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Catholic Voice
March 14, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 5   •   Oakland, CA
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Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, said the 24 hours was a time to reconnect with the Lord and one another.

A parable of forgiveness ends the '24 Hours for the Lord'

Monica Reynoso of St. Louis Bertrand Parish in Oakland, led a reflection on mercy and reconciliation, engaging the participants in a lively discussion of mercy and reconciliation, with special attention to the Parable of the Prodigal Son, which was the weekend's Gospel.

Musicians from St. Paul Parish in San Pablo opened the Spanish-language portion of the 24 Hours for the Lord at the Cathedral of Christ the Light on March 5. Earlier in the day, reflections, music and reconciliation were offered in Vietnamese, Tagalog and English.

The Cathedral of Christ the Light joined cathedrals around the world in answering Pope Francis' call to observe 24 Hours for the Lord March 4-5.

The additional time of prayer, Masses and the sacrament of reconciliation offered the opportunity for people to "explore the heart of the Year of Mercy, and reconnect with the Lord and with one another," Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, said in welcoming people to the 5:30 p.m. Vigil Mass March 5, which completed the 24 hours.

The bishop prefaced his homily with a word of thanks for those who had come to Mass "on this rainy and stormy night," as the early March storm raged outside. The rain, he reminded them, is "an answer to our prayers" after years of drought.

He noted the Parable of the Prodigal Son, which was the day's Gospel, was given by Jesus "in response to criticism and opposition."

He noted when Pope Francis proclaimed the Year of Mercy, "Satan and his disciples responded with opposition and violence."

"Four nuns — Missionaries of Charity — and their 12 helpers were executed in Yemen. They were there to perform corporal and spiritual works of mercy for the elderly."

The four Missionaries of Charity and their helpers were killed March 4 by uniformed gunmen, who entered the home the sisters operate for the elderly and disabled in Aden, Catholic News Service reported, in a country that has been experiencing a political crisis since 2011.

Although most Christians have fled the country, a handful of Salesian priests and about 20 Missionaries of Charity chose to stay and continue their ministry.

In the parable, the bishop said, the prodigal son "has hit rock bottom" after squandering the riches he had demanded from his father.

"His heart changes and he has a sense of contrition," the bishop said.

"The father runs to his son, he is so eager to forgive him."

The bishop said he would be "praying for the grace to forgive the terrorists who killed the lovely nuns of Mother Teresa and their helpers. Let's make sure the Parable of continues as long as we live."

(Catholic News Service contributed to this report.)

People think God is a taskmaster looking for payback in full. "This is not true. His love for us knows no limit," said Rev. Mark Wieisner, in a talk opening the 24 Hours of Mercy at the Cathedral of Christ the Light the night of March 4. "God wants a love relationship with us. If God wanted a power relationship with us, He wouldn't have come and washed our feet," Father Wiesner said. The diocese answered Pope Francis' call for "24 Hours for the Lord" with music, talks, Eucharistic Adoration, meditations and the Sacrament of Confession in a marathon March 4-5 at The Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland. After cathedral Rector Rev. Jay Matthews opened the event and music by the choir of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Father Wiesner opened the 24-hours program. People lined up for Confessions and there was a program designed for young adults, including Eucharistic Adoration, prayer, praise, worship and a reflection on forgiveness, presented by Steven Lewis, coordinator of young adult ministry and evangelization for the diocese. Members of the new Sant'Egidio community at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Berkeley led the prayers.

El Sobrante

24 hours before the Lord

Having an Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for 24 continuous hours is a very special devotion Pope Francis has encouraged in connection with the Jubilee Year of Mercy.In this adoration we spend time with Jesus, remembering the passion and death he went through because of our sins, once again seek the Lord's forgiveness of our sins and receive his mercy. All are welcome at St. Callistus Parish in El Sobrante for a 24 Hours Before the Lord Adoration, starting at 7 p.m. March 17 and concluding the next evening, with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 7 p.m. St. Callistus Church is at 3580 San Pablo Dam Road, El Sobrante.

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