The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is hoping a special focus on the Sacrament of Reconciliation this week will bring more worshipers into the church. The diocese is making sure all 203 of its parishes are open for confession Wednesday night from 6:00 to 9:00.
The diocese is marking the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops-sponsored “The Light is on for You” campaign aimed at calling Catholics to the Sacrament of Confession.
“I think there is some extent to reach out to those who have not been to confession in a period of time,” said Fr. Jim Gretz, Director for Worship of the Pittsburgh Diocese, “but really it is open to anybody who is looking to seek the Lords mercy and His love.
The Byzantine and Maronite Catholic churches in the region also will participate in the campaign. Gretz said the effort comes during the Christian season of Lent when the followers look to grow closer to their God. It also comes during what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has dubbed the “Year of Faith” marking the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.
Reconciliation (or confession) is usually available at least once a week in each parish but the diocese hopes that by making it available at the same time everywhere it will make it that much easier for Catholics to stop in at their local church.
Gretz said there would not be an effort at the diocesan level to track the success of the effort but he thinks individual priests might keep track. “Ultimately if at least person comes along that will be successful enough because we reached that one lost sheep.”
In a message to Catholics this weekend, Pittsburgh Diocese Bishop David Zubik wrote. “I hope—I pray—that, if you are one of those people, one of those who have been away from confession for decades, who think you have painted yourself into an unforgivable corner, that you will come for a visit this week to any one of our parishes.”
Gretz says there is no reason for a Catholic who has not been to confession for a long time to be scared. “As the priest I have more to fear than they do from that practical standpoint that you know what your sinfulness is but on the flip side it’s the priest who has no clue what that person is bringing to Reconciliation.”