BOGOTÀ, Colombia — For two days this week, a shopping mall in Bogotá, Colombia was transformed into a “Confess-a-thon,” as 120 priests administered the Sacrament of Reconciliation to shoppers and those passing by.
Priests from all over the country flocked to the Gran Estación Mall on Oct. 18-19 for the Confession event. This is the second time that the initiative has taken place. Last October, the first Confess-a-thon was held at the mall, with great success.
Some 70 percent of the country is Catholic.
The Colombian Conference of Catholic Bishops said that the event is a sign of the Jubilee of Mercy that “is inspired by what the pontiff has asked for, to be a Church that reaches out, as a sign of the presence of God.”
The event took place during the Faith Cup, a soccer tournament among priests to help build fraternity and outreach.
The bishops’ conference stated that the first day of this year’s Confess-a-thon began around 5:00 p.m. Some people looked at the priests with surprise and curiosity. Others lined up to take part in the sacrament.
Gladys Lopez was among those who went to Confessions. She said that it was an opportunity to unburden herself.
“You come totally convinced that God is giving you the chance to have a clear conscience and to be able to remove those things that are weighing us down in our lives, and it’s an opportunity that everyone should take advantage of,” she said.
Luz Estella Rey said that it had been a long time since she had experienced this sacrament and said that she felt “very grateful, with no fear of doing something scary.” She also emphasized that the appearance of the priest she confessed to “conveyed a lot of peace and made me feel at peace.”
Miguel Marquina Acevedo was surprised to see this initiative. In Bogotá just for a visit, he and his children went to Confession. “It’s not just an occasion to get closer to God, but also to be reconciled, because we often don’t have time to get to the church,” he said.
Besides the Confessions at the mall, another group of priests visited different prisons in Bogotá on Oct. 19 and 20 to administer the sacrament.