SAVE THE LITURGY – SAVE THE WORLD: We need a strong revival of the Forty Hours Devotion and we need it NOW.

For years I’ve contended that we need a strong revival of the Forty Hours Devotion.

Forty Hours Devotion developed in time of necessity.  It is not a kind of long Corpus Christi.  It is not a long Holy Thursday.

It grew up to beg God for relief and protection from plague and invasion and other calamities.   It is a mighty public supplication to the Eucharistic Lord in time of trial.

Plague… invasion and calamities.  Sound familiar?

I was sent this video of Forty Hours at the mighty Brompton Oratory.   I sure miss that place and visits to London.

Once, dioceses had Forty Hours going on somewhere every week.   The year’s schedule for the churches where Forty Hours would be was even published in secular papers.   The clergy would invite each other to participate and priests would come to pray and then to spend time together afterwards… serious and good clericalism!  The final Mass was, under the Clementine Instruction about Forty Hours, is celebrated coram Sanctissimo!


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  1. My diocese (Fall River) has a monthly 40-hour devotion scheduled on the second Friday of each month. During the 40 hours, exposition and adoration rotates through a number of parishes and shrines, so that, during the 40 hour period, somewhere in the diocese, He is exposed and available for adoration. It was probably easier when every church had a pastor and 3 or 4 parochial vicars to support the effort in one place, and while probably not the ideal, is not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    Full disclosure: St. Anne Shrine was invited to be one of the stops, and we’re humbled that we were asked to participate.

  2. ocsousn says:

    Some of my fondest religious memories of childhood and the minor seminary are of Forty Hours. You had the sense of the whole parish along with many priests and faithful from neighboring parishes involved in one great tsunami of adoration and petition. In the seminary we always had 40 Hrs. on the traditional three days before Ash Wednesday. According to the official points of morning meditation read out the evening before we were, among other things, supposed to make reparation for the “excesses of Shrovetide”, (I recall scurrying to the library on the way to the dormitory to look up Shrovetide. Ah, Mardi Gras! ) These days I think 40 Hrs. has lost allot of its bang because, since the reign of St. JPII, prolonged adoration and perpetual adoration chapels have greatly multiplied in parishes, seminaries and religious communities.

  3. Son of Saint Alphonsus says:

    Redemptorists were once known for the splendor of 40 Hours in their parishes and churches. It was the best three days of the seminary year after the Triduum. Then it all came crashing down. We were taught Sacred Liturgy at the WTU by one Theresa Koernke, IHM, who told us “if you go to a parish with Eucharistic adoration end it immediately. If it’s not there, don’t start it. We don’t do that anymore.” And perpetual adoration—oh the horrors! First thing I did in my first parish was restore monthly adoration and the Corpus Christi procession through the neighborhood.

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