The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation wrote to dioceses across the world in February of this year, inviting them to take part in the ’24 Hours for the Lord’ initiative. Pope Francis suggested that the dates of 29-30 March should be the days on which the ’24 hours for the Lord’ are held.
It was suggested to dioceses that people should be able to find special opportunities during these days for prayer and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Pope Francis himself will be participating in the initiative and is expected to hear confessions. The event will begin in Rome in the Vatican with a liturgical celebration in Saint Peter’s Basilica on the afternoon of Friday 28 March.
Irish dioceses have responded to the Pope’s initiative and this is what is planned:
Cardinal Seán Brady will join with the priests of the parish in celebrating the Sacrament of Penance in Saint Malachy’s Church, Armagh on Saturday 29 March. Confessions will be heard from 11.00am to 5.00pm and during this time, the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed. A member of the Parish Pastoral Council will lead prayers on the hour and people are encouraged to make a special effort to visit the church and spend some time in the presence of God to celebrate the special Sacrament and experience God’s healing and grace. Evening Prayer will be celebrated in the church at 5.00pm. The sacrament will also be celebrated as usual in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on that evening from 6.30pm – 7.00pm.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available in the Church of the Assumption, Magherafelt, Co. Derry on Saturday March 29th from 11.30am to 4.30pm. Visiting priests will attend and prayers will be led on the hour, every hour. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will also take place. This is an initiative of St. John’s Pastoral Area (Parishes of Ballinderry, Magherafelt, Moneymore & Newbridge).
Confessions will be heard continually from 11.00am – 5.00pm in Saint Patrick’s Church, Dundalk. The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed for adoration all day and vespers will be celebrated at 5.00pm.
In the Diocese of Cork and Ross, Saint Francis’ Church in Liberty Street has been designated as the venue for the ’24 Hours for the Lord’ initiative. Priests from many religious orders and the diocese will be available throughout the day and night to hear confessions there. Saint Francis Church is a church in the city associated with confession and the assistance of the Franciscan Community is acknowledged by the diocese for this event.
Commenting on the initiative, Bishop John Buckley, Bishop of Cork and Ross said: “Confession of one’s sins and a return to the Gospel has always been an important part of the Church’s Lenten observance. I commend this initiative wholeheartedly and will hear confessions myself during this period in St. Francis’ church.”
In the Diocese of Kerry the ’24 Hours for the Lord’ initiative will be observed in the Church of the Resurrection, Killarney from 5.00pm on Friday 28 to 5.00pm on Saturday 29 March.
The Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin is hosting 24 hours of prayer and reconciliation in the Parish of Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, from 5.00pm on Friday 28 March until 5.00pm on Saturday 29 March. The ‘24 Hours for the Lord’ event will commence with a holy hour at 5.00pm in St. Andrew’s Church, Bagenalstown. It will continue for 24 hours, and will include periods of Eucharistic Adoration, quiet times of prayer and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Priests from across the diocese will be available during each hour of the 24 hour period to hear confessions, and to accompany people as they pray.
Commenting ahead of the event, Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin said: “I am delighted to respond to such a wonderful initiative called for by Pope Francis. What we are doing in Bagenalstown, Pope Francis will be doing in Rome – leading prayer and offering confession – Pope Francis has described the initiative as a ‘celebration of forgiveness’ which will happen in dioceses across the world. The Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin is offering this ‘24 Hours for the Lord’ to the people of the diocese as a Lenten Diocesan Reach-Out gift, similar to the annual Advent Diocesan Reach-Out gift. It is a gift which will make a profound difference in the lives of those who take up the invitation to be open to God’s love and mercy. I am extending a personal invitation to parishioners across the diocese to join us in Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, and to be present for some of these 24 hours for Jesus Christ. All are welcome to this Festival of Forgiveness!”
Note: This page will be updated as more diocesan information becomes available. Follow what’s happening in Irish dioceses on Twitter by using the #24hoursfortheLord hashtag.