By MARY ANN POUST
For all of those Catholics living or working in Manhattan who've been looking for the time or opportunity to go to confession, now's your chance.
The same goes for Catholics who may have been away from the sacrament of reconciliation for a long time.
For 24 hours—from 7 a.m. Friday, March 6, to 7 a.m. Saturday, March 7—confessions will be heard at one or more parishes from the northern end of the borough to its southern tip, from East Side to West Side.
Twenty–one parishes have signed on for the event, which is sponsored by the young adults group of St. Patrick's Cathedral and is called, appropriately, "24 Hours of Confession."
"We're trying to raise awareness of the sacrament of reconciliation during this season of Lent," said Mario Bruschi, co–director of Cathedral of St. Patrick Young Adults.
"And, hopefully, even if they don't go on that day, it will be a reminder to them and they'll go another day," he said.
Bruschi said he expects the confession day will appeal to Catholics who go to confession occasionally when they have time as well as to those who may not have gone for decades.
"If we can get someone who hasn't been to confession in 20 years to go on March 6th or 7th, that would be great," he said.
"Going once a year is better than going once every 20 years," he added.
The young adults group began planning the 24 Hours of Confession last year after reading about a similar event held in seven parishes in Chicago. "They got 2,500 people in the 24 hours," Bruschi said. "That's 105 people an hour."
Participating Manhattan parishes have scheduled confessions for varying periods of time during the 24 hours, so that all hours are covered. Priests at Holy Innocents at 128 W. 37th St., for instance, will hear confessions from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., while Holy Name of Jesus at 207 W. 96th St. is offering the sacrament from 4 to 9 p.m.
Some parishes, including Blessed Sacrament at 152 W. 71st St., ask that people call (212) 877–3111 for confessions on request from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Another one, Holy Rosary at 444 E. 119th St., is "open" even longer—with confessions on request for practically the entire 24–hour period: 7 a.m. to 6 a.m., March 6–7, for those calling (212) 534–0740.
The event is being promoted to the general public in several ways, including an ad in CNY and a Facebook page, Bruschi said.
The 21 parishes will get bulletin announcements, posters and postcards to be handed out on Ash Wednesday, a day that presents a special evangelizing opportunity because of the large number of Catholics who come to church to receive ashes, he said.
A listing of the parishes can be found at www.cspya.org.