Banner urges motorists to stop for confession this Lent

BRAINTREE -- Motorists may speed by it, but a new banner hanging from the archdiocese’s Pastoral Center encourages Catholics to make a stop at their local parish on Wednesdays this Lent.

The 40-foot wide and six-foot high banner facing busy Interstate 93 in Braintree encourages commuters to participate in the archdiocese’s “The Light Is On For You” initiative this Lent.

As part of the initiative, which promotes the Sacrament of Reconciliation, every parish in the archdiocese is open for individual confessions on the Wednesday’s of Lent from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

“Our new Pastoral Center is a blessing to the archdiocese in many ways,” Scot Landry, Secretary for Institutional Advancement, said. “Yet, we have found another way it is now helping us advance our sacred mission.”

The suggestion of the banner came from Father Edward Riley, Pastor of St. Joseph’s in Holbrook.

Father Riley said he had the idea as he remembered when, a couple of years ago, he saw a for sale sign being taken down from the side of the Pastoral Center building after Thomas Flatley donated it to archdiocese.

“Mr. Flatley was giving us a priceless ‘billboard’ for spreading the message of the Gospel and the New Evangelization, a message that I believe the Catholic community so much wants to share with the world,” said Father Riley.

Landry said Father Riley’s suggestion was timely.

“In the days before we received Father Riley’s email, Cardinal Seán (O’Malley) and Bishop (Robert) Hennessey had expressed an interest in securing discounted billboards to promote The Light Is On For You,” Landry said.

“Upon hearing Father Riley’s suggestion, so many of us at the Pastoral Center remarked that it was a great idea and joked ‘why didn’t we think of that.’ I’m glad that the suggestion came from one of our pastors,” Landry said.

Father Riley said he hopes that “The Light Is On For You” will bring new life into the archdiocese.

“As a penitent, I too need forgiveness and healing through this sacrament, and I too greatly benefit when my brothers and sisters around me are healed and forgiven,” he said.

Father Riley added that many penitents have participated in the initiative at his parish.

“I’m sure some would be fine with me mentioning that they have been away for a very long time and who feel very much relieved and glad to be back, as I am for their return,” he said.

The archdiocese has set up a website,, which contains information on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, including videos, sheets on how to make a good confession and answers to frequently-asked questions about confession.