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40 Hours Devotion




SUNDAY, MARCH 3 - after our 10:00 AM Mass

MONDAY, MARCH 4 - after our 6:45 AM Mass

TUESDAY, MARCH 5 - after our 6:45 AM Mass

*Note: Each day we will repose the Blessed Sacrament at 4:00 PM.*


We invite you to join us for these three days of prayer in preparation for the holy season of Lent and to console our Lord and make reparation for the sins and indifference which wound His Sacred Heart.  Stop in for some time of prayer before our Eucharistic Lord, exposed in the Blessed Sacrament on our altar to give honor to the true and eternal King of kings.

Carmelite Nuns have had a long standing tradition of the 40 hours devotion. In France, 40 hours usually took place the three days before Ash Wednesday, Mardi Gras time. Here is a little history about this devotion taken from an article by Fr. William Sauders:


"The Forty Hours Devotion is a special 40-hour period of continuous prayer made before the Blessed Sacrament in solemn exposition. Of course, the focus of this devotion is on the Holy Eucharist. As Catholics, the words of our Lord burn in our hearts: "I myself am the living bread come down from Heaven. If anyone eats this bread, He shall live forever; the bread I will give is my flesh for the life of the world" (Jn 6:51).

Affirming our belief in the real presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, the Vatican Council II taught that the Holy Eucharist is 'the source and summit of the Christian life' ('Lumen Gentium,' No. 11). 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,' No. 50). As Pope Pius XII taught in 'Mediator Dei,' 'This practice of adoration has a valid and firm foundation.' Our late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, had 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 Cecae,' No. 3, 'Inaestimabile Donum,' No. 20-22, and 'Ecclesia de Eucharistia,'No. 25).

Second, the number 40 has always signified a sacred period of time: the rains during the time of Noah lasted 40 days and nights; the Jews wandered through the desert for 40 years, our Lord fasted and prayed for 40 days before beginning His public ministry. The Forty Hours Devotion remembers that traditional "40-hour period" from our Lord's burial until the resurrection. Actually in the Middle Ages, the Blessed Sacrament was transferred to the repository, "the Easter Sepulcher," for this period of time to signify our Lord's time in the tomb.

The Forty Hours Devotion begins with a Solemn Mass of Exposition, which concludes with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. . . . The Blessed Sacrament remains on the altar in a monstrance. During the next 40 hours, the faithful gather for personal or public prayer in adoration of our Lord. The Blessed Sacrament is reposed in the tabernacle for the daily Mass, and then returned for exposition after Mass. At the end of the devotions, the Mass of Reposition is offered, again concluding with a procession, benediction and final reposition of the Blessed Sacrament. While the 40-hour period should be continuous, some Churches break up the time, reposing the Blessed Sacrament at night because of security reasons.

While the Forty Hours Devotion nurtures the love of the faithful for our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, three special dimensions have also surrounded this devotion: the protection from evil and temptation; reparation for our own sins and for the poor souls in purgatory; and deliverance from political, material or spiritual calamities. Here the faithful implore our Lord to pour forth His abundant graces not only for themselves, but their neighbors, not only for their own personal needs, but for those of the world. Such practices are evidenced in the history of this devotion, which we shall explore next.

Having explored the spiritual dimension of the Forty Hours Devotion, a greater appreciation for this spiritual exercise is found through knowing its history. The practice of Forty Hours Devotion originated in Milan about the year 1530. By 1550, both St. Philip Neri and St. Ignatius Loyola had also instituted this practice, especially for the reparation of sin. Recognizing the tremendous graces offered through this devotion as well as the dangers threatening the Church, Pope Clement VIII in his letter Graves et diuturnae (November 25, 1592) proclaimed,  '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.' 

In our own country, St. John Neumann (1811-60), the fourth bishop of Philadelphia, was a strong promoter of the Forty Hours Devotion. While the practice had already existed in individual churches throughout the city (as well as in other places in the country), no organized, cohesive diocesan schedule for it had ever before been attempted. St. John had an tremendous devotion to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and desired to foster such a spiritual life in his people.

The Forty Hours Devotion provides a wonderful opportunity for the spiritual growth of each person. . . . In a world where temptation and evil abound, where devotion to the Mass and our Lord in the Holy Eucharist have declined, where the practice of penance and confession have been forgotten, we need the Forty Hours Devotion more than ever."