On March 9 and 10 not only churches in dioceses worldwide will remain open for 24 consecutive hours to offer the faithful an opportunity for Confession and Eucharistic Adoration, it will also happen in Italian detention centres thanks to chaplains’ availability. The news was released to SIR by Msgr. Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, during the presentation of the initiative “24 hours for the Lord”, now in its fifth year. For the occasion, the Pope will meet the “missionaries of Mercy” who are carrying out Francis’ mandate to offer the sacrament of reconciliation in world Countries, two years after the Jubilee.
The initiative “24 hours for the Lord” is in the Pope’s heart. He mentioned it also in the final passages of his Message for Lent. What are the novelties characterising this year’s initiative?
Indeed, it can be said that this initiative – now in its fifth year – is increasingly closer to the heart of the Church. In fact, it could be described as a traditional Lenten event: Pope Francis has included it his Message. This year’s theme is taken from Psalm 130, “With you is forgiveness”. The intention is to open our hearts to the life of God, who changes and transforms it, giving us joy.
Local churches have responded to the initiative providing what can be described as a “map” of world dioceses offering the Sacrament of Confession and Eucharistic Adoration: from these two angles, what is the face of the five continents?
We have learned from the bishops arriving in Rome for “ad limina” visitations that whenever mentioned, everyone knows what the initiative “24 hours for the Lord” consists in. It’s a very important sign for us, it means that they are living out this experience that is carried out and spread throughout their dioceses.
I have recently received a letter from the Inspector General of Detention Centres with the proposal of living out “24 hours for the Lord” also in prisons.
Chaplains have been informed about carrying out this experience and this opportunity of forgiveness that has been planned, longed and yearned for.
We have experienced similar occasions also during the Jubilee Year called for by Pope Francis …
During the Jubilee we concretely experienced the extent to which the faithful needed mercy.
It’s an ongoing journey,
a dimension that in a special way is becoming an ever-thriving part of the life of our community. The experience of forgiveness is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful experiences in life: but if we don’t implore it as a gift of the Father, if we don’t let ourselves be forgiven by Him, we won’t be able to receive Him and forgive our brothers and sisters in return.
After Lent we will be entering into the heart of the preparations for the Synod of Young people. How are you preparing for this event that will see a “prefatory meeting” of Italian youths with the Pope in the month of August?
After the “24 Hours for the Lord”, on Easter Sunday we will celebrate the World Youth Day at diocesan level: youths will convene in Rome to gather around Pope Francis, ahead of the Synod in October. The following Sunday will be Mercy Sunday, which this year will be especially solemn. The Pope will celebrate Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Square together with all those people, groups, associations, organisms of consecrated life that draw inspiration from mercy.
The theme of mercy will also be the highlight of the following days, when the numerous Missionaries of Mercy who were sent out around the world by the Pope during the Jubilee will meet in Rome.
This meeting was yearned, called for and decided by the Holy Father who wished to meet the missionaries two years after their special mandate, to “appraise” their service with them, listen to their witness and revitalize the thriving light of the Father who always forgives those who implore his mercy, removing all obstacles preventing forgiveness.
As known, Pope Francis’ reform process for the Roman Curia is progressing: are changes in the pipeline for your dicastery?
We are also waiting to know what will happen. Many steps have been taken, some dicasteries have been merged. I cannot and I am unable to predict the next developments. We continue living out the experience of the new evangelization, a fundamental, pivotal theme in the life of the Church, especially today. Let is suffice to mention the 2012 Synod and Evagelii Gaudium, that can be defined the veritable “Magna Charta” of new evangelization. A structural dimension remains regardless of the outcome of the reform: the theme of new evangelization is at the forefront in the life of the Church.