(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday afternoon began the "24 hours for the Lord" with a penitential celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica. The initiative now in its third year will place emphasis once again on the importance of prayer, Eucharistic adoration and the sacrament of reconciliation.
The intention for this year, the Jubilee of Mercy, is to draw people around the world to the mercy of God.
The “24 Hours for the Lord” is being promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.
The English language official at the Council, Fr Eugene Silva told Lydia O’Kane that it is an opportunity once again in this Jubilee Year to place the sacrament of penance and reconciliation back at the centre of ordinary pastoral life.
Listen to this interview with Fr Eugene Silva
He adds, that despite the fact that people can be at times apprehensive about going to confession, “there’s no reason for people to be anxious.”
Putting the 24 hours for the Lord in the context of the Extraordinary Year, Fr Eugene thinks that because the grace of mercy is being talked about more, people will be that much more receptive to immersing themselves in God’s mercy.
Although Rome is a pilgrimage hub, dioceses across the world will be opening their doors to this 24 hour event. But if you happen to be in the Eternal City, there are plenty of opportunities to be part of the initiative.
Pope Francis, on Friday, March 4 in St. Peter's Basilica, will preside over the Penitential Celebration of the 24 Hours for the Lord.
Later at 9pm people will be able to receive the sacrament of confession and Eucharistic adoration in the churches of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (Piazza Navona), Santa Maria in Trastevere (Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere) and the Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis (Largo Argentina).
The next day, Saturday, March 5, the church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart will remain open with the presence of priests for confessions until 4pm.
To conclude the third edition of the "24 hours for the Lord", a celebration of thanksgiving will take place in the Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia, near the Vatican which is the Sanctuary dedicated to the Divine Mercy. It will be presided over by Archbishop Rino Fisichella.