The Cathedral of St. Patrick Young Adults and the Archdiocese of New York have announced a “24 Hours of Confession” program to make the Sacrament available round-the-clock in Manhattan from March 6 to March 7.
The program will begin at 7:00 a.m. on Friday, March 6 and last through 7:00 a.m. Saturday.
The Cathedral of St. Patrick and 20 other area parishes are participating in the event. Many parishes have extended their hours for hearing confessions for those Catholics who have not found time for the Sacrament.
Participating parishes will keep their confessional doors open for a combined total of more than 120 hours during the 24-hour period.
"Thousands upon thousands of Catholics line-up to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday each year... imagine if these same thousands of Catholics line-up for confession? It could be a tremendous day for Our Lord," said Mario Bruschi, Director of the Cathedral of Saint Patrick Young Adults.
Bruschi noted that in 2007 the Archdiocese of Chicago had organized a “24 Hours of Grace” event with seven parishes participating. About 2,500 people attended Confession, which equals about 105 people per hour.
“The Archdiocese of New York has three times the amount of parishes participating in this event and we hope and pray that three times the amount of people go to confession.”
CNA, speaking with Bruschi by phone on Friday, noted New York City’s nickname as “The City that Never Sleeps” and asked him whether participating parishes are in areas frequented at nighttime.
“Several of these parishes are in areas that are pretty busy at night,” Bruschi said, naming St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Holy Name of Jesus on the west side and St. Stanislaus Kostka in Greenwich Village, which is “always full of activity at night.”
Speaking from his own experience, Bruschi told CNA that he first began to appreciate Confession in high school.
“Those are tough years for anyone. There’s a lot of peer pressure, adjusting to your environment, adjusting to your age. There are a lot of challenges we all face.”
He invoked the imagery of a scene in Mel Gibson’s movie the Passion of the Christ where Mary Magdalene is “on the ground, she’s crawling toward the foot of Jesus, and she’s holding on to him.
“That’s a typical penitent.
“What does Jesus do? He reaches down and lifts her up again.”
Confession during Lent, Bruschi said, helps make people aware of who they are and “how much they need Jesus.”
It also helps prepare Catholics mentally for the day that Christ died on the cross and his Resurrection, he told CNA.
Bruschi again credited the Archdiocese of Chicago’s 24 Hours of Grace program for setting an example for the Manhattan event.
“Reading about what Chicago did really inspired us to put this project together. I think Chicago really has started something here.”
A list of Manhattan parishes participating in the 24 Hours of Confession is available at http://www.cspya.org