Bring your burdens to God this Lent
Catholic churches in the Cardiff area will be opening their doors during Lent to provide a listening ear and a quiet space for reflection.
In addition to their usual service times, the churches will be open every Wednesday between 7pm and 8pm to give the faithful the chance to "get off their chest anything that they'd like to be forgiven", explains the Archbishop of Cardiff, the Most Reverend George Stack.
He has sent out a pastoral letter to parishes encouraging people who are troubled and over-burdened at this time to seek divine comfort in prayer.
The additional opening times are part of the diocese's Lent project, The Light Is On For You, running from 12 March to 9 April.
"The hope is that we can provide a space for people to speak to God heart-to-heart to seek his healing and help," the Archbishop said.
Priests will also be on hand to receive confession and the Archbishop assured that all would be welcome at the churches.
He said: "It might be that you were baptised Catholic but for different reasons, no longer or rarely practice your faith. Come along.
"Everyone is very welcome and no one will judge you. We are all journeying to God's Light in our own way, at our own pace. It is a way of starting afresh, healed by the power of God's love and mercy."
The Catholic Church is in the midst of a nationwide drive to revive the tradition of confession. It comes on the back of a survey by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales which found that 65 per cent of priests are experiencing a significant increase in the number of people coming to confession. The renewed interest has been attributed to the 'Francis effect'.
Archbishop Stack added: "Confession is one of the gifts of love and healing that is offered by the Church. Through, it God's forgiveness and mercy are celebrated when we turn to him and present our brokenness, shortfalls and failings.
"No one is perfect and we all need the Sacrament of Reconciliation to strengthen and renew us.
"This Lent make this the gift you seek for yourself. The Light of Christ is waiting to heal and enliven your heart once again."