There's a priest waiting to hear your sins.
In an effort to fill confessional booths during Lent, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford is advertising on billboards extended confession hours on Mondays from 6 to 7 p.m. at all its 213 parishes.
The billboards are part of a national effort urged by the Washington-based U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to help Catholics rediscover the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Radio spots will augment the Hartford area billboards.
Assistant Chancellor Father Jeffrey V. Romans and the chairperson of the Archdiocesan Lenten Committee, said in a press release that the extended confession time is designed so that busy people "can stop by any church on their way home from work, or running errands."
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, (Feb. 13) for Catholics around the world with 40 days of fasting, prayer, and alms giving in preparation for Easter celebrated this year on March 31.
Similar billboards are also up in Fairfield county. The diocese of Bridgeport is advertising confession every Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at its 87 church within Fairfield county, said Damian O'Connor, the diocese's director of pastoral services.
"The billboard's are a great way to bring people back to the faith. Some people who've been away from the church for 30 years have come back," said O'Connor, adding that the diocese has been running its confession campaign for five years.
For those who don't remember how to confess their sins or are anxious about going to confession can consult the website, The Light is On for You, which features testimonials and answers to frequently asked questions about confession.
In a prepared statement, Archbishop Henry J. Mansell said he believes the campaign is a wonderful way to observe the Year of Faith, which Pope Benedict XVI initiated last October.
“The Year of Faith is about reconnecting with our Catholic values. I pray that the campaign will inspire Catholics to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and experience God’s love and mercy,” he said.