1. Where did the 24 Hours for the Lord originate? In his Bull of Indiction of the Jubilee of Mercy entitled Misericordiae Vultus, Pope Francis wrote: "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." (no. 17)
2. What are the exact dates for 24 Hours for the Lord? "the Friday and Saturday preceding the Fourth Week of Lent" (M.V. no. 17) Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5, 2016 are the dates for 24 Hours for the Lord.
3. What specifically are parishes asked to do during the 24 Hours for the Lord? The instruction from the Holy See has been both specific and flexible. The dates for 24 Hours for the Lord are specific: March 4-5, 2016. However, parishes are given great flexibility in celebrating as they discern. Generally speaking, at minimum, parishes are encouraged incorporate two things:
4. Do we have to hear Confessions 24 hours in a row? No. However, the Holy Father is asking that the Sacrament of Reconciliation would be available as much as possible. His request calls forth from priests an abundant generosity in their availability to hear Confessions.
5. What about "The Light is On"? Are we as a diocese still going to host "The Light is On?" Bishop Fabre is recommending that parishes feel free to incorporate "The Light is On" into 24 Hours for the Lord. Thus, the only "common" time where all parishes are expected to hear Confessions "at the same time" is March 4-5, 2016. However, if your parish or deanery has already decided to schedule "The Light is On" at another time, feel to proceed with your parish calendar as it already is.
6. What resources are available to help me? See below.