Facelift for 154-year-old confessionals

The partition and new glass panes in the confessional rooms at St Mary’s Cathedral (The eRecord/Josh Low)

With the recent installation of new clear glass panels for its confessionals, St Mary’s Cathedral in Perth has created warm and inviting spaces. Source: The eRecord.

St Mary’s Cathedral Dean Fr Sean Fernandez said the step was taken with the intention of creating a space which is safe, while preserving the opportunity of face-to-face confession, should the penitent desire it.

“At the same time, we did not want to discourage the face-to-face encounter which is important, because the sacraments are encounters with Christ after all.

Fr Fernandez admitted that the process was not an easy one for the 154-year-old cathedral because of the age of the doors and the fretwork framing the glass.

The confessional doors had translucent glass panes and have now been replaced with clear glass.

“Carpenters replicated the fretwork, and inside the confessional a partition was constructed dividing the penitent’s section from the confessor’s section,” he said.

“Therefore, people still have the opportunity to confess anonymously behind a screen or sit face-to-face with the priest, but now when they are face-to-face there is a wood and glass partition between priest and penitent.

“This allows the face-to-face interaction to take place within a safe space.”

Fr Fernandez added the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a gift from God and that it is the Lord’s grace which draws us to the sacrament so that all believers can celebrate sacramentally in His mercy.

“Pope Francis said, ‘God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking His mercy.’

“Every confession is an experience of being embraced by the Father who is rich in mercy,” Fr Fernandez said.


St Mary’s Cathedral leads by example with installation of new confessional doors (The eRecord

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