The secret is out: confession is a source of inexpressible joy and healing.
The Light is on for You campaign is returning to Denver for its third year this March to turn the sacrament of reconciliation from a secret into a well-known fact.
When launching the campaign in 2012, then apostolic administrator of the archdiocese, Auxiliary Bishop James Conley, called confession “the best kept secret in the Catholic Church.”
Three years later, Archbishop Samuel Aquila is expanding the one-night confession event into a six-week educational campaign during the liturgical season of Lent to make Catholics more aware of the renewing and healing graces of the sacrament.
The archdiocese’s Office of Communications is joining forces with the Office of Evangelization and Family Life Ministries to promote the campaign, during which catechetical guides and a special series in the Denver Catholic Register will be published. The series will include confession FAQs, a how-to guide, list of confession times and inspirational stories about fellow-Catholic’s confession experiences.
Parishes will also have access to banners, posters and graphics to aid in promoting the event.
“We’re going to promote confession so it’s not a secret anymore,” said communications director Karna Swanson. “We want everyone to know about confession, how great it is and the mercy that’s available through confession.”
The campaign begins Ash Wednesday, March 5, and extends throughout Lent. It will include the popular archdiocesan-wide night of confession, which will be held Thursday, March 20, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. All parishes are asked to unite and participate in the campaign to make the sacrament available at the same time.
Catholics are welcome to participate, including those who’ve strayed from the Church or those who haven’t confessed in some time.
“It gives people who aren’t aware of the times and dates of confession, and maybe aren’t regular church-goers, the opportunity to know this is the time to go,” explained Swanson.
The archdiocese also invites all faithful to promote the campaign and confession so that fellow Catholics may take advantage of it. Resources on a to-be-announced website will be available for everyone.
“We encourage all parishioners and faithful to put it on their own websites and social media,” Swanson said.
This pastoral initiative, aimed at increasing awareness and participation in the sacrament of penance, began in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., in 2005. The Archdiocese of Boston also launched the campaign two years ago.
Confession is the means for Catholics to obtain pardon from God for sins committed and reconciles them with Christ’s Church.
The sacrament goes by various names including “confession,” because of the act of disclosing sins to a priest, and the “sacrament of penance,” because it consecrates a person’s personal steps toward conversion.
Some priests say confession is akin to an appointment with a dentist or doctor, only confession is an appointment with God and it’s for the healing of a soul.
And to stay healthy spiritually, means making regular appointments for confession.
Whether Catholics choose to attend the Light is on for You confession night or make an appointment with their priest, the important goal is to grow closer to God and take advantage of the sacraments the Church offers, Swanson said.
In confession, the mercy of God is overflowing. Catholics in Denver can expect to find his forgiveness while receiving the sacrament.
“We’re always surprised no matter what we have to confess,” Swanson said. “God’s mercy, grace and forgiveness are much greater than we are. Prepare yourself to be surprised by his mercy.”
Light is on for You FAQ’s
Campaign: March 5-April 16
Archdiocesan-wide confession night 4:30 p.m.-7 p.m. March 20
To order a Light is on for You banner (in English or Spanish), contact 303-715-3230 or firstname.lastname@example.org.