By Todd Habiger
Eight institutions in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas kept their doors open to the faithful for 24 hours straight recently in answer to Pope Francis’ call to all Catholics to come encounter Jesus Christ through reflection, prayer and penance.
This 24 Hours for the Lord focused on the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, but offered so much more. Among the 24-hour offerings were the sacrament of reconciliation, Stations of the Cross, the chaplet of Divine Mercy, vespers, the rosary, reflections and prayer.
“I think the lasting effect of our 24 Hours for the Lord . . . will be that we will see every day of our lives as being 24 hours for the Lord,” said Msgr. Michael Mullen, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Kansas City, Kansas, in his homily the weekend of March 4-5. St. Patrick served as the Kansas City, Kansas, host church.
“We can look at every day — at home, at work, at school, in all our most ordinary activities — as being a time when we can be aware of God’s presence and offer all we do to him,” said Msgr. Mullen.
Archdiocesan liturgist Michael Podrebarac, who helped organize the 24 Hours for the Lord, said that he has heard nothing but good things about the experience.
“I spent the overnight hours in Emporia at the Didde Center, and there were several people there all night — some even came back after leaving for a break,” he said.
Podrebarac said pulling off a 24-hour event presented some challenges, such as making sure there was adequate security, having someone scheduled to pray before the Eucharist at all times, scheduling confessors and encouraging the host parishes to provide opportunities for communal prayer and devotion.
“I take my hat off to each host pastor and his respective preparation teams,” Podrebarac said. “Everybody really came through and did an excellent job.”
Podrebarac said many dioceses chose to host the 24 Hours for the Lord at their cathedral or special shrine.
“The fact that we had a church in each of the eight regions of the archdiocese committed to this speaks volumes about who we are and how we treat our faith,” he said.
“I know of no other diocese that scheduled as many churches as we did,” he said. “This is one of many reasons I am proud to call northeast Kansas home.”