Kumpisalang Bayan: The annual blockbuster hit

I’m not sure if Kumpisalang Bayan (Mass Confessions) is a uniquely Filipino lenten tradition, or if it’s just a name to an activity that’s logical to have every Holy Week.

People lining up for Confession -- oh, wait -- lining up for the MRT. A daily reality that can help thousands of Filipinos avoid hell and skip Purgatory. Photo from Manila Bulletin

People lining up for Confession — oh, wait — lining up for the MRT. A daily reality that can help thousands of Filipinos avoid hell and skip Purgatory. Photo from Manila Bulletin

Well, whatever, I like it. I like that there’s such a time when parishes give more time for people to go to Confession. Normally this means having more priests available to hear confessions on a specified day, until late at night, on or towards Holy Week. This is when people make such a queue as to reach extraecclesial areas — ahem, the church grounds.

Of course, this custom is very practical as well. Catholics are expected to receive Holy Communion once a year, during the Easter season. So the person with the greatest mortals sins, if he repents and goes to the Kumpisalang Bayan, will be able to fulfill that annual requirement. Life is easy.

It’s also a wonderful gesture of the Church to highlight the core of the lenten season, which is conversion. Turning away from evil and becoming true children of God. Thus, with the Kumpisalang Bayan, we leave behind what is frivolous and harmful to our lives — sin — and emerge new again and prepared to celebrate the heart of our faith, the Resurrection of Christ.

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