PRINCE ALBERT — On March 13 - 14, Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish in Prince Albert hosted a 24-hour event in response to the request by the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization.
The parish began the experience with eucharistic adoration on March 13 at 8:30 a.m. and ended the event with a eucharistic celebration celebrated by Bishop Albert Thevenot, M. Afr., following this year’s lenten theme, “God is rich in mercy.”
In a letter from Pope Francis for Lent 2015 entitled, “Make your hearts firm,” he asked, “What can we do to avoid being caught up in this spiral of distress and powerlessness?” Three things he suggests are to pray in communion with the church on earth and in heaven, do acts of charity, and humbly implore God’s grace and accept our own limitations.
A pontifical council at the Vatican has been created for the promotion of the new evangelization. Pope Francis has entrusted this group with the organization of the Jubilee of Mercy. In St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis announced March 13 the celebration of an “extraordinary Holy Year.” This Jubilee of Mercy will commence with the opening of the Holy Door in St. Peter’s on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 2015, and will conclude Nov. 20, 2016, with the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
Locally, diocesan vice-chancellor and pastor of Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish in Prince Albert, Rev. Michael Fahlman, approached his parishioners about hosting this first deanery initiative, and they were excited about the prospect. On a trial basis, the parish had recently begun overnight adoration. Parishioners viewed inviting other parishes to participate as the next step in expanding their outreach.
“Pope Francis is asking parishes all over the world to participate in adoration and our parish was very enthusiastic,” said Fahlman.
A core team of parishioners signed up for times they were available. Throughout the night, safety precautions were kept as the door was unlocked as others arrived.
On March 14, organizers ended the event at 3:00 p.m., the hour of Divine Mercy, following Pope Francis’ theme for the year, “God is rich in mercy.”
“Since we’re also a Polish parish, and Divine Mercy is said to have originated in Poland with Sister Faustina, we thought that was a special connection.”
Fahlman felt the first year was very successful and he hopes it will continue as an annual event.
“Mercy seems to be something that is on Pope Francis’ heart, and we, all Catholic men and women of goodwill, are invited to partake in God’s mercy because it’s a wonderful gift that God offers us,” said Fahlman.
There was a good response from parishes and priests in the deanery. A number of priests dropped by, even one at 3:00 a.m.
Followup within their parish will continue with adoration being held every Thursday evening.