Motel 6 and the US Catholic Church: “We’ll Leave the Light on For Ya”

Do y’all (“y’all” is in the dictionary, I promise) remember the television advertisement for Motel 6?

Thomas Edward “Tom” Bodett  is an American author, voice actor and radio host. He was the spokesman for the hotel chain Motel 6, whose commercials end with the phrase,

“I’m Tom Bodett for Motel 6, and we’ll leave the light on for ya.”

light-is-on-for-you-color-large-webWell, somebody in marketing for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops came up with a similarly memorable slogan for a campaign to get us back to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which immediately made me think of Motel 6:

“The Light is on for You.”

For many of us Catholics, both those brought up in the Church since childhood and those formerly of Protestant or non-Christian faiths, the Sacrament of Reconciliation can seem a bit frightening. Perhaps it has been a long time since we’ve made a confession. Perhaps we struggle with disbelief, with despair, with human weakness, with addictions, or with lingering resentment or grief. And yet, how wonderful it would be to be freed from these chains!

Here in Atlanta, the Archdiocese is participating in this USCCB nationwide “campaign.” In addition to the regular parish penance services, the Archdiocese of Atlanta is promoting a Lenten Day of Reconciliation: Friday, March 22nd from 3pm-7pm. All Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of Atlanta will provide an opportunity to celebrate the sacrament of penance. Catholics, especially those who have been away from the Church or the sacrament, are invited to experience God’s mercy and forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Arlington has put together wonderful resources for their parishes they’ve made available to all parishes across the country, which includes homily assists, graphics, flyers, downloadable marketing pieces.  “The Light is on for You” is not actually a “campaign.”  It’s an invitation.  It’s an invitation mainly sent to those who have been away from the Sacrament for years and want to come back.

Here is a 3 minute video the Archdiocese of Washington  put together to explain what this effort it’s all about.  Here is a link to an Examination of Conscience we can use to prepare for the Sacrament.

I know I will be sure to get to the Sacrament before Good Friday but today, during this Light is on for You campaign isn’t going to work with my schedule.  If this nationwide effort brings even one fallen away Catholic back it will be so worth it!

Here are “general intercessions” from the Archdiocese of Washington concerning this effort:

  • The Lord desires that all be saved through his life, Passion, and Death. May we all take advantage of his forgiveness and mercy by availing ourselves of the Sacrament of Penance this Lenten season . . .
  • Lord, you did not condemn the woman caught in adultery but sent her away forgiven and in peace. Help us not to fear your justice but instead to come to you in humility to seek your mercy and healing love
  • Lord, your Cross has redeemed us, your Death has given us new life, and your Resurrection raises us to glory with you. Help us to seek your healing love this Lenten season by availing ourselves of the Sacrament of Penance . . .
  • That we all may be attentive to God’s Word, confess our sins, and receive his forgiveness this Lenten season . . .
  • Lord, we often feel heavily burdened with the difficulties of life and our sins. Help us to find the grace to return to you and to receive your peace in the Sacrament of Penance this Lenten season . . .
  • That we might have the grace and power to turn to Christ, Our Savior, and to confess our sins with humble hearts, that we might be cleansed from all that separates us from him . . .
  • Father, you know our sinfulness and many weaknesses. May we reach out with joy to grasp your hand and walk more readily in your ways this Lenten season and always . . .

Congrats Monsignor Talley!

monsignortalleyWe just got word that Pope Benedict has appointed Monsignor David  (click link for article) Talley an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Atlanta!  I’m so happy to hear this news.  Monsignor Talley was instrumental in my acceptance of AA and my recovery.

After I had been sober for about 18 months, I started putting up a wall between me and AA– because I felt uncomfortable talking about spiritual matters and God with people who weren’t Catholic. My instinct was always to defend the Faith.  This wasn’t a good thing to do in meetings because in AA each person chooses their own conception of God.  So, rather than be in “that environment” I decided to cut back on meetings and up my Mass and Adoration attendance.

That didn’t work. I eventually drank again and had a hard time stopping this last time.

aa-logo2In confession I talked to Monsignor about alcohol; and he was very supportive.  He recommended I attend meetings and work the steps.

I told him I thought I should find a different sponsor because my sponsor was not Catholic. He said all that matters is that my sponsor can take me through the Steps.

I remember telling him I felt AA was a good thing, but I sometimes felt uncomfortable in meetings because it is so non-denominational.  In certain meetings I would go to, I’d get the impression that there were AA members who were even anti-Catholic.  I didn’t want AA to overlap my faith. He said there is no conflict whatsoever between AA and my Catholic faith.

And one of the beautiful things is how AA brings me closer to God and makes me a better Catholic.

Instead of telling me to stay away from these “non-denominational anti-Catholic” (ha ha) people, Monsignor Talley told me (emphatically) that working the Steps will only enhance my Catholic faith, not detract from it.  He told me I “must” attend AA and work the steps.  And I have found his words to be true.

After this exchange with Monsignor Talley I had an openness to AA that I hadn’t had before.  I called it my Road to Damascus moment. Someone I trusted of high authority in my Catholic faith said not only was AA ok, but it was the thing I needed to do.  Something about the fellowship of other alcoholics and the meetings, plus the structure of the Steps really helps me. And I’m now an enthusiastic 12 Step Program person.

Thanks Monsignor!  And congratulations!