The Case for Sunday Confessions



That would be amazing, but I don’t foresee it happening anytime soon at my parish. Our two priests are responsible for two parishes, so each priest already has to do three Masses on Sunday. It is exhausting for them. If they had to do Confession on top of it they’d drop.


Yes, it would only be possible if one priest is available to hear confessions.


I’ve been fortunate, at some points in my life, to live in parishes where there were either numerous priests or one priest who did not have a huge workload. At these parishes confession was indeed scheduled on Sundays.

One was a large city parish with hourly Masses on a Sunday - so Confession of course would run during Mass. Personally I would attend confession, wherever possible, prior to the Mass which I intended to attend that day.

Penitents had clearly marked seating at the rear of the church where the confessionals were, so no real disruption, or no more than usual for that church given that in any event it was a lively parish with people popping in and out for private prayer and the like at all hours.

It is an unfortunate reality in the West that we have fewer priests who, in many areas, have correspondingly more obligations of a weekend than they used to. Even so, one always has the option of making an appointment with the priest if a Sunday confession is desired - or even bailing him up at church on the day, as long as you leave him plenty of time to prepare for Mass.


The FSSP parish I go to on Sundays does this. They hear confessions even while Mass goes on, only stopping briefly so the other priest can help the celebrant distribute the Eucharist. It’s truly wonderful!


Honestly, I would really appreciate this.

If people do come, they usually attend for their Sunday Mass obligation. Helping people have the least difficult option is straight forward in my mind.

Generally here, they do confession on Saturday before the Vigil Mass, i.e. Confessions at 5pm on Saturday, followed by Vigil Mass at 6pm.

I do understand that on the other hand some priests are very busy with Mass and other obligations. Burnout is a real thing.


We are fortunate here that even in our single-priest parishes between their 3 Sunday Masses (which may/may not include a drive between churches) they hear confessions for 30 minutes prior to each Mass. In fact, we’re blessed to have multiple options for confession 7 days a week in this area.


the local Marian shrine here does Sunday confession every week;

the priest refuses no one; if it is starting to get too close to the Mass time; the usher tells you he will inform the priest & and you can go to confession after Mass


That’s great! This parish that I’m at has Confession on Saturday from 4:00 until 4:50 (there’s a 5 o’clock Mass) but there’s also a Shrine that has it from 11-12 and the other church in the area has it from 7-8pm. And our priests make private appointments for Confession whenever it’s asked for.

One of these priests told me he finds he can say two Masses a day comfortably but three greatly tires him. He dreads the days he has to do four. It doesn’t help that their other parish is half an hour to forty minutes away and it’s over a mountain that’s absolutely ugly to drive in bad weather. Under these circumstances, I don’t blame my priests at all for not offering Sunday Confessions.


i agree

Sunday confession is a blessing. my “parish” doesn’t offer this for, largely, the reasons you’ve delineated

the Marian shrine i was referring to is roughly 30 miles away; so i can’t get there that often

but when i do; i am always glad to see that the sacrament of confession is available


So, considerations of priest availability aside, are we talking about recommending that folks leave the pews during Mass in order to approach Reconciliation?

So much for “full and active participation”, eh? :frowning:


no, sir…

the priest at the Shrine pulls the plug roughly 10 or 15 minutes before Mass begins

sometimes there are visiting priests who will hear confession roughly 5, 10 minutes into the start of Mass

confession at the Shrine is available “after Mass” to anyone who desires it…


There be dragons there…

No one gets huffy if the priest stops when they’re at the front of the line? :thinking:

And, I’m wondering how he adequately prepares himself for Mass (not just getting vested and dealing with whatever’s going on in the sacristy, but also mentally/prayerfully) if he runs from confessions ten minutes before Mass? :man_shrugging:


i don’t know shipmate; it all seems to work out just fine & dandy…


No, that’s not it.

The confessions start before mass, but don’t end when mass starts. Meaning, those still in line when Mass starts don’t get left hanging. A priest stays to continue hearing confessions while the other starts Mass.

Nothing is more frustrating than when a priest says “times up” and walks out of the confessional with people still waiting, esp when another priest is praying the mass.

It’s one thing if Father has to stop hearing confessions because he needs to pray the mass; but it’s totally frustrating when father stops hearing confessions to go to the rectory while another priest is praying the Mass.

God Bless


That’s on reason why I never understand parishes with 2 or more priests that have the same priest hear Sat confessions right before the same priest prays the Sat evening mass.

To me, if you are having Confession before Mass, it should be by a priest not praying the Mass (again, assuming the parish has 2+ priests)


That’s precisely my objection. :wink:

When Mass begins, shouldn’t people devote their full attention to it? Shouldn’t they not leave Mass and go do something else?

Again, that’s my point: if the celebrating priest gets up and says, “I’ve got to go prepare for Mass”, people tend to get ticked.

And, to the question of the presence of an additional priest, that speaks to the availability of priests. At least around here, it would be odd to have a priest just sitting around doing nothing on Sunday, such that he’d be available for confessions while a Mass was going on!


My parish tried Sunday confessions for a while. We have 3 Masses on Sunday. The confessions took place after the 2nd mass until 10 mins before the 3rd mass.

Not sure why they stopped. I actually thought it was s good idea.


well, i agree to a point
when the celebrant looks at his clock & sees that it is time for Mass prep and & get ready to say the Mass; well then time is up; no matter who next is “at the head of line”

as i’ve said; confession is readily available after Mass

i’ve been the “next in line” at "go time"
the usher told me he’d tell the priest there is somebody who wants confession after Mass

done deal; mission accomplished


Right. 'Cause, if a priest isn’t in Church, hearing confessions, then clearly he’s just off goofing off. What else could he possibly be doing? :roll_eyes:

I mean, who needs downtime? :wink:

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