Pittsburgh Catholic churches offering confession for those away from church
All parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh will be open for confession from 6-to-9 p.m. March 21.
It is the culmination of the diocese's twice-yearly "The Light is On for You" campaign, when Catholics are urged to return to the sacrament.
The campaign is intended to reach out to Catholics who have not been to confession for years, and make it as convenient as possible for them to return.
Some Catholics prefer to go to confession with a priest who doesn't know them, and holding simultaneous confession at all parishes also makes that easier, the diocese said in a release.
"One of the most rewarding experiences that any priest can have is to hear the confession of someone who may have been away from the church for decades, and to have a role in lifting that burden of guilt and restoring the person to spiritual wholeness," Bishop David A. Zubik said. "We are here to welcome people back, to offer mercy and to help them experience God's love."
Confession is the only sacrament for which the Catholic Church keeps no statistics, so there is no way to show whether confessions have increased since the campaign began years ago.
"Anecdotally, however, priests of the Diocese of Pittsburgh report that they often hear confessions beyond the three allotted hours, many from people who have been away from the sacrament for more than 20 years," the diocese said. "Some have also reported a rise in young adults making confessions."
Confessions can be heard face-to-face or behind the anonymity of a screen.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BCRittmeyer.