One of the precepts of the Church is: “You shall confess your sins at least once a year.” (CCC 2042). How many Catholics are actually doing that?
This statistic was pulled from this book, published in October of 2018. The author of the article where I saw this statistic did his own poll of his Twitter followers. More than 90% of respondents said weekly or a few times a year.
If you check out the tweets and read some of the replies, you’ll see a lot of things like this:
How often are confessions heard at your parish? For about 20 minutes in the middle of the day on a Saturday afternoon? Know what I’m never thinking about in the middle of the day on Saturday afternoons? How I’m going to ‘run right out and go to Confession’! And I don’t even have children to run around town with.
I know what you’re thinking, “Katie, no one even comes to confession at the parish, why should we have additional times?” To me, it’s like a restaurant that’s only open from 2am to 5am who wonders why no one ever wants to eat the fried chicken. Because no one’s interested in fried chicken at 3 in the morning. Okay, I concede, sometimes people are – but not often!
We have to think differently. The Sacraments should be accessible. What can we do to make the more accessible for our community? Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Offer Confession at times that are convenient for working people. After 6pm, on Sundays, before and/or after Daily Mass, in the morning before work, during lunch if you’re near businesses or downtown, definitely for longer than 20 minutes a week!
- Provide child care for parents who want to avail themselves to the sacrament but have a wiggly child they need to bring with them. Yes, mom and dad could go to Confession on opposite weeks – but isn’t regular confession, together, beneficial for a married couple?
- Preach about Confession. Why does it matter? How do you go? (Many of our parishioners haven’t been since 1st Communion or Confirmation or that one time in their 20s.) What should you do?
- Provide an Examination of Conscience to help people learn how to form and then examine their conscience well. There are hundreds of these online!
Can you add just one additional time for confession this Advent, whether you have 20 minutes a week, 1 hour a week, or 3 hours a week? One additional time for your parishioners to receive the healing mercy of the Sacrament!
If you have long lines of people at confession all the time at your parish, what’s your secret? Share it below so we can all benefit from the outpouring of mercy in the Sacrament!!