14-February-2013 -- EWTNews Feature |

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Catholic churches open doors for Lenten confession campaign

While Lent has always been a time for penance, several dioceses are taking part this year in a pastoral initiative to call Catholics to a greater participation in the sacrament of God's love and mercy.

"Jesus once said heaven rejoices more for one repentant sinner than for 99 that never needed to repent," said Auxiliary Bishop Robert F. Hennessey of Boston.

"Now is the time to come," he explained in a video promoting the campaign "The Light is On for You."

As part of the initiative, all of the churches in the Archdiocese of Boston will be open for confession on Wednesdays during the Lenten season from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

"Come to confession to receive God's mercy, for peace of mind, to deepen your friendship with Jesus, to receive spiritual healing and to increase your sense of joy, to experience Christ's saving grace," Bishop Hennessey continued.

He said those who think that God could not forgive their sins or believe that they have been away from the sacrament "too long" to return are simply "wrong."

"God's love for you is greater than all the sins you've committed or could ever commit," he emphasized.

Bishop Hennessey noted the parable of the Prodigal Son, comparing the story of a loving father welcoming a wayward child to what happens in confession.

"We find ourselves enveloped in God's love. We experience the full measure of Jesus' Resurrection," he said. "We who are dead to sin are brought back to life again."

The bishop said he goes to confession frequently himself, acknowledging, "I'm a sinner. I need God's grace. Confession gives us the chance to start over."

The Archdiocese of Boston has also launched a special website, thelightisonforyou.org, with resources such as a guide to making a good confession and frequently asked questions about the sacrament.

The Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Arlington are also taking part in the campaign. Churches in the D.C.-area archdiocese and its neighboring Virginia diocese will hold confessions every Wednesday evening during Lent.

The dioceses especially invite "those who have been away from the Church" or who attend church but have not gone to confession. The campaign is being advertised on the radio and on buses.

The Light is On for You began in the nation's capital in 2007 and has now spread to other dioceses across the country. While each diocese customizes the initiative according to its needs, they all focus on offering ample opportunities to welcome Catholics to confession, particularly those who have fallen away from the sacrament.

In the Diocese of Scranton, Penn., each parish will be open every Monday evening during Lent from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The Diocese of Venice, Fla., will open every Catholic church for confession from 5 to 7 p.m. on Fridays and 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturdays until the end of Lent. It is promoting the campaign through TV commercials, radio ads and billboards.

Churches in the Archdiocese of Denver will be open for confession at almost all parishes on one day: Thursday, Feb. 28 from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

"If you haven't been to confession in a while, or have been away from the Church, I want to encourage you to visit a parish near you and to find peace in God's Church," Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver said.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh will hold confessions at local parishes on the evening of Wednesday, March 6. "We'll keep the lights on, just for you," Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh said in a video. "Forgiveness is that close."

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=7025#ixzz2Kt0w6vTe

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