Confessions at the Mall

People are confessing in unlikely places. On a recent Saturday morning in Colorado Springs, seven people lined up outside an office next to a Burlington Coat Factory at the Citadel mall. At the appointed hour, Father Matthew Gross, 72, strode up wearing his brown friar's habit. "Three minutes each, that's all you get," he joked to two women waiting in line.

Since 2001, the Rev. Gross and two other Capuchin friars have come to the mall to hear confessions 11 hours a day, six days a week in a small office with a box of Kleenex and a laminated copy of the Ten Commandments. They now hear about 8,000 confessions a year.

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