Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Mumbai's Catholic community has responded to Pope Francis' call for this Lent by organising '24 hours for the Lord' starting on Friday at the Cathedral of the Holy Name, seat of the Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias.
"I asked the priests of the whole archdiocese," the prelate told AsiaNews, "to keep the churches open, to ask for God's tender mercies, to emphasise the need for prayer and contemplation of the Eucharist, and to pray for the mission of the Church in India, Asia and around the world."
"The day will start at 7.30 pm (local time) with the sacrament of reconciliation. The next day, at lunchtime, the archbishop will celebrate Mass, and then lead the Eucharistic adoration and the sacrament of reconciliation. This will end with the Eucharist at 7.30 pm.
What follows is Cardinal Gracias' reflection, sent to AsiaNews, about the meaning of the '24 hours for the Lord'.
This is an opportune time to reflect and pray, asking God for Mercy, for ourselves and to show his mercy to others. It is also a time for us to reconcile ourselves to the Lord, to get peace in our own hearts - All included in His Mercy, God excludes no one, as is the theme: 'GOD RICH IN MERCY'.
Pope Francis said that God never tires of us asking for forgiveness. We must also encourage people to experience the Graces of the sacrament of reconciliation.
The 24 hours for the Lord is a Time of Grace, a gift of 24 hours for reflection and prayer, to forgive and be forgiven. These are precious moments when we pray in solidarity for the suffering because of their faith; here in India and around the world, we pray for peace in those [suffering] areas.
The 24 Hours for the Lord also means putting in practice Pope Francis' Lenten message, which speaks out against the 'globalisation of indifference'.
We pray that, moved by the Grace of conversion, our hearts may respond to the merciful love of God who loved us first, so that we may, with renewed zeal, go more generously to the aid of our needy neighbours: the poor, the lonely, the sick, the elderly, orphans and widows, the disabled and all those who are abandoned, the destitute and those living on the edges of society, suffering marginalisation and discrimination.
We pray that these 24 hours for the Lord will give us the Grace to overcome the 'globalisation of indifference' and become visible instruments of his love.
During these 24 hours for the Lord, we intercede with the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of Mercy, to be renewed by his love, and show his mercy to others.
(Nirmala Carvalho contributed to this article)