Catholics throughout Sydney and around the world knelt in adoration before the sacramental presence of the Lord on 4-5 March for 24 Hours for the Lord – a key event of the Year of Mercy and personal initiative of the Holy Father, Pope Francis.
Twenty-four registered parishes kept their own local vigils at the same time as various groups and religious communities took turns to ‘animate’ an hour or two at St Mary’s Cathedral; the event at St Mary’s concluding with midday Mass on Saturday. (One Sydney parish held its vigil one week later, on 11-12 March.)
Cathy Kennedy, director of Credo, the archdiocesan evangelisation office, which organised the cathedral vigil and provided adoration resources to parishes, said it was a richly edifying experience.
“The movements and groups and orders did a wonderful job, especially the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Sisters,” Cathy said.
“They were there with their walking canes, struggling up the stairs, but so excited to be there. They led the most beautiful hour on the mercy of God.
“We felt very privileged and yet they kept thanking us for the privilege of being asked.
Many availed themselves of the sacrament of penance and reconciliation on offer at different times throughout the 24 hours.
“(Cathedral priest) Fr Brendan Purcell seemed to have a huge line of people going to confession,” she said, thanking the other confessors of the night – including the dean,
Fr Don Richardson – and the cathedral support staff for their support.
The event concluded hours before the Sydney gay, lesbian and transgender Mardi Gras took place.
“It did feel very special to me that we were doing it just before Mardi Gras, and I felt in my heart to pray for all of those people who just have a deep need in their lives that only God can fill,” Cathy said.
“I suspect it was on the minds of many taking part.”