Responding to an invitation from Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera to seek reconciliation with Christ during the season of Advent, nearly 5,000 Catholics stood in line for hours to receive the Sacrament of Confession. According to the Archdiocese of Mexico City's News Service, some 30 priests spent 12 hours in shifts hearing confessions at the Cathedral of Mexico City Nov. 29. Cathedral officials said many people also attended an Advent talk given by Father Julian Lopez Amozurrutia entitled, “Coming Home.” Although the lines generally kept moving, the number of penitents was so large that some stood in line for up to four hours to go to confession. Cardinal Rivera granted the priest confessors the faculty to absolve the sin of abortion, which according to Canon Law is normally reserved only to bishops. One penitent, Alejandro, who had not been to confession for almost 25 years, expressed gratitude to Cardinal Rivera for the marathon penance service. “My work schedule doesn't allow me to go to my parish for confession. After carrying the burden of many sins for so long, to hear the absolution of the priest makes you feel incredibly good,” he said. Cathedral officials said they hoped to repeat the service next year, and to offer penitents a guide to confession, more spiritual talks and perhaps exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.