24 Hours with the Lord - parishes and schools respond

A time of Reconciliation and Adoration
A time of Reconciliation and Adoration

Jesuit parishes, schools and other communities throughout Britain are responding to the Pope's call for the universal Church to set aside a period of '24 Hours for the Lord', by opening their doors for 24 hours this weekend. Pope Francis is inviting parishes around the world to provide a special welcome to visitors and worshippers tomorrow and Saturday, so that they might encounter Jesus Christ anew in the sacrament of Penance and Eucharistic Adoration.

The theme chosen for this year's event is "I desire mercy" (Mt. 9:13). After yesterday's General Audience in St Peter's Square, the Pope said: "I invite all communities to live with faith the 23-24 March appointment of '24 Hours for the Lord', to rediscover the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I hope that this year be a privileged moment of grace in the Lenten journey, that will be experienced in many churches to experience the joyous encounter with our Father’s mercy, who accepts and forgives everyone."

Aspire to be morePope Francis at St Peter's at the start of the first '24 Hours' in 2014

Among the British parishes which will be taking part will be St Francis Xavier's in Liverpool (SFX) where they will be using Blessed Oscar Romero's quote, 'Aspire not to have but to be more' as their theme. 'I desire mercy', the Pope's theme for this year's '24 Hours', will be the focus for Notre Dame High School in Liverpool, which has asked SFX to work with them on their Lenten Reconciliation service.

The Lenten initiative is organised by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. It is hoped that it will be a time of reflection and prayer, an opportunity to speak with a priest, and a chance to rediscover — or perhaps discover for the first time — the great mercy, healing, and life-changing power available in the sacrament of confession.

'24 Hours for the Lord' was launched three years ago, and it is suggested that the format includes a Reconciliation Service and Adoration on the Friday Evening, and Adoration with the availability of Confessions and a further Reconciliation Service the following day. The 24 Hours then concludes with the Vigil Mass of the 4th Sunday of Lent.

People can show their support for the initiative by using the hashtag #24hoursfortheLord, as dioceses, parishes and communities around the world adapt the initiative to their local situations and needs.