‘Confession drive’ at Norfolk Catholic churches
People across the Diocese of East Anglia took part in a worldwide ‘Confession drive’ over the weekend initiated by Pope Francis, as an integral part of his Jubilee Year of Mercy celebrations.
‘24 hours for the Lord’ ran from Friday 4 to Saturday 5 March and saw teams of Catholic priests available in a handful of churches across East Anglia to dispense the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also called Confession, for the whole 24 hours. Every parish across the Diocese also had opportunities for confession for part of the 24-hour period. Across the world, millions were expected to visit churches for prayer and to receive the Sacrament.
In his Message for Lent 2016, Pope Francis, wrote: “By calling for an attentive listening to the word of God and encouraging the initiative ‘24 Hours for the Lord’, I sought to stress the primacy of prayerful listening to God’s word, especially his prophetic word. The mercy of God is a proclamation made to the world, a proclamation which each Christian is called to experience at first hand.” He added: ‘Mercy “expresses God’s way of reaching out to the sinner, offering him a new chance to look at himself, convert, and believe,” thus restoring his relationship with him. In Jesus crucified, God shows his desire to draw near to sinners, however far they may have strayed from him.’
Across the Diocese of East Anglia, all night vigils and the opportunity for confession was available for the 24 hours at the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Norwich, Our Lady of the Annunciation in King’s Lynn, St Philip Howard’s in Cambridge, St Pancras in Ipswich and St Peter and All Souls in Peterborough.
Fr Michael Collis, at the Cathedral in Norwich, said: “We had priests available for confession and there was private prayer throughout the day. During the night hours the Syro Malabar Indian community led a vigil of prayer. There was also celebration of Masses throughout the day and the Stations of the Cross Devotion.”
Pictured above is a ‘confessions now on’ sign at Norwich RC Cathedral.