Responding to Holy Father Pope Francis’ invitation to participate in ‘24 Hours for the Lord’, thousands of faithful gathered together in St. Peter’s Basilica. His Holiness Pope Francis focused on the readings of the day – 1John 3: 21-10 and Matthew 26: 69-75 and highlighted that John’s words provide us with a source of joy and consolation, knowing that God’s love for us is so deep that we are his children.  The celebration continued after the Pope’s homily with time for an examination of conscience, the recitation of the Act of Contrition, Intercessory Prayer, individual confession and absolution, and period of thanksgiving for the gift of God’s Mercy.

As reported by Vatican Radio, Holy Father Pope Francis remarked that “It is God’s grace that we can rely on in order to strengthen our hope that we will never lack his love, “in spite of any sin we may have committed by rejecting his presence in our lives.” Further, His Holiness added, “It is truly difficult for all of us to allow Jesus to love us. We would always like a part of us to be freed of the debt of gratitude, while in reality, we are completely indebted, because God loved us first and, with love, he saves us completely.”

This is the 5th time that “24 Hours with the Lord” has been celebrated. At least one church in every diocese is remaining open for a consecutive 24 hours to provide the faithful with an occasion to spend time before the Eucharist, and to approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation.