The confessional light is back on
Whether frequent, infrequent confession-goer, all invited to receive Christ’s mercy Feb. 28
By Nissa LaPoint
The banner above will be located at parishes participating in The Light is on for You confession campaign.
The confessional light will be turned back on this Lent.
Jesus Christ and his mercy will be available for all Catholics, especially those who have been away from the Church or haven’t been to confession in a while, at parishes across the Denver Archdiocese from 4:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Feb. 28.
The archdiocese is bringing back the confession campaign to help faithful make it a fruitful spiritual season.
The Light is on for You pastoral initiative was launched last year in the archdiocese under former Denver apostolic administrator Bishop James Conley. Its roots are in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., which started the campaign in 2005 to increase awareness and participation in the sacrament of reconciliation.
The sacrament goes by various names including “confession,” because of the act of disclosing sins to a priest, and the “sacrament of penance,” because a person does penance as they move toward conversion. It’s the means for Catholics to obtain pardon from God for sins committed and reconciles them with Christ’s Church.
Father Dan Zimmerschied, pastor at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Denver, said confession can be compared to an appointment with the dentist.
“People don’t like to go to the dentist but it’s necessary if you don’t want to lose your teeth,” he said.
Confession may be intimidating but it helps save the soul.
“Confession is necessary,” Father Zimmerschied said. “For some people it’s scary or intimidating to tell someone else your sins and faults, but ultimately the strength that comes from absolution and the grace will help you avoid those sins that may have been troubling you for years and years.”
Participating parishes in the archdiocese will display a Light is on for You banner to tell parishioners and those who pass by that confession will be available. The priests at the parishes will help anyone who has been away from the confessional or needs assistance with prayers.
“It’s the formula that’s keeping some people from coming back to confession,” Father Zimmerschied said.
The Light is on for You
The annual confession campaign sponsored by the Denver Archdiocese has returned this year for all Catholics, especially those who’ve been absent from the confessional for a while.
Where: at a parish near you
When: 4:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Feb. 28
For more information, FAQ and aid in making a good confession, visit www.archden.org/light.
But he said he’s never met a priest who puts someone down for not knowing the prayers and responses, such as the act of contrition.
“The priest is there to help and make it as easy as possible,” he said. “Once you summon the courage to go, it’s very simple.”
The penitent’s acts in the sacrament consist of repentance, disclosure of sins to a priest and the intention to make and do works of reparation. The confessor gives absolution and proposes certain acts of penance to be performed by the penitent to repair the harm caused by their sins.
Spiritually, penitents are reconciled with Christ and his Church. A sense of peace and serenity tend to result and Catholics are strengthened for the spiritual battle.
Father Zimmerschied said it’s not uncommon for the faithful to thank him.
“I think they’re very thankful to have the opportunity to go to confession and also to have the opportunity to have the slate wiped clean,” he said. “With the grace that comes with confession, they’re able to withstand temptation better.”
The archdiocese has a list of tips and frequently asked questions on its website www.archden.org/light to help prepare faithful for confession, examine their conscience, learn answers.