A new smartphone app that lets busy Catholic priests update their statuses to let people know when and where they are available to listen to their confessions has been developed in the US.
Father Richard Heilman in Madison, Wisconsin, is launching a My Confessor App that will let his parishioners know when and where he is available to listen to their sins.
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, New York Daily News reported.
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 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.
The number of Catholic priests in America has declined in recent decades, according to data collected by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.
In 1965, more than 58,000 Catholic priests belonged to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. In 2012, that number was closer to 39,000.
On the other hand, the number of people who self-identify as Catholics has grown from 48.5 million to 78.2 million.
"It's challenging sometimes for priests to find time for confession because they have work to do. And parishioners are trying to go easy on Father because they see us trying to handle multiple things," Heilman said.