’24 Hours for the Lord’ is an initiative introduced by Pope Francis in 2014. It was received with great enthusiasm here in Ireland and around the world and it will be celebrated again this year on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 March.
It was suggested to dioceses that people should be able to find special opportunities during these two days for prayer and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Pope Francis himself will be participating in the initiative and will preside at a penitential service in Saint Peter’s Basilica in order to place the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the centre of the Church’s mission of the new evangelisation.
Pope Francis’ quotes on why Catholics should go to Confession:
1. Confession helps people feel shame for the wrong they have done and embraces them with God’s love so that they know they are forgiven and can go out strengthened in the battle to avoid sin in the future.
2. “But if a person, whether a layperson, priest or sister, goes to confession and converts, the Lord forgives. And when the Lord forgives, he forgets. This is important.”
3. The confessional is not a dry cleaners, a business of sorts that’s just washes out the stain of sin, the pope said to members of the Vatican’s investment agency on April 29.
4. “…when the door starts closing a bit because of our weakness and sins, confession reopens it.”
5. “I can’t be baptized two or three or four times, but I can go to confession, and when I go to confession, I renew that grace of baptism,” the pope said at his general audience on 13 November 2013.
6. It’s not a torture chamber where you’ll be raked over the coals.
7. Confession is an encounter with Jesus whose “mercy motivates us to do better.”
8. It’s not a psychiatric session that neglects the question of sin or a mental email to God that avoids the face-to-face encounter with the Lord through the priest.
9. The sincere and humble admission of one’s weaknesses, of having “a sliver of Satan in my flesh,” shows that the power of salvation comes from God, not oneself,” Pope Francis said in a morning homily on 14 June 2013..
10. Confession “is going to praise God, because I — the sinner — have been saved by him,” who always waits and always forgives “with tenderness.”
11. Confession should be an experience of “peace and understanding” and never one of “torture”.
12. A good confessor is a true friend of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and a person dedicated to prayer.
13. Be courageous and go to Confession! – Pope Francis
Pope Francis on how priests can be good confessors
Firstly, Pope Francis said, a good confessor is a true friend of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and a person dedicated to prayer. A Ministry of Reconciliation “bound up in prayer”, he said, is a credible reflection of God’s mercy and will “avoid the harshness and misunderstandings” that are sometimes associated with the Sacrament. Prayer is the first guarantee for avoiding harsh attitudes, pointlessly judging the sinner and not the sin.
The good confessor is a man of the Spirit, a man of discernment. How much harm is done to the Church through a lack of discernment, he added. Discernment, he insisted, enables a confessor to distinguish and not “tar all with the same brush” despite the many different and delicate situations people bring to the confessional.
The confessional is also a true place of evangelization and thus of formation. In the brief dialogue that is woven with the penitent, he said the confessor is called to discern what may be most useful or even necessary to the spiritual journey of that brother or sister. He stressed that confession is a real pastoral priority and he urged them never to limit the availability of the Sacrament to anyone who comes asking for it.
Irish dioceses have responded to the Pope’s ’24 hours for the Lord’ initiative and this is what is planned over the next two weekends:
24 Hours for the Lord will be held in a number of parishes throughout the diocese of Achonry. There will be a time of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and, in some cases, the opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Parishes and times:
Attymass, Co. Mayo: Friday 8.00pm-Saturday 8.00pm
Bohola, Co. Mayo: Friday 7.00pm-Saturday 7.00pm
Charlestown, Co. Mayo: Friday 11.00am-11.00pm
Curry, Co. Sligo: Thursday 9.00am-9.00pm
Keash, Co. Sligo: Friday 7.00pm-Saturday 7.00pm
Kilmovee, Co. Mayo: Friday 7.00pm-Saturday 7.00pm
Swinford, Co. Mayo: Friday 6.30pm-Saturday 6.30pm
Ardagh and Clonmacnois
In the pastoral area of Saint Ciaran in the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois, an hour of prayer including Mass, Adoration and the Sacrament of Reconciliation are available in ten churches.
|Wednesday March 22||7.00pm||Boora (Father Tom Cox)|
|Thursday March 23||7.00pm||Ferbane (Father Scanlon)|
|Thursday March 23||8.00pm||High Street (Father Aidan Ryan)|
|Thursday March 23||8.00pm||Cloghan (Father Tom Cox)|
|Thursday March 23||7.00pm||Banagher (Father Peter Burke)|
|Friday March 24||7.00pm||Clonfanlough (Father James MacKiernan)|
|Friday March 24||8.00pm||Shannonbridge (Father Aidan Ryan)|
|Friday March 24||7.00pm||Boher (Father Peter Burke)|
|Friday March 24||7.00pm||Pullough (Father Michael Morris)|
|Friday March 24||7.30pm||Ballinahowen (Father Pierre Pepper)|
The 24 hours for the Lord will take place in Saint Malachy’s Church, Armagh from 12.00noon until 12.00 midnight on Friday 24 March and from 5.00am – 5.00pm on Saturday 25 March. During the 24 hours, there will be special times of prayer and reflection. There will also be opportunities for Confessions during the 24 hours and people are encouraged to make a special effort in this season of Lent to celebrate the love and mercy of God.
Friday 24 March
|12.00 noon||Midday Prayer|
|3.00pm||Way of the Cross|
|7.00pm||Evening Prayer and Benediction|
Saturday 25 March
|12 noon||Midday Prayer|
|3.00pm||Way of the Cross|
|4.30pm||Evening Prayer & Benediction|
|5.00pm||Exposition of Blessed Sacrament ends|
From 12.00 noon to 12.00 midnight on the Friday and from 5.00am to 5.00pm on the Saturday, the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed in Saint Malachy’s Church. The Adoration Room in Saint Malachy’s Church will be closed during these 24 hours. Confessions will be heard from after Mass on the Friday evening in Saint Malachy’s Church until 10.00pm and on the Saturday in Saint Malachy’s Church from 11.00am – 3.00pm.
In the Diocese of Clogher, 24 Hours for the Lord will be celebrated from 7.30pm on Friday 24 March until 7.30pm on Saturday 25 March in Saint Patrick’s Church in Ballybay. Continuous Eucharistic Adoration will take place from 8.00pm on Friday until 5.00pm on Saturday. Confesssions are available on Friday from 8.00pm until 11.00pm and on Saturday from 10.30am until 6.15pm.
Down & Connor
In the Diocese of Down and Connor 24 Hours for the Lord will take place from Friday 24 until Saturday 25 March in Saint Brigid’s Church in Belfast.
Friday 24 March, 9.30am – 12 noon: Morning Mass followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. During this time a priest will be available for Confession. From 1.30pm – 3.30pm a priest will be available for Confession (to accommodate parents on the school run). Confessions will be available again from 5.00pm -7.00pm followed by Evening Mass.
Saturday 25 March, 12.00 noon Mass followed by Exposition until 1.00pm. Confessions from 12.30pm.
24 Hours for the Lord will take place in Sligo Cathedral from 6.00pm Friday 31 March until 6.00pm Saturday 1 April. 24 hours Sacrament of Reconciliation and Confession will take place in Strokestown Church from 6.00pm on Friday 31 March to 6.00pm on Saturday 1 April for the Parishes of Aughrim, Kilglass, Tarmonbarry, Tulsk, Elphin and Strokestown.
Kildare and Leighlin
24 hours for the Lord is taking place between Friday 24 March and Saturday 25 March in three parishes across the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, one in each deanery area – Carbury, Portlaoise and Tullow.
Portlaoise: 10.00am Friday 24 March to 10.00am Saturday 25 March
|10.00am||Opening Mass and Benediction|
|3.00pm||Recitation of Divine Mercy Chaplet|
|7.00pm||Rosary followed by Mass and Benediction|
|11.00pm||Holy Hour with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the Prayer room from midnight|
|10.00am||Saturday, Concluding Mass|
Carbury: 5.00pm Friday 24 March to 5.00pm Saturday 25 March
|5.00pm||Mass to start Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament|
|7.00am – 3.00pm||The following day, Rosary or Prayer on the hour|
|12.00am||Night Prayer of the Church|
|10.00am||Morning Prayer of the church|
|3.00pm||Prayer time for children especially First Communion Children|
|4.00pm||Mass and blessing of the sick followed by Benediction to conclude|
Tullow: 6.00pm Friday to 6.00pm Saturday
Priests will be available at all times for the sacrament of Reconciliation.
More information will be added as it becomes available.