Be Reconciled Initiative Completes Its 10th Year
A Decade of Grace
By Margarita Mendoza, Editor El Observador
April 4, 2024
ROCKFORD—Bishop David Malloy introduced an initiative to help Catholics get to confession during Lent in 2014. That’s when the Be Reconciled program of offering all-day confession in the entire diocese began.
“As Catholics, the primary way to seek forgiveness year-round, but especially during Lent, is through the sacrament of reconciliation. In that encounter with Christ through the humanity of the priest, we acknowledge our sinful separation from God’s love, we seek forgiveness and Christ stands ready to reconcile us,” Bishop Malloy said in the first press release inviting all Catholics to the sacrament of confession during the first Be Reconciled day April 9, 2014.
“A decade of Be Reconciled Day means so many opportunities for the faithful to truly be reconciled to Christ and to the Church.  And many people take advantage of this opportunity to receive the sacrament they have not gone to in many years.  It also means 10 years of wonderful service by our priests who put in long and fruitful hours on that day,” said Bishop Malloy about this era when thousands of Catholics have had the chance to go to confession.
From 2014 until now, a diocesan plan of promotion has been coordinated by the Communication Department. “The Rockford Diocese has spread the word about the all-day opportunity of confession on Be Reconciled Day through 30 second ads in English and Spanish on radio, television, digital advertising and newspapers. During the last 10 years we have expanded into targeted online advertising, digital outdoor billboards and movie theaters,” according to Penny Wiegert, Director of Communications.
“So many people regularly tell us, even those outside our diocese, that the ads are the prompts they needed to get to confession,” Wiegert said.
Within the strategy to publicize the spiritual initiative, a dedicated website was created  ( to offer resources to understand the importance of confession and to offer resources so people can make a good and honest confession. 
All these 10 years have been a spiritual success, especially when people after many years without receiving the sacrament go to confession and clean their souls; those are the “big fish” that priests are particularly gratified to bring back to the state of grace. 
A confession made with real examination of conscience and repentance gives joy to the person who receives the absolution. 
“I feel happy but more than anything, calm and light, like if I did not have any weight on me,” said José Antonio Ruiz, right after he came out of reconciliation this year on March 20, with Father Josue Rodrigo Lara, pastor at St. Nicholas, Aurora.  Ruiz also said that confession for him “is important because these are difficult times and we do not know what may happen.”
“We started at 7 a.m. it has really been a day of blessings, reconciliation, and conversion,” said Msgr. Arquímedes Vallejo, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Elgin.
“Many people came with 20, 25, 30 years without confession. There is where we see the grace, the power and the force of the Holy Spirit to touch, move, and convince people to approach this sacred sacrament. We have the grace of having three priests listening to confessions, all day long. It has being [been] one of the biggest blessings for this parish. 
“May God bless our bishop because he instituted this day of reconciliation in all the diocese to give the opportunity to all the parishioners to approach to this sacrament,” Msgr. Vallejo said.
For Father Nathan Pacer, parochial vicar at St. Patrick, St. Charles, Be Reconciled this year “was amazing. Basically through the whole day we heard confessions. And starting from 2 (p.m.) o’clock there was nonstop confessions for the three priests here at St. Patrick’s in St. Charles. There were big fish too, that’s how we call someone that has been away for long time, a lot of big fish came.” Father Pacer noticed that there were “more (people) than last year. I definitely saw that significantly more people were here. We had about 400 confessions” during the day. 
Traditionally confessions are offered at each diocesan parish from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. However the schedule varies depending on the size of the parish and availability of the priests. Some parishes, like St. Joseph in Elgin, have three priests hearing confessions from 7  a.m to 10 p.m. However, what doesn’t vary is the need for God’s grace and forgiveness, and for that, Bishop’s Malloy initiative of Be Reconciled has offered the solution each Wednesday before Holy Week for 10 years. In 2025, Be Reconciled will be held April 9.


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