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Traditional ’40 Hours Devotion’ starts April 3 – online

Pascal Deloche / GODONG

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 04/03/20

40 priests will take turns sharing their hour of adoration online through Facebook

Starting around the 16th century, there arose a custom of exposing a consecrated Host on the altar in a monstrance for all to adore for a period of 40 hours. Parishioners would take turns adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, dividing it up in individual hours. It began as a way to make reparation for the numerous offenses against God.

St. Philip Neri introduced the devotion in Rome around 1550 and did all that he could to promote it. St. Ignatius of Loyola also promoted the practice and the Jesuits brought it to Germany.

In a letter, Pope Clement VIII encouraged the spread of this devotion, writing: “We have determined to establish publicly in this Mother City of Rome an uninterrupted course of prayer in such ways that in the different churches, on appointed days, there be observed the pious and salutary devotion of the Forty Hours, with such an arrangement of churches and times that at every hour of the day and night, the whole year round the incense of prayer shall ascend without intermission before the face of the Lord.”

Among its chief promoters in the United States was St. John Neumann.

This devotion has been going strong for centuries, and not even the global pandemic is stopping it.


Read more:
The name of the stand used in Eucharistic adoration reminds us what is happening

Priests around the US, along with a few bishops, have organized a Virtual 40 Hours based on the traditional Catholic devotion.

Though the time of adoration is usually in a single parish, this time it will be virtual, with 40 bishops and priests in the United States and around the world having an hour of adoration and sharing it through a Facebook group from their own parishes.

The 40 Hours will start off with a Mass celebrated by Fr. Jonathan Meyer at 6 p.m. CST and continue until Benediction at 12 p.m. CST. Each hour of adoration will be live-streamed from a different church/chapel by a Bishop or priest. Some will pray certain devotions during the hour; some will have simply an hour of silent adoration.

Organizers explain: “Our goal is to beg our Eucharistic Lord to come to our assistance in this time of trial and need. We are beggars seeking His mercy. And He is the loving God begging for our hearts.”

Join in on the devotion by following the Facebook group.

Read more:
The haunting beauty of the “Black Hours” medieval prayer books

CoronavirusDevotions and Feasts
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