Tuesday, February 24, 2009

450 confessions a week

Last Friday the New York Times published a story about the almost incredible number of confessions being heard at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Stamford, Connecticut.

It seems that shortly after Monsignor Stephen DiGiovanni took over the reins at St. John's in 1998, he pried open the door of the old confessional, refurbished it, and began offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation for 30 minutes prior to virtually every Mass, or some 15 times per week.

The people responded.  The priests at the parish are now hearing about 450 confession every week.

St. John's doesn't appear to be a huge parish.  The have two active priests on staff and a retired priest in residence and offer 5 weekend and 2 weekday Masses.  Their February 15 collection was about $9,700.   According to the Times, "St. John’s is a standard diocesan church with a varied congregation — corporate executives, Haitian and Hispanic immigrants, Stamford’s longtime Irish and Italian middle class."

For what it's worth - and it's probably not worth very much - the Gray Lady goes on to note that Notre Dame's dissident Catholic priest par excellence, Rev. Richard McBrien, chimed in with

Confession as we once knew it is pretty much a dead letter in Catholicism today ... the practice at the Stamford parish is an anomaly, not a sign of anything else [and at best] part of a small minority [of churches].


Anonymous said...

As much as I like Fr. Richard McBrien, I also didn't like his response.

I think the Sacrament of Reconciliation could be making a comeback, especially in light of the movie, Gran Torino with Clint Eastwood. This movie made me want to go back to confession soon. I'm hoping to go during Lent.

Anonymous said...

Fr. McBrien is wrong as usual. Why does this guy even bother to call himself a Roman Catholic if he denounces so much of what the Church teaches? There are plenty of Protestant denominations to choose from, surely there is one that fits in with what he willing and not willing to accept.