Following up on my post yesterday, I will begin sharing more information in the days and weeks ahead about our special forty hours devotion on the weekend of March 17th-March 19th. As I said yesterday, we will have Living Stations of the Cross with our school children at 7:00 PM. Following the Living Stations, we will have a light reception in the church basement, hosted by the parish advisory council who is doing much of the planning and work on this weekend behind the scenes.
At 8:00 PM, we will begin our Forty Hours Devotion with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. This will kick off forty consecutive hours of adoration in the main church that weekend, taking a break for the weekend Masses. There will be more information to come soon and a full schedule. Again, please mark your calendars in a special way to pray this weekend during the season of Lent.
On March 17th, we will move the Blessed Sacrament from the chapel to the main church. First, for those who might not be familiar with adoration, we typically have the Eucharist, which is the body of Christ, present and visible in the adoration chapel, for people to stop by and pray and spend time with him and adore him. Since we know by faith that Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist, it is as if you are present right there with Jesus in the same way that the disciples were present with Jesus in the Gospels. We experience great peace, strength, mercy, grace, and power in being present and listening to Jesus in this way and speaking to him, heart to heart. There is nothing quite like being in the physical, visible presence of Jesus himself, and it one of those things that we need to experience to appreciate and understand. While Jesus is usually present in the chapel, during these forty hours, we will move the Eucharist to the main church as a special way to honor and celebrate the Lord’s presence.
Once we move the Eucharist into the church at 8:00, we will incense the Blessed Sacrament and sing the traditional Eucharistic hymn “O Salutaris”. Incense was always used in the Scriptures during the prayers and sacrificial offerings. Francincense was one of the gifts that was given to Jesus at his birth. We will kneel before Jesus and the presider will incense the Eucharist, present in the monstrance, which is the ornate holder of Jesus in the Eucharist. We have the monstrance around the Eucharist to highlight the fact that this is truly Jesus here and we want to give him a fitting throne. It also helps to focus our attention on the host that it contains. While I know many of you have seen it before, below is a picture of our monstrance with the Eucharist in the center.
After we incense the Eucharist, we will read from Scripture. Following the reading from Scripture, we are blessed to have with us Msgr. Aloysius Callaghan to preach the opening of forty hours. Many of you may recognize him. He is the rector of the Saint Paul Seminary at the University of Saint Thomas. He has served for twelve years there. Before then, he worked as the vicar general for the Archdiocese of Military Services. He served in Rome for the Congregation for Religious and then the Congregation for Bishops. Msgr. Callaghan studied at the Roman Seminary in Rome and earned a doctorate in Canon Law from the Lateran University. He will share with us some spiritual wisdom and insights as we continue our Lenten season and begin our forty hours of adoration with the Lord. After Msgr. Callaghan speaks, there will be time for silent adoration and prayer with the Lord before our next prayer opportunity at 9:00 PM.
Throughout the weekend, we will have printed guides and pamphlets to help explain adoration and what to do and suggested prayers that you can say during the quiet time, along with all of the words that you need to follow along and pray during these times.
While I hope you are able to attend as many prayer opportunities as possible throughout this weekend, it would be great to have an especially great beginning and end to our forty hours. We look forward to having Msgr. Callaghan begin the devotion on Friday at 8:00 PM and having Archbishop Hebda close it for us on Sunday, March 19th at 4:00 PM. We hope to see you there.