Pope Francis on Friday will hear confessions as he presides in Saint Peter’s Basilica over the penitential celebration called “24 Hours for the Lord,” now in its third consecutive year. In fact, it was during last year’s ceremony that the Pontiff proclaimed the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
From 9:00 pm on Friday, March 4, there will be Confessions and Eucharistic Adoration in three churches of Rome: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Piazza Navona; Santa Maria in Trastevere and the church of Saint Francis’ Holy Stigmata in Largo Argentina. The churches will remain open uninterruptedly, with the presence of priests available for Confessions.
There will also be Confessions and Eucharistic Adoration on Saturday, March 5 in the church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, beginning at 10:00 am. The conclusive celebration will be held at 5:00 pm in the church of the Holy Spirit in Sassia, presided over by Monsignor Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.
Dioceses around the world will join the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative.
As a press release of the Vatican Dicastery explains, “the whole world will be submerged in God’s mercy with the ’24 Hours for the Lord.’” The initiative, “born in Rome but which has grown rapidly and is already of worldwide breadth,” will offer everyone “the possibility to experience God’s mercy personally.”
This celebration was born “with the intention to put at the center again the importance of prayer, of Eucharistic Adoration and the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.”
The motto of the Jubilee Year “Merciful Like the Father,” is the thread of the event. In order to live the moment of prayer in the best possible way, a guide is available translated into six languages and divided in four sections, which offers elements of reflection and indicates the way to listen to the other; it reflects on the meaning of the Sacrament of Confession and stimulates dialogue on some proposals of Lectio Divina offered to parishes, groups and associations.
The initiative was received with great enthusiasm when it was introduced by Pope Francis in 2014. ‘24 Hours for the Lord’ was offered to the faithful to help provide special opportunities for prayer and the Sacrament of Confession (Reconciliation) during Lent.
Pope Francis has shared many memorable quotes on the Sacrament of Reconciliation and how important it is for the faithful and for the Church: “Confession is an encounter with Jesus whose mercy motivates us to do better.” He also said that Confession “is going to praise God, because I — the sinner — have been saved by him, who always waits and always forgives ‘with tenderness’.”
This year’s ‘24 Hours for the Lord’ initiative takes place in the context of the Jubilee Year of Mercy which Pope Francis has called the universal Church to celebrate and it runs from 8 December 2015 until 20 November, the Feast of Christ the King.
Guide for “24 Hours for the Lord” from the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization: http://www.im.va/content/dam/gdm/documenti/pdfvari/24HoursForTheLord.pdf