The Case for Sunday Confessions


Nah. I think I get the point. In fact, I think I agree with the point! I think, though, that I disagree with the suggestions you’re making towards getting us to that point… :wink:

So, here’s the thing: I think there is already sufficient time scheduled for Confessions at (many of?) our parishes. The problem is that, other than at particular times of the year, no one is coming. So, maybe the ‘problem’ resolves down to “offer more time during Lent and Advent”, or maybe even “and less times during the year.”

There are certainly places at which insufficient times are offered. I know… I’ve seen the bulletins and wondered, “seriously? can an entire parish’s need for confessions be met in a half-hour on Saturday? Or by a ‘by appointment only’?” Other than these, though, I know that there are certainly places where priests are sitting penitent-less, and times in which folks are lined up.

If there aren’t sufficient numbers of priests to handle the ‘rush’ times, the only other opportunity is for the faithful to ask themselves, “is there another time that I can go?”… no?

Such as…?

That’s the ‘crunch time’ for priests. Not terribly realistic, in most circumstances, as far as I’ve seen.

Not terribly helpful. If we get a small percentage of Sunday-Mass-attendees at our weekday Masses, how many would we be serving by offering “before and after daily Mass” confessions?

By “main Saturday confession line”, are you talking about “Saturday morning confessions”? That isn’t in play here. We’re making the assumption that most priests will stay until the last penitent is gone, during Saturday confessions, right? So, this doesn’t help us.

Trial-and-error might lead us to valuable insights.

B as in B. S as in S. A priest can go into the confessional in advance and the person come once he’s there. :wink:


Absolutely! And God bless them for it! But… there’s a difference between having a retired priest fill in, and having a retired priest take a regular slot in the ministry schedule. :wink:

So… you’re saying that we’re not effectively giving retired priests the opportunities to do what they “are looking … to do”? No… I don’t think so. :wink:


“15 minutes before Mass”, if that’s when folks “can access them”, isn’t exactly something that the average parish should be expected to be able to provide, is it?

Perhaps we might gain insight if we ask the question “why is Saturday morning unaccessible to most folks?” If the answer comes back, " 'cause we have T-ball, and gymnastics, and sleeping-in-and-Starbucks", then we already have our answer about what’s in play, no? :wink:

If “a parish is only able to offer a single morning Mass”, then it’s already an indication that pastoral resources are already stretched thin… :wink:

I’m playing devil’s advocate here, so… “mostly retirees”? So… why is “8:30 weekday mornings” convenient, but “Saturday morning” not?

It might. So… if a priest is being asked to be available beginning at 6:30am, is it reasonable to say “that means that his day ends at 5pm. No evening meetings; no RCIA; no wedding prep; no committee meetings.” Yeah… try that, and see what reaction you get. :wink:

Yep. I get it. But, since the source of candidates for the priesthood is literally “the parishioners”, how do we react when the parishioners aren’t providing new priests but are requiring more from the existing priests? :thinking: :wink:


Yep! I’m with you! “We need confessions at 11am” (or 4pm, or 5pm) is not the same thing as “we need confessions at every parish at 11am”…!


No, of course not. :slight_smile:

I only know one parish that offers Saturday morning Confession and it is an FSSP parish. Most of the parishes here are on Saturday afternoons/evenings, ending 30 minutes or so before Mass.

As to the question? Yes, people’s lives are busy. We take on obligations. I have six kids. My teenagers both work on Saturday mornings and my husband often does, too. And we have soccer and baseball and crazy-making schedules and fussy babies that push us to the brink and boom! - we need confession again. And it is very nice if we can find a Church nearby that offers Confessions at a non-standard time.

I’m not imagining this all in one parish! I’m just throwing out ideas that might work to make Confession more easily available. It just seems that so many are stuck in the Saturday=Confession paradigm. “This is the way we’ve always done it” syndrome.

And parishes with more than one priest do still exist. Or single-parish priests still might have help for some Masses.Presumably, the one with the 6:30 am Mass wouldn’t be the one with the 7:00 Confessions. Or he would have several hours off in the middle of the day, not straight work from 7:00 am to 8:30 pm. (Though as a homeschooling mother, my days are always that long or longer.)

This isn’t a recipe for how it should be done, just introducing the idea that it is reasonable to attempt to accommodate people.


This must be a regional problem. Between my kids, my husband, and me, we frequent 5 parishes for confession. There is always a line, sometimes substantial.

I hope not. One of the parishes near me used to have confessions on Saturday from 3-4 and again from 7-8. There was always a line, 10-30 deep for each of three priests, two of whom were assigned to the parish and one who was a retired priest in residence. I usually went from 7-8, as getting in from 3-4 was (and still is) rather challenging for me. Anway, those three dedicated, elderly priests have moved on and the current pastor made the difficult decision to cancel confessions from 7-8, out of necessity. Instead of three priests, he is only one. He was apologetic but assured the parishioners that he would institute Advent and Lent penance services, which the parish had never known before. At the same time, he canceled a Sunday Mass and cut down the weekday Masses from two to one. It had to be done and I don’t blame him at all, but what has become of all those people who came for confessions at 7:00 on Sunday? I’m sure they come at 3:00 or go to other parishes, or maybe they just save it up for Lent. Again, I’m not criticizing this priest for doing waht had to be done in the circumstances, just arguing with yoour assumptions about lack of lines.

Not for Saturday evening Confessions. If there is only one priest, confession ends when the priest has to go prepare for Mass.

Yes. Or even a survey! That’s how the parish mentioned above planned their new Mass times when the schedule was rearranged.


My current parish has confession between the two Sunday morning Masses.

I must admit, as a shiftworker, it’s been amazing to have. It was hard enough to carve out time for Mass and ensure that I am not scheduled to where I can’t make it. Carving out Saturday afternoon as well (the only time most parishes I’ve seen offer regularly scheduled confession) was frankly impossible.


Our parish has 2 priests. One is 87 and the other is chaplain for 2 hospitals. Last Sunday when he said mass he had been up for 36 hours.
Which one should offer more Confession times?
We have Confession for an hour before the Saturday evening mass. If people need the sacrament they get there. The Church does not ask the impossible,even for priests.


As long as it’s available by appointment. I know as a shiftworker, trying to ask for the hour before Saturday evening mass would have been “sure, if you don’t want to have a job anymore.”


We have Confession 6 days a week, i.e. Monday to Saturday.

Sunday is not possible because we have 10 Masses on Sundays and only 15 minutes between each Mass.


We have four other parishes in town. One of our priests is 86 and says all his masses sitting down due to health issues anrd the other one works at least 80 hours a week between the two hospitals and our parish. Which one would you have hear more confessions?


Whichever one can.

Who’s going to pay my bills when I get fired for skipping work to go to confession? Or should I just not go?


Neither one can. My point was that there are other parishes with other times. Our two priests are at their limit. I don’t want anybody fired or to miss out on the grace of a sacrament.


I see. That is not always true. I have lived in rural areas where there was only one parish. Around here, when I was in town, there were several, but for some reason every single one held confession within about the same 3 hour window on a Saturday afternoon. I also for a long time didn’t have a car - there might have been a parish 30min away that had confession when I was free, but there was certainly no way I could get there. Public transit didn’t run out that far, and a cab one way would run you $50+, which an entry level shift worker doesn’t have to spare.

If there is another parish that people can get to, good for them, they can go there. But in my life that has often not been the case.


I mean, priests are still people. They still need time to do things like get exercise, go grocery shopping, have a little time for relaxation, go to appointments, etc.


Yes. I know in our area some Mass times have been reduced, and sometimes during the week there’s a communion service because no priest is available.

Some of the listed stuff also does not need a priest. Laity should do what they can.


OK… so, the direction this thread is going, seems to be (at least from some posters) that we need to do a better job:

  • coordinating confession times among neighboring parishes
  • choosing times that are accessible to people in varying life situations and geographic locations

rather than simply saying “add more” or “encourage people to blow off Mass in order to go to confession.”

So… what’s stopping ya’ll from going to your parish’s pastoral council and making these requests? “Hey, can we coordinate the confession times of St Agatha, St Bernard, and St Columbkille parishes, so that they’re not all at the same time? Is there someone … oh, say, a Dean or a bishop, maybe, who can ask these pastors to work together to enhance our ability to have access to the sacraments?”


It’s too exhausting to sit in a booth for 30 minutes?


Re-read @Talitha712’s post. The claim is that celebrating three Sunday Masses is exhausting. :wink:

And, if you think that hearing confessions is simply “sitting in a booth”, then you’re vastly underestimating what that experience is like. If you have a priest friend, ask him about it sometime. If he’s putting his heart and soul into it, he’s beat at the end of it. (On the other hand, if he’s just sitting there, mindlessly repeating a mantra of “Say three Hail Mary’s. I absolve you.”, then that’s a whole 'nother thing…) :wink:


Please read a previous post I made. OF COURSE, priest need personal time too. I was NOT suggesting that they need to work more hours in the day.

God bless


IIRC, the suggestion was that they should stop doing the things they’re doing now – that is, the things that no one else is doing, but which need done nevertheless! – and start doing other things, too. :wink:

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