Tuesday, September 17, 2019

More About the Forty Hours Devotion




Dear Parishioners,

Beginning Sunday night (9/29/19) after the 6 PM Mass in St. Patrick Church, we will offer the opportunity for prayer and adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, commonly known as the Forty Hours Devotion.  This practice, which can be traced to Milan, Italy around the year 1530, is a formalized period of prayer and adoration centering on the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

Prior to this period in the Catholic Church’s history, there were times of exposition and benediction, Eucharistic processions and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the tabernacle.  However, both Saints Philip Neri and Ignatius of Loyola instituted the Forty Hours Devotion (with reference to Jesus’ 40 hours in the tomb and recalling other biblical citations in which the symbolic number 40 was specified) in reparation for sin.

Fr. William Saunders, whom I knew from my college seminary days, wrote a rather thorough article, “40 Hours with Jesus Christ,” originally for his diocesan paper (Arlington Catholic Herald) describing this devotion.  I quote from a part of it here:

While the Mass is the central act of worship for us Catholics, an act which participates in the eternal reality of our Lord's passion, death, and resurrection, Vatican Council II upheld and encouraged the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass.  Of course such devotion derives from the sacrifice of the Mass and moves the faithful to both sacramental and spiritual communion with our Lord (Eucharisticum Mysterium, #50). . . . Pope John Paul II has repeatedly "highly recommended" public and private devotion of the Blessed Sacrament, including processions on the Feast of Corpus Christi and the 40 Hours Devotion (cf. Dominicae Cenae, #3, and Inaestimabile Donum, #20-22).
It was the 4th Bishop of Philadelphia, St. John Neumann who was a strong promoter of this devotion in his diocese.  The practice would also spread to our area of New Jersey and beyond.

After considering this brief history lesson and the official encouragement by saints, popes and church documents, I really think that the essence of this devotion comes down to our belief—our deep faith—in Jesus’ Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist.  If Jesus is really there, why wouldn’t we want to spend time with Him in prayer?

I can simply relate to you from my own personal experience that spending time with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist has been for me my most fruitful times of prayer beyond comparison.  I love the Holy Eucharist in all of its dimensions—from offering the Mass to the reception of Holy Communion to adoring and worshiping Jesus’ Real Presence in the tabernacle / monstrance.  Jesus is present throughout—Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

Those that I know (and have known) who have prayed in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament have overwhelmingly come to appreciate what a most precious gift that we have.  The Mass is so much more meaningful.  The reading of the Sacred Scriptures becomes alive and motivating.  The inspiration and wisdom that comes from sitting at the feet of the Master is beyond price!

I invite you to come to Mass and to spend some time during these days—September 29th to October 1st—with our Eucharistic Lord.  Pleas sign up so that all the time slots are filled!  Our Lord deserves nothing less.  

Fr. Ed Namiotka
Pastor

  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

40 Hours of Eucharistic Adoration at Holy Angels



Dear Parishioners,

We near the feast day of Holy Angels Parish (September 29) which is normally the Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.  This year it falls on a Sunday.  Our parish will observe 40 Hours of Eucharistic Adoration from Sunday, September 29 to Tuesday, October 1.  Following the Sunday evening Mass at 6 PM at St. Patrick Church on September 29, the Blessed Sacrament will remain continually present on the altar for private prayer and adoration, except when a Mass is scheduled.  We will have an extra evening Mass at 7 PM on both September 30 and October 1 (in addition to our regular morning Masses at 6:45 and 9 AM).  The closing Mass on October 1 will also include a Eucharistic procession.

I truly believe that when we take the time to be with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, it is a time of tremendous blessing not only for us as individuals but also for our families and for our entire parish family.  I do not ever want us to take for granted the great gift of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.  Time spent with Him is a grace-filled time.  We can express our love and adoration for Jesus, thankfulness for our blessings, and contrition for sin (our own and the sins of others).  We can also intercede for one another and petition the Lord for our various needs.  It is an invaluable time to spend with Jesus, truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

When we come into the Lord’s presence, Jesus can do something to us.  We may think that we go to pray, to petition and to worship, or even that we are doing God a favor by spending some of our precious time with Him.  Our Lord Jesus, however, can transform us while we spend time with Him.  We do not need to worry about what prayers we should say, what spiritual readings we should be reading or what we should be doing in His Presence.  Just being with the Lord can be transforming.  He can soften our hearts, heal our wounds, inspire us and guide us.  He can give us an inner peace that nothing in this world can match.  Making the commitment to spend time with Him can truly transform us.

What I am requesting from you, my parishioners, is that you dedicate at least one hour sometime during these three days with the Lord in adoration.  (This should be in addition to any time attending Mass, when possible.)  This devotion will continue for two nights—around the clock—and I need your help and cooperation in order to do this.  Could you please think about dedicating an hour in prayer before the Most Blessed Sacrament?  Why not encourage members of your family to pray as a family for an hour?  Perhaps a group or organization within the parish can make a holy hour together (choir, Knights of Columbus, St. Vincent de Paul, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, etc.).  I especially need a few insomniacs or night owls to cover the late hours!  We are arranging to have added security at night.

Sign-up sheets are available at the doors of the churches and the worship center, and online so that we can be sure that there is always someone keeping watch with our Lord.  Please assist me in making this a special time for our parish as we adore our Eucharistic Lord.

Fr. Ed Namiotka
Pastor