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SANDAKAN – St Mary’s Cathedral responded to the Pontiff’s call to open its door for a 24-hour for Jesus in prayer, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacrament of Reconciliation on 4-5 March 2016.
As part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has decreed that dioceses around the world hold 24-hour Adoration and Confession on Friday Mar 4 and Saturday Mar 5 preceding the fourth week of Lent.
The “24-hour for the Lord” commenced right after the Stations of the Cross, with Eucharistic celebration at 6.00 pm on Friday, Mar 4 and ended next day at 6.00 pm, Saturday Mar 5 with Sunset Mass.
In the Opening Mass, Bishop Julius Gitom shared that it is the Holy Father’s wish that in every part of the world, the merciful, forgiving presence of Jesus be manifested during this 24-hour period through Eucharistic Adoration and the Sacrament of Penance.
The prelate stressed that this event would be an opportunity for all to reflect on one’s relationship with the Lord especially during this Year of Mercy. In response to the Gospel reading, the prelate shared that the Lord is clearly calling all to come back to Him.
He said, “There is a need of conversion by loving God with all our heart, mind, strength and soul. If we want to experience the mercy of love deeper, then we must accept first God’s mercy in our heart. The first commandment is to love God, but loving God is not enough if it is not reflected in our action towards others, especially those who are in need, which is in accordance to the second commandment.”
The bishop reiterated that reaching out to others is a form of loving our neighbour and should be practised in daily life. He hoped that this Year of Mercy would be truly manifested in daily life and in the church. He encouraged all to make time with the Lord in this 24 hours for the Lord in the cathedral. The Parish Liturgical Committee had assigned an hour each to the various ministries, communities and groups in the parish. – Dalius LL