VATICAN CITY — On Friday afternoon Pope Francis will open “24 Hours for the Lord” with a penitential celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica, part of a budding initiative to restore in Catholic life the importance of prayer, Eucharistic adoration and the sacrament of confession.
Promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative, now in its third year, takes on special meaning during the Extraordinary Jubilee as it seeks to draw people around the world to the mercy of God.
The English language official at the Council, Fr. Eugene Silva, recently spoke to Vatican Radio’s Lydia O’Kane about the opportunity once again in this Jubilee Year to place the sacrament of penance and reconciliation back at the center of ordinary pastoral life.
Fr. Eugene Silva said that despite the fact that people can be apprehensive about going to confession, “there’s no reason for people to be anxious.”
Fr. Silva added that as God’s redeeming and transforming grace is being talked about more this year, people will be that much more receptive to immersing themselves in God’s mercy.
Although Rome is the main pilgrimage site, dioceses across the world will be opening their doors to this 24-hour event.
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.
Late this evening, at 9pm, the faithful are invited to 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).
On Saturday, March 5, the Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart will remain open with the presence of priests for confessions until 4pm.
This year’s “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative will concluded with a Mass of thanksgiving 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, head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.