“As our bodies need to be healed, so do our souls,” said Father Damian Ference, diocesan vicar for evangelization and head of the Parish Life and Special Ministries office.
One way to obtain this spiritual healing and forgiveness is through confession, he explained.
All Catholics in the Diocese of Cleveland are invited to participate in the annual Evening of Confession, 5-8 p.m. March 8. Churches throughout the diocese will be open during those hours and the faithful are encouraged to participate in the sacrament of reconciliation – regardless of how long it has been since they last went to confession.
“We want people to come back and experience the grace of healing,” Father Ference said.
Pastors and parish administrators also are encouraged to offer simple adoration during the Evening of Confession.
Father Ference said the diocesan Eucharistic Revival team wrote a prayer for the revival and shared it with each parish. He suggested that priests share that prayer with the faithful that evening. It is available in several languages.
“When our bodies are sick, we go to a doctor. When our souls are sick, we can’t go to a doctor; we go to the divine doctor, the divine healer,” Father Ference said. “If you know someone who’s been away from the Church or who is not active, invite them to come with you.”
Quoting Pope Francis, Father Ference said, “‘The joy of God is the joy of forgiveness.’ God’s forgiveness ‘is a sign of his overflowing love for each of us.’” He noted that when we return to God and seek forgiveness, he always welcomes us with joy.
“It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since your last confession,” Father Ference said, encouraging all to participate in the sacrament of reconciliation.
The Evening of Confession has become a Lenten tradition in the diocese, he noted. The faithful can visit any church to take advantage of the sacrament.
Reconciliation resources are available for those who may need them. Click here for an examination of conscience. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops produced a guide on going to confession that is available here and additional Lenten resources can be found here.