Jubilee Saw Big Return to Sacrament of Penance

360,000 Confessions in St. Peter´s Alone

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 19, 2001 (Zenit.org).-
The sacrament of reconciliation made a
comeback in Rome during the Holy Year just ended.

Official reports estimate that in St. Peter´s Basilica,
50 confessors heard 360,000 confessions during the Holy Year. At the Basilica of St. Mary Major,
36 confessors heard 320,000 individual confessions. Two other basilicas, St. John Lateran and St.
Paul Outside the Walls, also surpassed the figure of 200,000 penitents,
although the official data is yet to be published.

A record 2,000 confessors were on hand at the Circus Maximus in August for World Youth Day.

Throughout the Holy Year, on first Fridays of the month and all Fridays during Advent and Lent,
youth of the New Way Community encouraged young pilgrims to attend reconciliation services,
in several languages, in the Basilica of St. Sabina.

In connection with the sacrament of reconciliation, the Holy Father encourages
pastors to continue to offer access to this sacrament.

In No. 37 of «Novo Millennio Ineunte,» his apostolic letter at the end of the Jubilee,
the Pontiff writes: «If many people, and among them also many young people,
have benefited from approaching this Sacrament, it is probably necessary that
Pastors should arm themselves with more confidence, creativity and perseverance
in presenting it and leading people to appreciate it. Dear brothers in the priesthood,
we must not give in to passing crises! The Lord´s gifts
– and the Sacraments are among the most precious – come from the One who well knows the
human heart and is the Lord of history.»

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