Monday, June 08, 2009

40 Hours at Santa Maria Maggiore

Some of the NLM's Roman friends sent in this:

A half a millennium ago, the Church was in dire straits. Rent by internal division, She was pressed from all sides. Many of the major superpowers had turned away from Rome while others, though offering words of support, actively worked to the detriment of the Church.

Decimated by this age of change, the remaining faithful turned to prayer and a new devotion was born: the Forty Hours. This practice of uninterrupted prayer before the Blessed Sacrament recalls the forty hours Christ’s body lay in the tomb, the darkest hours of Christianity when traitors, hypocrites and murderers seemed to have won the day, while His few followers gathered for a period of intense prayer and vigil.

While it most likely originated in Milan, it was brought by St. Philip Neri to the church of Trinità dei Pelligrini in Rome, and the Quarantore soon spread throughout the Eternal City.

Today, in a world experiencing similar turmoil, the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Mary Major has taken the lead in reviving this devotion. For the fifth year running, starting Tuesday June 9, the Basilica will host Forty Hours of continuous prayer both day and night before the Blessed Sacrament in preparation for the feast of Corpus Christi.

The Quarantore will begin at 9:00am on June 9th, when Bernard Cardinal Law, the Archpriest of the Basilica, will celebrate the Mass of Exposition. At the end of the Mass, the entire diplomatic corps to the Holy See has been invited to pray to together for one hour before the Blessed Sacrament for world peace. On June 11, at the end of the Forty Hours, there will be a solemn benediction at 11:30.

That same evening the Holy Father will celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi at St. John Lateran and then lead the procession with the Blessed Sacrament to the basilica of St. Mary Major where he will impart a solemn blessing on the steps of the church.
All are invited to join in prayer at the Basilica including religious movements, confraternities, associations, colleges and all groups ecclesiastical or lay.

Just as she did over four hundred years ago, the Church desires peace. But no amount of diplomatic visits, formal treaties or flowery rhetoric will achieve this noble goal with out the intervention and aid of the Prince of Peace.

The program of events is as follows:

June 9
9:00am Mass of Exposition celebrated by Archpriest
10:00 -11:00 Reserved hour of adoration for the Diplomatic Core ( all are welcome) Rosary (Joyous Mysteries)
12:00 Hour of Sext
15:00 Rosary (Sorrowful Mysteries)
17:00 Vespers (in Italian)

June 10
6:00am Rosary (Joyful Mysteries)
7:30 Office of Readings
8:30 Lauds
11:00 Rosary (Luminous Mysteries)
12:30 Hour of Sext
15:00 Rosary (Sorrowful Mysteries)
17:00 Vespers (in Italian)

June 11
6:00am Rosary (Joyful Mysteries)
7:30 Office of Readings
8:30 Lauds
11:00 Hour of Sext
11:30 Solemn Benediction

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