Thursday, February 19, 2009

In the City That Never Sleeps, Confessions 'Round the Clock

Sure, the Big Apple might remain in high suspense -- OK, downright frenzy -- in its vigil for the tenth archbishop. With Lent's arrival just six days away, though, it's not as if everything in Gotham's ground to a halt... however much one could be easily forgiven for thinking it.

Organized by the young-adult group of St Patrick's Cathedral, 20 Manhattan parishes will start Lent with "24 Hours of Confession," keeping their booths open for a combined 120 hours from 7am on March 6th until 7 the following morning.

While most participating churches will either just stay open during the day or add on to their already scheduled confession times, a handful are planning to have priests on-call for the entire daylong period. In the cathedral itself, the usual afternoon availability (noon-1.20) will be joined by a unique evening confession slot that'll run from 5-10pm.

With the penitential season's opening day drawing ever closer, it's worth recalling that Ash Wednesday is invariably the Midtown landmark's busiest day of the year; upwards of 60,000 workers and tourists annually flood St Patrick's to receive the burnt palm symbolizing man's mortality and need for redemption.