Hello everyone. I hope you’re having a good start to your week. I hope to see you tomorrow for one of our Ash Wednesday Masses, either at 9:00 AM or 7:00 PM.
Today, I am writing with more information on the event with the Archbishop on March 19th at 4:00 PM. Again, please plan to attend as we welcome our shepherd to our parish for the first time and as we have the opportunity to hear him preach. We will have a reception of appetizers at the school afterwards too, hosted by the CCW.
If you’re wondering what the “Forty Hours Devotion” is generally, you can see my posts here and here. I will also be sharing more information in the days ahead. Today, I want to focus on the final activity of the Forty Hours, which is evening prayer with the Archbishop and what you can expect.
First, we will have programs for everyone to follow along, as we know this will be new to almost everyone. You can simply sing along with the choir and follow along in your programs, but I thought it might be helpful to give you a visual picture of what will happen. At 4:00, the clergy will process to the front pews and sanctuary to an opening hymn sung by the choir and the people. The choir has already begun practicing for this, and I’m grateful for their work and for Anne Pribyl’s work in coordinating the music. We are looking forward to having the school children from Saint Timothy’s sing as well. There will be over twenty visiting priests attending this closing evening prayer. It is traditionally a time for us to come together as priests and laity alike to celebrate and adore and honor the Lord’s presence in the Eucharist. Most of the priests from the parishes in our area will be present as well as some from the Twin Cities or beyond.
After the opening hymn, we will begin evening prayer. There are formal prayers that the Church has designated for each part of our day. There is morning prayer, midday prayer, evening prayer, night prayer, and more. These prayers are said throughout the world. They are required to be said by bishops, priests, deacons, and consecrated men and women, and they are encouraged for the laity. For evening prayer, we will chant three different psalms, along with the choir. Traditionally, for many centuries, each side of the church alternates singing each stanza, or “paragraph”, of the psalm. Again, this will be made clear in the programs and by the choir. If you are confused, you can simply follow along.
A reading from Scripture is read and then the Archbishop will preach a homily. There will be additional prayers and hymns, which you will see in your program, followed by a procession with the Eucharist in the church. The Eucharist is processed, in the monstrance, around the church with the clergy. It is an expression of our faith, as clergy and laity, in Jesus’ presence and our desire to bring the love and presence and Gospel of Christ to all the world.
After the procession, we will have the traditional prayers for Benediction, which is when Jesus confers a blessing on the people assembled in his Eucharistic presence. After Benediction, the Eucharist will be placed back in the chapel, and there will be a final hymn. Again, all will then be welcome to attend a reception over at the school immediately following the prayers, hosted by the CCW.
There will be a program that will contain all of the songs, psalms, and order of activities, so you can simply show up and pray. For those who wanted to have some idea of what will happen, though, that is what you can expect. It should be a wonderful opportunity to see our Archbishop, pray with the Eucharist, be musically uplifted, and express our faith in the Eucharist in the season of Lent.
We hope to see you there.