Monday, November 26, 2007

Want More Confessions?


I confess that this article about Madison, WI., came to my attention via a Kansas City blogger. Regardless, it's worth reading, if one is a priest or Bishop.

The spark of resurgence in confessors is most noticeable in Madison on campus; a place where the lure of sin, found in bars and before Badger games, is within walking distance. But so is a church.

St. Paul 's Catholic Center, at 723 State St., reports a rise in the number of students showing up to confess on a regular basis.

Father Randy Timmerman, now at St. John Vianney parish in Janesville, was the priest at St. Paul 's when the transformation began. He often found himself waiting at the scheduled confession time with very few students showing up. Timmerman credits the increased numbers to an assertive campus-wide campaign to bring students into the church.

So they pushed a bit on the campus--sidewalk-chalkings (!!) and other means of outreach, and things began to pick up.

But what REALLY made a difference in the numbers?

...the real change came with the arrival of sisters of the Apostles of the Interior Life ministry from Italy. The sisters questioned Timmerman as to why the confessionals were filled with boxes. Timmerman explained that due to low numbers, confession was held face-to-face in the sacristy twice a week rather than in the traditional confessionals.

The nuns asked Timmerman if he would hold confession in the tiny twin chambers if they cleared them out. Timmerman agreed


Father Eric Nielsen, now pastor of St. Paul 's, says that low confession attendance resulted in priests holding the sacrament only by appointment.

"This led to many confessionals being used as broom closets, " says Nielsen.

Sister Rafaella Cavellin and Father Victor Mosele cleared out the dust and boxes, and now Nielsen has students who wait 30 minutes at the confession time twice a day

My, my. Using "the box" with a screen and having regular (even daily) availability of the Sacrament gets people to show up and use it!!

Will wonders never cease?

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