Mar 17, 2014

Late-night confessions to follow papal penance service during Lent


(CNS file photo/Chris Warde Jones)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Priests in the Diocese of Rome, led by Pope Francis and organized by a Vatican office, will mark "24 hours for the Lord," offering eucharistic adoration and the sacrament of penance in St. Peter's Basilica and three historic churches in the center of Rome March 28-29.

The 24 hours will begin at 5 p.m. March 28 when Pope Francis leads a penitential liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica and hears confessions.

Then, beginning at 8 p.m., the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, the Church of St. Agnes in Piazza Navona and the Church of the Holy Stigmata near Largo Argentina will be open for confessions and adoration. Announcing the services, the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization did not give a finish time, but said priests would be available "late into the night."

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the council, told the Vatican newspaper that priests from the Diocese of Rome were asked to assist the priests normally assigned to the three churches.

Young people belonging to different parishes and different movements, the archbishop said, will be out on the streets inviting their peers to go into the churches to pray, to confess or just to talk to a priest.

The Church of St. Agnes also will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 29 for confessions and adoration. Archbishop Fisichella will close the special celebration with evening prayer beginning at 5 p.m.