Dioceses in Ireland (see details below) are preparing for Pope Francis’ worldwide promotion of the Sacrament of Confession as part of the ‘24 Hours for the Lord’ initiative which will take place tomorrow Friday 4 and Saturday 5 March.
The initiative was received with great enthusiasm when it was introduced by Pope Francis in 2014. ‘24 Hours for the Lord’ was offered to the faithful to help provide special opportunities for prayer and the Sacrament of Confession (Reconciliation) during Lent. Over this weekend Pope Francis will be participating in this initiative by presiding at a penitential service in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and by hearing Confessions.
Pope Francis has shared many memorable quotes on the Sacrament of Reconciliation and how important it is for the faithful and for the Church: “Confession is an encounter with Jesus whose mercy motivates us to do better.” He also said that Confession “is going to praise God, because I — the sinner — have been saved by him, who always waits and always forgives ‘with tenderness’.” This year’s ‘24 Hours for the Lord’ initiative takes place in the context of the Jubilee Year of Mercy which Pope Francis has called the universal Church to celebrate and it runs from 8 December 2015 until 20 November, the Feast of Christ the King.
Irish dioceses have responded to Pope Francis’ invitation to host these days of mercy and have made arrangements for parishioners who would like to participate in the ‘24 Hours for the Lord’ initiative. Please see below some of the events planned:
In the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois ‘24 Hours for the Lord’ will begin in Saint Mel’s Cathedral, Longford, on 4 March with Mass at 7.30pm. This will be followed by the launch of ‘The Way of the Cross – A journey with images and words of scripture carved in stone’. Mr Ken Thompson, who sculpted the Stations of the Cross, is the author of the reflections on each station. Bishop Colm O’Reilly, Bishop Emeritus of Ardagh and Clonmacnois provided the prayers and the foreword. Bishop Francis Duffy, Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois will launch ‘The Way of the Cross’ and the ‘24 hours for the Lord’ after the 7.30pm Mass. Saint Mel’s Cathedral will remain open throughout the night with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Mass will be celebrated on Saturday morning at 8.00am.
In the Archdiocese of Armagh ‘24 hours for the Lord’ will take place in Armagh Parish in Saint Malachy’s Church from 7.00pm on Friday 4 March to 7.00am on Saturday 5 March and in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral from 7.00am – 7.00pm on the Saturday. The 24 hours will begin with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Eamon Martin on 4 March at 7.00pm in Saint Malachy’s Church and it will conclude with the 7.00pm Vigil Mass being celebrated in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on the Saturday evening. 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 and in this Year of Mercy to celebrate the love and mercy of God. Additional events are taking place in Drumcree Parish, Portadown, Saint Peter’s Parish, Drogheda and Saint Patrick’s, Dundalk.
In the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly diocese the 24 Hours for the Lord will take place in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles from 6.00pm on 4 March until 6.00pm on 5 March. There will be Eucharistic Adoration with prayers, hymns and reflections upon the theme of mercy. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be celebrated during the 24 hours.
The Diocese of Clonfert has divided the 24 Hours for the Lord into two periods of 12 Hours for the Lord. The first takes place in Saint Brendan’s Cathedral, Loughrea on 4 March from 11.00am until 11.00pm. The second takes place in Saint Michael’s Church, Ballinasloe on 5 March from 10.00am until 10.00pm.
In the Diocese of Cloyne five churches will remain open to offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation beginning on 4 March and continuing until midnight. Confession will resume again on the morning of 5 March and continue throughout the day until 5.oopm. The churches involved are:
- Midleton Deanery: Church of the Most Holy Rosary, Midleton
- Buttevant Deanery: Saint Mary’s Church, Mallow
- Coachford Deanery: Saint Colman’s Church, Macroom
- Kanturk Deanery: Church of the Immaculate Conception, Kanturk
- Fermoy Deanery: Saint Patrick’s Church, Fermoy.
Priests from neighbouring parishes will take part in a rota of Confessors to cover the allotted time. Eucharistic Adoration will also take place in the above churches for the 24 hour period. Everyone is welcome to come to those churches either to pray or to avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Bishop John Buckley has invited the priests of the Diocese of Cork and Ross to come to Saint Francis Church, Liberty Street, Cork to be available to hear Confessions from 10.00am on 4 March right through until 10.00am on 5 March. As people come to the Church for Confession they will enter through the Holy Door, opened by Bishop Buckley at the beginning at this Jubilee Year of Mercy.
In the Diocese of Derry the ‘24 Hours for the Lord’ will be celebrated from 4 – 5 March in Saint Eugene’s Cathedral in Derry City, Sacred Heart Church (Omagh), Saint Mary’s Church (Maghera) and Saint Mary’s Oratory (Buncrana).
In the Diocese of Dromore there will be a ‘Mercy Night’ on 4 March in the Cathedral of Saint Patrick and Saint Colman, Newry, from 7.30pm until 12.00 midnight with Confessions available and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
In the Archdiocese of Dublin there will be 24 hours of Meditation and Reconciliation in Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral beginning on 4 March. Confessions will be heard after each of the following Masses: 8.30am, 10.00am & 11.00 am and 12.45pm. A Penitential Service will take place at 1.15pm followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Confessions will continue from 2.00pm- 5.00 pm
The Diocese of Elphin will celebrate 24 Hours for the Lord from 7.00pm on 4 March to 7.00pm on 5 March in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Sligo. There will be opportunities for Adoration, guided prayer, sacred silence, quiet music and 24 hours of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. All are welcome.
In the Diocese of Kerry there will be a 24 hour Vigil of Reconciliation in Cahersiveen, Listowel and Ballyheigue. Adoration will begin in the O’Connell Memorial Church, Cahersiveen, after 7.30pm Mass on 4 March and conclude at 6.15pm on 5 March. Adoration will begin in Saint Mary’s Church, Listowel after the 7.00pm First Friday Mass and will conclude at the 7.00pm Saturday night vigil Mass. Joining Listowel and Cahirsiveen in 24 hours of Adoration for the Year of Mercy is Ballyheigue. Ballyheigue Adoration takes place from 9.00am on 5 March to 9.30am on 6 March.
In the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin ‘24 hours for the Lord’ will take place from 4 to 5 March. The Church of the Most Holy Rosary, Abbeyleix will be one of the churches to remain open with Eucharistic Adoration from 5.00pm on Friday to 5.00pm on Saturday with priests available for Confession throughout the time. There will be a Penance Service at 7.30pm on Friday during which the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be celebrated. Night Prayer will take place at 12.00 midnight and Morning Prayer will take place on Saturday at 10.00am. Caragh Parish will open their church for 24 hours from 5.00pm on Friday 4 March until 5.00pm on Saturday 5 march and they are inviting people to spend some time with the Lord during this period. The programme will include Rosary, Prayer, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and Blessing of the Sick, followed by Benediction. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available throughout the 24 hours.
All parishes in the Diocese of Kilmore will host a liturgy as part of ‘24 Hours for the Lord’ from 4 to 5 March. In addition, the Cathedral of Saint Patrick and Saint Felim in Cavan town has integrated the event with a pre Easter Confessions drive which will take place later in the month on Wednesday 23 March.
Saint Augustine’s Church in the Diocese of Limerick will be at the centre of a round-the-clock procession of the faithful this weekend as part of the ‘24 hours for the Lord’. The O’Connell Street Church will be the Limerick venue for what will be a global vigil as Catholic faithful across the world respond to Pope Francis’ ‘call to mercy’. This is the first major event in Limerick as part of the calendar year to mark the ‘Year of Mercy’. It will begin with Mass celebrated by Father Tony O’Riordan SJ on 4 March at 4.00pm and conclude with Mass for the Sick, celebrated by Bishop Emeritus Donal Murray at 3.00pm on 5 March. In between the various liturgies there will be Eucharistic Adoration, with priests available for Confession. All are welcome to participate in this initiative.
In the Diocese of Meath priests will be available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation throughout a special 24-hour period in Mullingar next weekend to help celebrate the Year of Mercy. The Cathedral of Christ the King will host ‘24 Hours of Mercy’, beginning on 4 March at 10.00am. There will be a Healing Mass on Friday evening at 7.30pm, as well as Mass in candlelight at 11.00pm and a Dawn Mass at 4.00am. Children from the parish will join in for Mass on Friday at 10.00am while teenagers have been given a designated period for youth prayer before lunchtime. At least one priest will be in the Cathedral every hour to hear Confessions. The event will also allow pilgrims to pass through the Cathedral’s Holy Door of Mercy, which provides a plenary indulgence for those who are properly disposed. The ‘24 hours of Mercy’ concludes with Benediction on Saturday after Mass at 10.00am.
The Diocese of Ossory is hosting Eucharistic Adoration and the Sacrament of Reconciliation in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny on 4 and 5 March from 7.00am to 7.00pm each day. The theme of the event is reconciliation and priests will be available to hear Confessions from 11.00am-12.00 noon each day.
In the Diocese of Raphoe 24 hours of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Confessions will take place in the Cathedral of Sts Eunan & Columba in Letterkenny from 8.30am on 4 March finishing on Saturday morning 5 March at 10am. These Hour Hours will be led by families and various groups of the Cathedral Parish, Letterkenny.
The Archdiocese of Tuam will be participating in Pope Francis’ 24 Hours for the Lord initiative by hosting a ‘Weekend of Mercy’ on 5 and 6 March. There will be adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the Cathedral of the Assumption in Tuam from 10.00am on 5 March right through to 10.00pm that night (except during Masses). The Sacrament of Reconciliation will also be available on 5 March from 10.00am to 10.00pm and from 9.30am to 2.00pm on 6 March (except during Masses). A specially printed Cathedral Prayer Card for the Jubilee Year will be given to Mass-goers as they leave through the Door of Mercy in the Cathedral.
The Diocese of Achonry will be hosting their ‘24 Hours for the Lord’ from Friday 11 March to the Vigil Masses on Saturday 12 March in most parishes in the diocese. Confessions will be on offer in parishes during this time. On Sunday 13 March parishes are invited to go on Pilgrimage to The Holy Door in the Cathedral of The Annunciation and Saint Nathy in Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon. The four cluster areas of the diocese are assigned an hour each from 3.00pm to 7.00pm. Confessions will also be available then. Ten “Stations” have been identified in the cathedral and a booklet accompanying these will be available. Pilgrims will be invited to pray these Stations.
- The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization has published a pastoral guide to the Sacrament of Reconciliation as “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative approaches. To access these guidelines please open http://www.im.va/content/dam/gdm/documenti/pdfvari/24HoursForTheLord.pdf