News

Overwhelming Response to Pope's Call for 24 Hours For The Lord

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
10 Mar 2015

Pope Francis invites all dioceses, parishioners and communities worldwide to participate in 24 Hours for the Lord on 13 - 14 March

Pope Francis' call to celebrate 24 Hours for the Lord on March 13 and 14 has had an enthusiastic response from Sydney's parishes as well as members of movements and religious orders across the city, says Cathy Kennedy, Director of CREDO, the Archdiocesan office for evangelisation and renewal.

Taking the theme, "God Rich in Mercy" (Ephesians 2:4), Eucharistic Adoration, prayer and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, will be celebrated by parishes, dioceses and communities worldwide with church's opening their doors for 24 hours from Friday, 13 March in what is hoped will become a mid-Lent tradition.

Inspired by the 2012 Synod on the New Evangelisation, the theme chosen this year by the Holy Father is a reminder that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is at the heart of the Church's mission of evangelisation.

"Confession is an encounter with Jesus whose mercy motivates us to do better," Pope Francis has frequently said and explained why it was important for Catholics to go to Confession saying that "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."

Cathy Kennedy, Director of CREDO

With his customary directness, the Pontiff reminds us that "the Confessional is not a dry cleaners, a business of sorts that just washes out the stain of sin," but is "the sincere and humble admission of one's weaknesses."

Confession, Pope Francis said in a homily last year, is "to praise God, because I - the sinner - have been saved by Him who always waits and always forgives with tenderness."

In Sydney, St Mary's Cathedral and churches throughout the Archdiocese will participate in the second global "24 Hours for the Lord" initiative.

"All those we have approached to help us at the St Mary's Cathedral have been full of enthusiasm, particularly at the opportunity to be involved and participate in what is a life-giving and life-changing event," Cathy says adding that when arranging the 24 Hours for the Lord program for St Mary's Cathedral she was met with an instant response from religious communities, movements and congregations, who were all eager to participate.

At St Mary's Cathedral, the 24 Hours of Prayer will take place in the "Lady Chapel" and begin at noon on Friday, 13 March with an hour of Adoration, Benediction. rosary and novena.  At 1.10 pm Mass will be followed from by further Adoration, Divine Mercy Prayers and at 5 pm there will be Solemn Vespers with the Cathedral Choir.

St Mary's Cathedral Choir will sing during the 24 Hours for the Lord celebrations

Throughout the afternoon as well as throughout the night and from early morning until noon the following day, animating groups in attendance include St Mary's Cathedral College, Servants of God's Divine Mercy, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Sisters, the Emmanuel Community, the Neocatechumenal Way, the Maronite Community of Sydney, the University Chaplaincies, the Seminary of the Good Shepherd, Fraternas, the Embrace Group and the Antioch Youth Movement.

"One of the highlights will be the Mass at 5.30 which will be celebrated by the Dean and will include a procession of the Blessed Sacrament from the main altar to the Lady Chapel," says Cathy. "Another highlight will be Adoration with prayerful inspirational music and exhortation by the Emmanuel Community, which will take place from 7 to 9 pm on Friday evening."

St Mary's Cathedral's Lady's Chapel will celebrate 24 Hours for the Lord on Friday 13 March

Seminarians from the Seminary of the Good Shepherd at Homebush will participate in Night Prayer which will follow.

"To be present with Christ in the Holy Eucharist and to experience His mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the heart and soul of the Gospel, the Cross and the Resurrection," Cathy says and hopes parishioners across the city will take time to visit the Cathedral or their local church and participate in the second of what we hope will be an annual Lenten 24 Hours for Christ.

"At the Cathedral, although the choir will sing and there will be times of sacred music, we are aware of the importance of silence and in Adoration. We live in a world where everyone is plugged in and there is non-stop noise and communication. That's why silence is so important, and a crucial element in our encounter with Christ the Lord," Cathy said.

 For a detailed list of the Sydney parishes where 24 Hours for the Lord will be observed from midday on Friday as well as the program for St Mary's Cathedral log on to www.credosydney.org/24-hours-for-the-lord.