New confessional at Conn. parish boosts sacrament
(L-R) Timothy Conlon, Fr. Janusz Kukulka, Lisa Knott and her husband Patrick, stand in front of the refurbished confessional. Credit: Jack Sheedy/The Catholic Transcript.
(L-R) Timothy Conlon, Fr. Janusz Kukulka, Lisa Knott and her husband Patrick, stand in front of the refurbished confessional. Credit: Jack Sheedy/The Catholic Transcript.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- A Connecticut priest says a new confessional recently installed at his parish stands as a visible sign of God's grace, and has increased churchgoers' participation in the sacrament.

“A confessional is a sign of the sacrament, and I wanted to have such a sign in the church,” said Father Janusz Kukulka, pastor of St. Mary the Immaculate Conception in Derby.

In a May 2 interview, Fr. Kukulka told CNA that more parishioners have now been seeking out the sacrament of reconciliation, “especially people who have not been to confession in many years.”

Although new to St. Mary's as of Feb. 16 this year, the oak confessional has a rich history – it was built in 1878 and until recently was located in an Iowa church.

That parish in the Dubuque archdiocese was closed as the state's population has shifted from farming communities to urban environments. The church was sold to a Lutheran community, which in turn sold the confessional to the Connecticut parish for $1,100.

St. Mary's was reconstructed in the 1970s, which included its two confessionals and communion rail being ripped out, as well as the altar being moved. The original confessionals were replaced by an unmarked “reconciliation room.”

The parish, which is in the Hartford archdiocese, now has a rejuvenation committee, one of the tasks of which was finding a traditional confessional for the church.

The committee began their search by looking online, according to The Catholic Transcript, Hartford's Catholic paper. A newly built confessional they found was prohibitively expensive, but they soon discovered the oak confessional from Iowa on eBay.

Lisa Knott, a parish member, donated the money for the confessional and dedicated it to the memory of her parents. Another parishioner, Timothy Conlon, traveled to Iowa to haul the confessional back to Connecticut.

It bears a plaque in memory of Knott's parents, Pasquale and Geraldina Scarpa, as a reminder to penitents to pray for them.

Fr. Kukulka told The Catholic Transcript that “the chancery is amazed that we made this progress in a very short time, so the archbishop twice complimented us.”

He thanked the Knotts and Conlon, whom he credited with the new development. “Physically they brought it and they paid. I am just here for spiritual input.”

The confessional was re-assembled in St. Mary's, and when it was finally used on Feb. 16, Lent had started three days earlier.

The Hartford archdiocese offered extended hours for confession at all its parishes, so the new confessional was put to good use.

Fr. Kukulka offers confessions every week, and is always receptive when he is asked to hear a confession.

“If someone asks, I go every time. I never say no,” he told CNA.

Parishioner Patrick Knott, Lisa's husband, said that even in his limited experience he's seen a “significant increase” in confessions at St. Mary's. The separation and privacy afforded by the confessional grill allows you to feel more “comfortable,” compared to a “reconciliation room,” he noted.

For Fr. Kukulka, it was important to promote more frequent reception of confession at his parish. The priest is from Poland, where he noted that the inculturation of Catholicism has a strong link between the sacraments of confession and communion.

“For me, the practice of going to Communion without confession is strange,” he said.

He considers the antique confessional to be less important than a spiritual emphasis on God's mercy as it is encountered in confessions.

In sacramental confession, the penitent is “receiving forgiveness of sins, and graces to be a better person for the future,” noted Fr. Kukulka.

“With God's graces first of all you receive the forgiveness of sins...and that's the point of my message as a priest.”

Tags: Reform, Church buildings, Confession

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 4:1-20


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 4:1-20