The Light is On for You: Archdiocesan Initiative to Promote the Use of Confession

February 20, 2007

People today don’t think twice of telling all online or on TV, so why are they so reluctant to tell God what they did? The Archdiocese of Washington is kicking off a major initiative to encourage Catholics to come back to Confession this Lent – with all 140 churches opening for confessions every Wednesday evening, Metro and radio ads, a billboard, “how-to” guides, a website ( and more.

“In a way, Confession has become a forgotten sacrament,” Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl said in explaining the initiative. “There are a lot of people who aren’t as familiar with it as they ought to be or would like to be.”

“The Light is On for You” campaign is designed to change that. Ads are running in 220 Metro cars and the backs of 85 Metro buses in Washington, DC and Maryland, with radio ads and a huge billboard on Route 301 South in Charles County starting the week of February 24. The ads read, “The Light is On for You: Celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation” and encourage Catholics to visit any Catholic church in the Archdiocese of Washington on Wednesdays in Lent, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m., for Confession (starting February 28).

When they get there, they’ll find “how to” guides on Confession that include a handy pop-out wallet card. One side of the card gives step-by-step instructions and the other, an Act of Contrition, a special prayer used during Confession. Nearly 100,000 guides are being distributed in English and Spanish and placed online at, along with answers to frequently-asked questions, links to the parishes, information for Catholics who may have married outside of the Church and more.

Also online is Archbishop Wuerl’s first pastoral letter as Archbishop of Washington, God’s Mercy and the Sacrament of Penance. In it he tells Catholics that the Sacrament of Reconciliation – or Confession – “is the story of God’s love that never turns away from us…Like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, God waits, watches and hopes for our return every time we walk away. Like the son in the parable, all we need do to return to our Father is to recognize our wrong and seek God’s love…He offers us reconciliation if we ask for it.”

Lent, the 40-day penitential period before Easter (April 4 this year) and the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, was chosen for the campaign because it is a time when Catholics place an extra focus on God’s mercy and forgiveness.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to 580,000 Catholics living in Washington, DC and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
[email protected]