Wednesday, 8 March 2017

24 Hours for the Lord

 The purpose of this article is to provide information on 24 Hours for the Lord and links concerning the event, along with the official poster for the year.

24 Hours for the Lord is an initiative of the Pontifical Council for the Promoting of the New Evangelization encouraged by Pope Francis since 2014 to be held annually in every diocese in the world on the Friday/Saturday preceding the Fourth Sunday of Lent. It is to involve 24 consecutive hours of Adoration of the exposed Blessed Sacrament, in accompaniment with extended periods -ideally 24hrs- of the Sacrament of Confession (Reconciliation) being made available.

I write this in 2017 and hope to update this article each year with the relevant information. Please comment if you've better or updated information regarding this wonderful and spiritually enriching Sacramental and communal initiative.

Official Information on the Event

Official information for the holding of the "24 Hours of the Lord" is found bellow, drawing from two documents by Pope Francis. By no means is it explicitly spelt out in these documents - although this could be stated elsewhere (please let me know if you do) - that this is an annual occurrence - but it is irrefutably expressed in the latter document quoted.

Misericordiae Vultus, Bull of Indication of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy,
(11 April, 2015).

The initiative of “24 Hours for the Lord,” to be celebrated on the Friday and Saturday preceding the Fourth Week of Lent, should be implemented in every diocese. So many people, including young people, are returning to the Sacrament of Reconciliation; through this experience they are rediscovering a path back to the Lord, living a moment of intense prayer and finding meaning in their lives. Let us place the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the centre once more in such a way that it will enable people to touch the grandeur of God’s mercy with their own hands. For every penitent, it will be a source of true interior peace.

Misericordia et misera, Apostolic Letter, 20 Nov, 2016.

A favourable occasion for this [Sacrament of Reconciliation] could be the 24 Hours for the Lord, a celebration held in proximity to the Fourth Sunday of Lent. This initiative, already in place in many dioceses, has great pastoral value in encouraging a more fervent experience of the sacrament of Confession.

The above is written at the end of last year ('The Year of Mercy'), and makes the assumption that the 24 Hours for the Lord is and will be a continuing event.

I haven't come across an explicit mention of the annual nature of the 24 Hour for the Lord either by Pope Francis, or the Pontifical Council for the Promoting of the New Evangelization. Yet the above reference in Misericordia et misera is satisfactory for the annual endorsement of the event. An event which remains a worthwhile event even without such endorsement, but which is made a prerogative all the more so, because of it.
Still, it isn't hard to find all over the internet the opinion that the 24 Hours for the Lord was intended to be an annual event from the beginning. For example, the official website of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Whales states the following (2014):
24 Hours for the Lord is for the whole Catholic Church and one of its main aims is to create a powerful tradition.
It's hoped that the initiative will be held annually on the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
(Source here).

24 Hours for the Lord this Year: 2017

The official website of the Pontifical Council for the Promoting of the New Evangelization makes the following statement:

Following the enthusiasm of past year, the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization proposes the 24 hours for the Lord also for the Lent of 2017, on March 24-25.

(Source here)
The theme of this year's event: "I desire mercy" (Mt 9:13).
So simple answer: it's on this year, and all dioceses, and even parishes, are encouraged to participate in this prayerful initiative of the New Evangelisation which has the Eucharist as its source and summit.
A truth expounded by Pope Saint John Paul II in Ecclesia Eucharistia (2003, 22).
From the perpetuation of the sacrifice of the Cross and her communion with the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, the Church draws the spiritual power needed to carry out her mission. The Eucharist thus appears as both the source and the summit of all evangelization, since its goal is the communion of mankind with Christ and in him with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Official Poster for the 24 Hours for the Lord: 2017