The My Confessor app lets busy Catholic priests update their statuses from their phones. Currently, the app is only available for users in the Madison, Wisc., area. Heilman sees this going national.
God may be omnipresent — but His priests aren’t.
So a holy man in Madison, Wisc., has turned to app development, along with divine guidance, to find a better way to tend to the needs of his 800-family flock.
Father Richard Heilman is launching a My Confessor App that will let his parishioners know when and where he is available to listen to their sins.
After 25 years in the ministry, Heilman believes Catholics could do with a bit more priest-and-me time. His preferred dosage is at least once a month.
“Maybe more often if you’re dealing with repetitive sin,” Heilman told The News. “A lot of us aren’t in a state of grace and confessions help that grace flow freely.”
I think this is just so awesome.
The idea is simple. A red status box means “Father is OUT.” A green status box means “Father is IN.” And priests have a special log in that lets them easily update their statuses and even post messages, according to app developer Mary Hoerr.
The app also has a section explaining the sacrament of confession, as well as another place where users can read priests’ bios.
Heilman is the only priest on the app for now and he’s been paying all the development costs out of his own pocket. But he says several other priests have reached out and asked to get involved. The app currently serves people in the Madison area. However, Heilman sees this going national.
He envisions an app that has a Google map with markers that point out where the nearest priest is. So if you’re driving by and you realize that there’s a burden on your back that you need to unload, users of My Confessor will know exactly where to go.
“I want people to not feel uncomfortable asking about confession,” Heilman said. “We want everybody ignited in the holy spirit.”
The app will be available to both iPhone and Android users later this month. For now, those interested can check myconfessor.org for updates.
I hope this takes off as an idea. Confession is something that seems to be so deemphasized. Most parishes you find it available for roughly half-an-hour on Saturdays and of course by appointment. Neatly tucked out of site for most people and “reconciliation rooms” not located in the main part of the church makes it unlikely to see people going to confession.
I like the service MassTimes.org to easily find a parish wherever I am, but it hardly has any information on confession times. I would just love to be able to have an app that let me know where I could go to confession based on location and time.
So super kudos to Father Richard Heilman for not only making this app, but for making himself available to hear confessions.