.
To his surprise, the parish took him up on his offer.
He said that, during the four weeks of Advent, he initially tried keeping track of the numbers of penitents, but was only able to keep track of the numbers of those who had not been to confession in more than 20 years – nearly 200, in his small parish! Many of the penitents told him that the reason they had been away is because no priest had told them they should go, or even invited them to go. Because of one priest’s invitation, an entire small town grew in grace through the sacrament of confession.
What a fantastic story.
If he encountered in a rural parish 200 people who had not been to confession in 20 years, imagine what numbers there must be in urban parishes.