to live the Mercy of God
The whole world will be immersed in the mercy of God with the “24 Hours for the Lord”. Pope Francis will begin the great event on Friday, March 4, with a Penance Service in Saint Peter’s Basilica. This initiative began in Rome, but quickly spread and has already become a worldwide phenomenon, in which dioceses on five continents will be spiritually united to the Holy Father, to offer everyone the possibility of having a personal experience of the mercy of God.
Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5, the “24 Hours for the Lord” return. The third occurrence of this initiative was born with the intention of putting as centrally important prayer, Eucharistic adoration, and the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is an opportunity for everyone, even late into the night, in the heart of our cities, to touch the mercy of God. The motto of the Jubilee Year, “Merciful Like the Father” is the guiding theme of the event, whose titles in the years 2014 and 2015 were, respectively, “Forgiveness Stronger than Sin” and “God, Rich in Mercy”.
Promoted by the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, with an immediate following in many dioceses,“24 Hours for the Lord” was very much desired by Pope Francis. The Holy Father, on Friday, March 13, 2015, the second anniversary of his election to the pontificate, announced the Holy Year of Mercy during this very penitential celebration. Pope Francis also wrote the following in the Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee (Misericordiae Vultus, 17): “The initiative of “24 Hours for the Lord,” to be celebrated on the Friday and Saturday preceding the Fourth Week of Lent, should be implemented in every diocese. So many people, including young people, are returning to the Sacrament of Reconciliation; through this experience they are rediscovering a path back to the Lord, living a moment of intense prayer and finding meaning in their lives”.
Inserted into the calendar of the major Jubilee events, the “24 Hours for the Lord” will take place this year under the sign of the Jubilee “diffused” throughout the world. Rome is a pilgrimage destination, but it is also a propulsive center from which there radiates into all the dioceses of the world of the great Jubilee theme of a mercy that concretely reaches the peripheries, both geographic and human. This theme, so dear to the Holy Father, is being lived in dioceses by the opening of Doors of Mercy in all the world, and with the attention being given to the existential conditions of contemporary humanity. It is important to underline, as Archbishop Fisichella, the President of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, explains that “mercy cannot be limited to the sacrament of reconciliation; it has a much greater horizon, which requires each of us to become an instrument of mercy for our neighbor”.
Therefore, Pope Francis will be the one to open the “24 Hours for the Lord” in this Jubilee Year with a Penance Service on Friday March 4th at 17:00, during which, as also happened in the past years, the Holy Father will hear the confessions of some penitents. Following this, beginning at 21:00, it will be possible to go to the sacrament of confession and also Eucharistic adoration in the churches of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore/Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (Piazza Navona), Santa Maria in Trastevere (Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere), and of the Sacre Stimmate di S. Francesco/Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis (Largo Argentina).
The next day, Saturday, March 5, the church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore) will remain open without interruption, and will have priests present to hear confessions until 16:00. The conclusion of this 3rd year of the “24 Hours for the Lord” will be the thanksgiving celebration presided by S.E. Mons. Fisichella in the Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia, the shrine dedicated to Divine Mercy.
Finally, to assist in better living this time of prayer there is a guide booklet being published by San Paolo, translated into 6 languages and subdivided into 4 parts, which offers points for reflection and indicates how to listen to others; it elaborates on the significance of the sacrament of confession; and it offers some suggestions for lectio divina for parishes, groups and associations.
We invite everyone who will participate in the “24 Hours for the Lord” to share their experiences on our social networking platforms and to send us a brief testimony and photo at: email@example.com.