Pope Francis invited parishes all around the world to open their doors for 2 hours on March 24-25 this year so that the faithful could encounter Jesus in the sacrament of Reconciliation and in eucharistic adoration.

The theme for this year’s initiative was “I desire mercy”, taken from Matthew 9:13. Parishes from all over the world joined in, using the hashtag #24HoursfortheLord to share the event on social media.

Young people at the Hamilton 24 hours for the Lord.
Young people at the Hamilton 24 hours for the Lord.

The Catholic chaplaincy (Waicath) at the University of Waikato in conjunction with the Catholic Youth Office decided to hold 24 Hours for the Lord on campus at the Lady Goodfellow Chapel.

The chaplain, Fr Andrew Paris, commented: “This was a wonderful opportunity for students at Waikato University to spend time in eucharistic adoration and to go to Confession”.

There was a steady flow of people all through the night, with confessions taking place from 9.30pm to 1:00am.

Refreshments were available throughout the night to keep up energy levels of participants, and some of those who stayed the whole night opted to take a quick nap in their car!

Clare Devine, a student at the university, said that she was very moved by the atmosphere of prayer in the chapel.

“I feel like the prayers we offered that night were more powerful because they were united with other Catholics all over the world, [including] the Holy Father,” she said.

The vigil concluded with Benediction and the celebration of Mass at 7.00am, followed by waffles for breakfast, which were much appreciated by all.

The chaplaincy hopes to run this event every year. For more information on Waicath, visit their Facebook page or www.waicath.org.

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