Dear parishioners,

On March 13-14 I want us to join parishes worldwide in 24 hours of prayer, adoration of the Eucharist and Confession. Pope Francis calls this “24 Hours for the Lord”. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, said: “I would say the faithful will be involved at the moment in which we priests are convinced about the good of the initiative, because to open our churches for 24 hours is a challenge everywhere. But this is not just a problem of security, not just a problem of overcoming difficulties we encounter. This is a challenge of understanding how we can, for 24 hours, become a concrete sign of mercy and welcome people into our churches…“24 Hours for the Lord” means giving a sign, not just any sign, but a sign of the mercy of God the Father that is welcoming of everybody — and that we can also trust in him and find courage to go on in our faith…which means that entering our churches can be a moment of reflection, a moment of prayer, a moment of contemplation of the Eucharist, a moment just to speak with a priest and, of course, a moment of most significance should be reconciliation.

Confession is the most effective sign of God’s mercy. It’s not so much about my sin, it is more about God’s mercy and receiving an infusion of grace to help me overcome sin. This 24 hours is an invitation to encounter God’s mercy in prayer, the Eucharist and Confession. Because we are sinners, to experience God’s love is to receive mercy. To fully live out the Catholic faith is to acknowledge the necessity of our conversion and not fall into the illusion that we just need to be nice. On Ash Wednesday I gave ashes saying, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” Christ is calling each of us to change our life and believe in the Gospel. This change is conversion and the submission of our will to the Father, as Jesus did in Gethsemane. Modern life is dominated by an individualism that blurs the Lord’s calling us into unity as the Body of Christ. This dangerous lifestyle interprets the Bible and Church teaching individually contrary to more than 2,000 years of looking to the Church Fathers to understand the “deposit of faith” and the Church’s moral teaching. Living a life of individualism doesn’t satisfy the deepest longings of the human heart to be beloved of another and to share one’s love with God and others.

Please come to pray with Jesus after the 9:00 a.m. Mass, Friday, March 13 to 9:00 a.m. Saturday, March 14. We need at least two people, each hour, to say yes to Jesus’s plea: “Stay with me, pray with me, watch and pray.” Please arrange your hour with Jesus by calling Lisa at St. Mary’s Office. In Forks please talk to Mary Anne Earley and Fr. Peter to plan for a shorter time on March 13.

Your servant in Christ, Fr. Paul