‘Beautiful’ 24 Hours for the Lord in Sydney

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Worshippers pray in the darkened church of St Francis Xavier, Lurnea, during 24 Hours for the Lord. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

Catholics throughout Sydney joined millions of others worldwide for 24 Hours for the Lord held 29-30 March.

More than 20 parishes across all parts of the city including St Joseph’s Como-Oyster Bay in the south, Our Lady of Victories, Horsley Park, St Therese, Denistone and St Mary’s Cathedral kept their doors open and lights on for anyone who wanted to slip in and spend a quiet moment, or a whole hour, with Christ, and also have an opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Many parishes include the Stations of the Cross on Friday evening as part of the event.

Begun as an initiative of Pope Francis during Lent in the 2016 Jubilee Year of Mercy, 24 Hours for the Lord has become much-loved space for silence and reflection on the Church’s busy calendar.

Man praying the rosary
Families and people of all ages visited churches across Sydney for the annual 24 hours of Adoration and Reconciliation. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

It means that at least one church, and often dozens, in every diocese around the world is open for 24 consecutive hours while the Blessed Sacrament is unveiled for adoration on the altar and priests prepare to hear confessions.

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The theme of the event is inspired by the words of Psalm 130:4, “With you is found forgiveness.”

At St Mary’s Cathedral hundreds of the faithful made time to join the vigil for a while.

Cathedral dean Fr Don Richardson said that a number of groups spent time in adoration and praying the Liturgy of the Hours, while extended hours were offered for Reconciliation.

Parishioners pray the Stations of the Cross at Our Lady of Victories, Horsely Park. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli.

“It is very worthwhile and is another way the cathedral can offer people in the city opportunities for prayer,” he said.

Helen Wagner of the Emmanuel Community which led an hour of music and silence at St Mary’s from 6pm-7pm on the Friday evening said that the confessional was also kept busy.

“It was beautiful, especially to go home and then wake up on Saturday morning and to know that all over the world there were people remaining in adoration of Our Lord,” she said.

Parishioners led prayers at churches across Sydney. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

The Catholic Weekly photographers Giovanni Portelli and Alphonsus Fok crisscrossed the city to cover several parishes during the evening vigil.

Giovanni said the annual event is a “unique pilgrimage” for him and with the aid of satellite navigation “a very 21st century Via Dolorosa”.

“Consistently upon arrival in a parish I’m astonished at the absence of sound during Adoration,” he said.