Preparing for 24 Hours for the Lord

Friday 9 March 2018

Media and Communications Office, CNS photo/Stefano Spaziani

Pope Francis calls the universal church to set aside a special period of 24 Hours for the Lord, to be marked around the fourth Sunday of Lent. The focus of this initiative is to highlight and celebrate the liberating power of forgiveness, as experienced in and through the Sacrament of Penance and to set aside intentional time for communal and personal prayer and devotion.

During the 24 Hours for the Lord, people are presented with an opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The initiative will see a church in every diocese around the world open for 24 consecutive hours as part of the initiative. In Vatican City on Friday, Pope Francis will preside over a penitential celebration in St Peter’s Basilica.

In his 2018 Lenten Message, Pope Francis has encouraged the global Catholic community to ‘celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation in the context of Eucharistic adoration.’

Meanwhile, the Archbishop's Office for Evangelisation in Melbourne has prepared a number of practical ideas and helpful templates to assist parish leadership teams in promoting and facilitating awareness, participation and engagement with the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, including:

  • What is the 24 Hours for the Lord initiative?
  • the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation
  • excerpts from Pope Francis’ Misericordia et misera
  • sample penitential service (Second Rite)
  • Rite for Reconciliation of Several Penitents with Individual Confession and Absolution
  • sample prayers of the faithful
  • music suggestions
  • sample models for celebrating the 24 Hours for the Lord
  • online resource 'Stewards of Forgiveness' video reflections and reflection questions
  • ideas for family participation in the home
  • Sacrament of Reconciliation times at city churches
  • daily readings for the weekend
  • A print-ready bookmark for distribution.

You are invited to use and adapt these offerings to suit your unique parish culture, needs and circumstance.
St Bernard's Parish in Bacchus Marsh are hosting a 24 hour initiative at the Ta'Pinu Shrine, 15 Flanagans Drive, Bacchus Marsh. The Shrine will remain open for 24 consecutive hours, offering an opportunity for both Eucharistic adoration and sacramental confession. The 24 hour period begins with Mass on Friday afternoon at 3.30pm, followed by exposition and the Divine Mercy chaplet, then devotional prayers and meditation before the Blessed Sacrament. Saturday afternoon Mass at 3.30pm concludes the 24 hours.

What is the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation?

The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is the process or steps we take in order to reunite ourselves with God. As human beings we all share the experience of weakness and the failure to be our best selves. When we intentionally fail to make a loving choice, that is, when we sin, we turn away in varying degrees from the unconditional love of God. This leaves us with a deep inner need for forgiveness and peace. The Sacrament of Penance heals and strengthens

Why should we receive this Sacrament?

During the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, we have a personal encounter with our loving and merciful God through the agency of the priest. This tangible experience of being welcomed, listened to as we name our sins, counselled, hearing the words of forgiveness in absolution and blessing, and completing a penance are each important and liberating elements of the process that makes up this Sacrament.

As human beings we receive the world through our senses. The intimacy of this one on one experience is powerful, transformative and redemptive. Through the physical presence, the spoken words and actions of the priest, we are healed, nourished and strengthened to continue our journey as a disciple of Jesus in the world.

For more information on the 24 Hours for the Lord initiative and to access Archbishop's Office for Evangelisation’s electronic booklet, click here.
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