Loading
New confessional at Conn. parish boosts sacrament
By Carl Bunderson
(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.

.- 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

RESOURCES »

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

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
18

Liturgical Calendar

April 18, 2014

Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday)

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42

Gospel
Date
04/18/14
04/17/14
04/16/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Is 52:13-53:12
Second Reading:: Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel:: Jn 18:1-19:42

Homily of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42

Homily
Date
04/18/14
04/17/14
04/16/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: