St. John Vianney was a parish priest in Ars, France after the French Revolution. He became internationally known because of his spiritual practice and teaching. In the last ten years of his life he would hear confessions up to sixteen hours a day!

One of the Church’s greatest sacraments, yet one that is often least taken advantage of, is the sacrament of reconciliation. It is true that one does not have to go to confession in order for God to forgive our sins. And yet it can be so freeing to actually tell someone of your guilt, to own up to it and to get it off your chest. Even more, to hear the priest say, in the name of Christ and the Church, “You are forgiven,” brings a level of peace and renewal that can’t be attained any other way.

—Fr. Dan Reim, SJ is campus chaplain at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, OH.