Various people reflect on their sins and notice how difficult it is to carry the weight of those sins. When they return to the Sacrament of Confession, they experience the healing, joy, and peace that come with God’s forgiveness through Reconciliation.
Though Jesus died for the sins of all humanity, everybody continues to sin.
Enter GoodConfession.com, a new website aiming to get Catholics back into the confessional.
Tom Peterson, a one-time St. Anne parishioner who later launched CatholicsComeHome.org and Virtue Media, developed the new website. It is loaded with resources about the beauty of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, struggles with sin and how to grow in virtue.
The website bills itself as “an answer to your search for peace.” Peterson hopes it inspires Catholics to more regularly receive the healing sacrament.
The concept began two years ago once Peterson realized two things. First, he sounded like a broken record in the confessional pouring out the same sins over and over again. Second, Catholics were returning to Mass and the confessional in droves as a result of the Catholics Come Home commercials and website, which has now partnered with 37 dioceses across the United States.
People would tell him, “I saw those commercials. I felt like God was rushing me home and I rushed right to the confessional because I knew I needed to get right with God.”
At the same time, Peterson knew it was vital that he and other Catholics discover why they fall repeatedly for the same temptations. Visitors to the website can discover their temperament and how it disposes them to certain behaviors. They’ll also find an examination of conscience tailored to their state in life and a link to MassTimes.org, which also lists confession times.
“It’s such a blessing and a gift. It frees us from so much burden and weight,” Peterson told The Catholic Sun.
It was an Our Lady of Mount Carmel parishioner Peterson interviewed for “Trustful Surrender, a ‘Catholics Come Home’ Special” who planted the idea for the website’s “Heavy Burdens” commercial. Jeff Van Brunt returned to the confessional following an incurable diagnosis and shared how sin had weighed him down.
The 30-second commercial, which will air nationally given enough funding, shows a woman carrying a bag filled with rocks up steep stairs. She leaves the confessional and then leaves her burden at the entrance of the church.
“Confession is a gift of our Catholic faith and a gift from God,” Peterson said, noting the emotional, psychological and spiritual healing that comes through it.
He applauded the work of the staff at St. Anne in Gilbert for revamping their confessionals 18 months ago to make them more welcoming. Fr. Sergio Fita, pastor, said its beauty would help Catholics better understand the importance of the sacrament and to help them not be afraid.
Fr. Fita also made parish priests available 25 hours a week, including 12 hours on Sundays, and gave penitents the option of using a screen or confessing face to face. He said societal acceptance of sin keeps Catholics away from the confessional.
“They don’t think they are doing wrong. The less God is present in our lives, the less we feel the need to implore His mercy,” Fr. Fita said.
“There’s something healing and powerful about hearing ‘You are forgiven. You are absolved,’” Peterson said.
He likened confession to getting a doctor’s prescription for an antibiotic to conquer an infection. Confession and penance help Catholics avoid sin in the future.
The homepage of GoodConfession.com connects visitors to resources for the sacrament of reconciliation and avoiding sin driven by personality traits.