A church in every diocese around the world is kept open for 24 consecutive hours. The faithful are encouraged to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to pray in spiritual union with the Holy Father.
At his Wednesday General Audience this week, Pope Francis called the initiative “an important Lenten appointment for prayer” and a good opportunity to go to Confession.
This year’s 24 hours for the Lord will take place on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 March under restricted circumstances, due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Many countries have banned public gatherings and limited some freedom of movement to stem the virus’ spread.
“Unfortunately in Rome, Italy, and in other nations this initiative cannot be held under its traditional format due to the coronavirus emergency,” said the Pope.
Pray to participate
But he urged Catholics in countries without restrictions on gatherings to continue “this beautiful tradition.”
“I encourage the faithful to draw near sincerely to the mercy of God in Confession and to pray especially for those suffering due to the pandemic.”
For those who are unable to participate directly in the 24 Hours for the Lord initiative, Pope Francis said he is certain they will be able to experience “this penitential moment through personal prayer.”
Here in Ireland where public Mass in no longer being celebrated, the faithful are invited to use the Prayer Resource section on www.catholicbishops.ie to join in with the 24 hours for the Lord initiative in their own homes.