24 Hours for the Lord at St Ignatius

St Ignatius parish in Stamford Hill was open throughout the night on Friday, as it hosted "24 hours for the Lord". This annual initiative which began in the year of mercy is an invitation to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation in the context of Eucharistic adoration.

This year, inspired by the words of Psalm 130:4, “With you is forgiveness,” Pope Francis invited the worldwide church to take part from Friday 9th March to Saturday 10th March, opening their doors for 24 consecutive hours.

The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization organized and promoted the annual event, including the penitantial celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica over which Pope Francis presided.

Sr Eugenia, who works on the parish staff at St Ignatius said, “This was a very blessed time of prayer and a privilege to be part of."

Building on the success of the 24 hours for the Lord offered as part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy 2016, the parish left its doors open from 10am on Friday until 10am on the next day.

Fr Bogdan Lesniak SJ led the stations of the cross in three languages, Spanish, English and Polish to a full church in the evening. With reflections from immigrants and a multi-lingual rosary, the initiative attracted a large and diverse number of parishioners.

Even in the early hours of the morning when Sr Eugenia led reflections from Pope Francis and Fr Tim Byron SJ read meditations from Romano Guardini, there were over thirty hardy souls present. Parish priest Fr David Smolira SJ said, “I always find it very moving when the parish gathers in prayer. I am delighted so many came.”

Pope Francis hopes that this will be a regular Lenten event, with at least one church in each diocese remaining open for twenty-four consecutive hours.

Promoting this as an initiative for renewal during Lent he said “Above all, I urge the members of the Church to take up the Lenten journey with enthusiasm, sustained by almsgiving, fasting and prayer. If, at times, the flame of charity seems to die in our own hearts, know that this is never the case in the heart of God! He constantly gives us a chance to begin loving anew.”

In the same message, the Holy Father invited us to devote more time to prayer, by which "we enable our hearts to root out our secret lies and forms of self-deception, and then to find the consolation God offers. He is our Father and he wants us to live life well."