An invitation for reconciliation

National effort promoting penance comes to the Archdiocese of Seattle

By Anna Weaver

A light in a window beckons, signals someone is home and invites you in. The same welcoming aim is at the center of a new program in the Archdiocese of Seattle this Lent.

Bishop Elizondo hears a confession
Stephen Brashear

“The Light Is On For You” encourages Catholics in Western Washington to head to their parishes on Fridays during Lent for the sacrament of reconciliation.

The hope is to reach non-practicing Catholics and invite them not only to penance, but back to the church. The archdiocese also wants to encourage active Catholics to increase their appreciation and practice of the sacrament, and to unite its priests behind the effort.

Haven’t been to confession in a while? No problem.

“We bishops and priests are eager to help you if you experience difficulty, hesitation, or uncertainty about approaching the Lord in this sacrament,” the U.S. bishops wrote in their 2012 statement on confession,"God’s Gift of Forgiveness."

“If you have not received this healing sacrament in a long time, we are ready to welcome you.”

A nationwide campaign for confession
“The Light Is On For You” concept was started in 2007 in Washington, D.C., by the Archdiocese of Washington. The Diocese of Arlington joined the next year. In launching the program, Washington’s archbishop, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, described it as a way to reacquaint people with a somewhat “forgotten sacrament.”

Since then, Washington and Arlington have helped 25–30 other dioceses start their own campaigns, said Susan Timoney, the Archdiocese of Washington’s assistant secretary for pastoral ministry and social concerns. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops began promoting the program to all dioceses in 2012.

Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain and his council of priests decided to adopt “The Light Is On For You” this Lent.

“We pray that through the work of the Holy Spirit, all Catholics — clergy and laity — will respond to the call of the New Evangelization to encounter Christ in the sacrament of penance and reconciliation,” the U.S. bishops added in their 2012 statement. “Come to the Lord and experience the extraordinary grace of his forgiveness!”

‘The Light is on For You’ — what to expect here

Reconciliation offered from 6–7 p.m. on all Fridays during Lent: March 7, 14, 21 and 28; and April 4 and 11.

Each pastor has determined how “The Light Is On For You” is implemented in his parish, along with other Lenten devotions.

All Catholics are welcome. Learn more at



Anna Weaver

Anna Weaver was the multimedia, online and social media editor, and writer for Northwest Catholic from 2013-2018.