“Light is On” for You Print this post

by Eric Sammons

(Florida Catholic) – This Lent the Diocese of Venice will be launching a major campaign called “The Light is On.” The purpose of this campaign is to encourage Catholics to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also known as Confession or Penance. Each week of Lent, every parish in the Diocese will be hearing Confessions from 5-7 p.m. on Fridays and 9-11 a.m. on Saturdays.

Extending the hours of availability for this Sacrament will allow everyone easy access to God’s mercy and grace available in Reconciliation. With the hope of making all Catholics of the Diocese aware of this effort, “The Light is On” campaign will include ads during prime-time television throughout the Diocese, English and Spanish language radio ads, billboards and bus ads, as well as a special website with more information about this Sacrament of mercy and how to receive it.

Why is the Diocese doing this? Of course, we want to encourage greater reception of this Sacrament so that Catholics might draw into a deeper encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ. In the next issue of the Florida Catholic, we’ll speak more about the power of this Sacrament and how it can change our lives for the better. But this Sacrament also serves another purpose: it is the entryway for Catholics who wish to return to the Church. “The Light is On” is but one part of a greater effort to engage in the “New Evangelization” that Pope Benedict has been urging all Catholics to embrace. Here in Venice, we began in earnest to embrace the “New Evangelization” with the “Catholics Come Home” campaign this past Lenten Season. In that campaign, we wanted to thank God for all the joys of being Catholic and to lovingly reach out to our fallen-away brothers and sisters and ask them to consider returning to the practice of the Faith.

This year, we‘re getting more practical and concrete.

With “Catholics Come Home,” we invited Catholics who have fallen away to return to the Church. But if you or someone you love feels God’s call to practice the Catholic Faith more fully, where do you begin? If you have guilt and shame about decisions and choices you’ve made in the past that are holding you back from living your Catholic Faith, how do you resolve them? If you feel estranged from the Church for whatever reason, but would like to make a fresh start, what should you do?

In all these situations, the answer is the same: go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In many ways, this Sacrament is like a “little baptism” in which your sins are washed away and you become a brand new creation. If a non-Christian wants to enter the Church, he/she gets baptized; if a Catholic wants to re-enter the Church, he/she goes to Confession!

Some people might be anxious about such steps. After all, in Baptism you don’t have to tell another person all the sins you’ve committed. Why does the Church require someone to take such a seemingly embarrassing action when they want to return to the Church? Is it some sort of power trip? Is it a way to show us who’s boss? Why all the focus on sin? Isn’t that being too negative?

Not at all. Think about any human relationship that has become strained. In order for that relationship to be repaired, the two parties must come together and must outwardly confess their transgressions and ask for forgiveness. For example, if a husband were to forget his wedding anniversary, would his relationship with his wife somehow be restored if he simply acted like it never happened? Of course not. He needs to do three things to repair the relationship to its former state:

1) Be sorry for his mistake, resolving not to do it again.

2) He must tell his wife he is sorry.

3) He must take some action, such as taking her out to dinner or buying her flowers, to show his sorrow and make up for his mistake.

If any of these ingredients are missing, then the reconciliation between the husband and wife will not be complete.

Likewise, we want to be reconciled to God and to His Church, we must first be sorry for our failures, confess our sins to the Church (represented by the priest), and make some penance to show our sorrow. All these actions are possible in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If you or a loved one is estranged from the Church for any reason, know that the Diocese of Venice is opening its arms through the Sacrament of Reconciliation to welcome you back. “The Light is On” for you.

For more information about the “Light is On” campaign, please visit the campaign website at www.TheLightIsOnCatholic.org.

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