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Catholics prepare to take part in world-wide ‘Confession drive’

Pope Francis hears a Confession during a penitential liturgy in St Peter's Basilica (CNS)

People across England and Wales will participate in a worldwide ‘Confession drive’ this weekend that has been initiated by Pope Francis, as an integral part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy celebrations.

’24 hours for the Lord’ will run from March 4-5 and will see teams of Catholic priests available in cathedrals, and in some local churches in England and Wales, to hear Confession. Similar gatherings will take place on every continent, with millions expected to visit churches for prayer and to receive the Sacrament.

Among the participating Churches in England and Wales is Christ the King Church in the centre of Plymouth. Bishop Mark O’Toole of Plymouth, who is also the co-ordinating bishop for the work of Catholic evangelisation nationally, said Confession is “an amazing gift of God, a channel of Grace and mercy, through which we are made whole again, reconciled with God and with others.”

He added: “Confession continues to be a priceless treasure in my own life, and I hope every Catholic can avail of its gift more deeply. This weekend, there is no reason to be afraid. Come. God loves you unconditionally and the priest is there simply to be a channel of Jesus’s mercy.”

Pope Francis will preside at a penitential service in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome on Friday.

In his Message for Lent 2016, the Pontiff 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.”