24 hours for the Lord returns to the Cathedral

Aaron Lambert

Continuing the tradition started last year during the Year of Mercy, the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception will once again open its doors for 24 hours to those seeking the Lord’s mercy in the sacrament of reconciliation.

March 24 – 25 will mark the second 24 Hours for the Lord event in the Archdiocese of Denver. Confessions will be heard Friday, March 24, from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., and then on Saturday, March 25, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Faithful are invited to come partake in this time of prayer and reflection and receive the sacrament of reconciliation from a priest of the archdiocese.

“Several priests from around the Archdiocese of Denver will be hearing confessions at those hours,” said John Miller, director of the Office of Liturgy. “Priests will be available to hear confessions in English as well as Spanish during those times.”

Father Scott Bailey was one of over 30 priests available to hear confessions during last year’s event, and he remembers it as a powerful experience.

“I was hearing confessions in the middle of the night and we had quite the line,” Father Bailey told the Denver Catholic. “Many of the people coming to confession that night had traveled from other parts of the Archdiocese, choosing to make a sort of pilgrimage to the Cathedral for confession. Many of them had been away from confession for many years and this was an opportunity for a fresh start. It was a really beautiful experience.”

When decreeing the Jubilee Year of Mercy in 2015, Pope Francis called on dioceses around the world to offer 24 hours of confession on the Friday and Saturday preceding the fourth week of lent. The archdiocese is keeping with this, offering 24 Hours for the Lord during the same period of Lent this year.

Pope Francis first spoke of the 24 Hours for the Lord initiative in his 2015 Message for Lent. This year’s event presents the perfect opportunity to keep the graces from the Year of Mercy flowing abundantly.

“Let us not underestimate the power of so many voices united in prayer, the Holy Father wrote. “The 24 Hours for the Lord initiative … is meant to be a sign of this need for prayer.”

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For 24 hours, the Church is opening its doors and inviting people to receive mercy.

As part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis decreed that dioceses around the world hold 24 hours of adoration and Confession on the Friday and Saturday preceding the fourth week of Lent.

“Pope Francis emphasizes this culture of encounter, which involves bringing people face to face with the mercy of God,” said Dave Uebbing, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Denver. “[24 Hours for the Lord] is a great way to immerse yourself in the Year of Mercy.”

The 24 Hours for the Lord initiative was first introduced in Lent 2013 by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. It was designed as a way to open churches up to the faithful for an extended period of mercy and encounter with Christ and has been promoted by Pope Francis himself.

The Archdiocese of Denver is celebrating the event March 4 and 5 at two locations: the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and St. Stephen Catholic Church in Glenwood Springs. Adoration and confession will be available beginning at 5 p.m. March 4 until 5 p.m. March 5 at the Cathedral, while St. Stephen will have a modified schedule of 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. March 4 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 5.

A total of 30 priests from around the archdiocese have volunteered to hear confessions during the event. The Cathedral will provide security during the daytime hours and throughout the nighttime hours.

The 24 Hours for Lord initiative is a part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which began this past Dec. 8 and continues until Nov. 20, 2016. In a recent interview conducted by Italian publication Credere, Pope Francis elaborated on his reasoning behind calling for a Jubilee Year of Mercy.

“We are all sinners, we all bear interior burdens,” the Pontiff said. “I felt that Jesus wishes to open the door of his heart, that the Father wishes to show his deepest mercy. “This is an opportunity to really receive God’s mercy, then you will be prepared to give mercy to other people by encountering Jesus in the sacrament of confession and his presence in the Eucharist.”

“In order to give mercy you have to receive it first,” Uebbing said. “This is an opportunity to really receive God’s mercy by encountering Jesus in the sacrament of Confession and his presence in the Eucharist.”

One way to share mercy after receiving it would be to participate in the Eucharistic Procession around Planned Parenthood in Stapleton, led by Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila, that is happening during 24 Hours for the Lord on March 5.

The Cathedral and St. Stephen’s are also designated pilgrimage sites for the Year of Mercy. One is able to receive a plenary indulgence, meaning the removal of the temporal effects of sin, by passing meeting certain conditions and passing through a Holy Door. The Vatican’s official conditions for receiving a plenary indulgence are as follows: make a procession of faith at the Holy Door location, pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, receive communion and partake in the sacrament of reconciliation at least 20 days prior to receiving the indulgence, and an interior disposition of complete detachment from sin.

St. Rafka Maronite Catholic Church in Lakewood was also designated a pilgrimage site for the Jubilee Year of Mercy by the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, and they will be holding their own 24 Hours for the Lord March 4 to 5, 3 p.m. to 3 p.m.

24 Hours for the Lord

Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
March 4 – 5, 5 p.m. – 5 p.m.
401 E. Colfax Ave. Denver, CO 80203

St. Stephen’s Catholic Church
March 4, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., March 5, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
1885 Blake Ave. Glenwood Springs, CO 81601