We used to have these at my parish every year, and I found that it helped me prepare. Now there are one or two held around the area and surrounding parishes are invited. The service was wonderful, but many people were conversing while waiting in line for the individual confessions. For the past two years, the Archdiocese has had a campaign called “The Light is On for You” where parishes add Wednesday evening confessions to their schedules during Lent, but without the Penance service. Though I appreciate the service, I think this campaign is a wonderful idea.
Our local Deanery now encompasses 2 counties. There are SEVEN Deanery Penance Services on our church calendar from March 15 - March 29. I played for the one at our church this past Sunday. We had 6 priests to hear Confessions! Since I played, I could not go to Confession, so, I went to a neighboring church last Thursday night. There were 7 priests there. The service is brief, but includes scripture reading, short message, and an Examination of Conscience, followed by Confessions. We also had Road to Resurrection Masses in February in 4 churches in the Deanery. It** is** a wonderful idea.