The Cathedral of Saint Thomas More News:

40 Hours Adoration – June 20 – 22, 2019

On June 20, we will begin our 40 Hours Adoration in preparation for our parish patronal feast, the Feast of St. Thomas More on June 22. The Eucharist will be exposed on the altar beginning after the 12:05 pm Mass on Thursday, June 20 for Adoration continuously until Saturday, June 22 at 5:30 pm.  The schedule of events and speakers are listed below.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

12:05 PM             Mass with Bishop Michael Burbidge, followed by Exposition

7:00 PM               Solemn Vespers with Meditation by Fr. Joe Ruisanchez

7:00—8:30 PM  Confession

7:50 PM               Benediction, Adoration continues

Friday, June 21, 2019

6:45 AM               Reposition

7:00 AM               Mass with Exposition

11:45 AM            Reposition

12:05 PM             Mass with Exposition

7:00 PM               Mass for the Vigil of St. Thomas More, Celebrant and Homilist Fr. Paul D. Scalia, Followed by Exposition

7:00 – 8:30 PM   Confession

8:00 PM               Adoration continues

Saturday, June 22, 2019

8:45 AM               Reposition

9:00 AM               Mass, with Exposition

4:45 PM               Vespers

5:00 PM               Benediction

5:30 PM               Closing Mass, Vigil of Corpus Christi with Fr. Nicholas Blank

6:30 PM               Dinner Celebration and First Blessing from Fr. Nicholas Blank.

What is the Forty Hours Adoration?

The Forty Hours Adoration is an opportunity to gather as a community before the Blessed Sacrament and to pray before the Lord in solemn adoration. It gives us time to deepen our appreciation of the importance of the mystery of the Eucharist in our lives. Traditionally it begins with a celebration of Mass. At the end of this opening Mass the Blessed Sacrament is exposed and over a period of a few days the faithful are given the opportunity to assemble in prayer before the exposed Blessed Sacrament. The celebration then will end with the celebration of Mass.

Why is the Cathedral undertaking 40 Hour Adoration?

The Cathedral of St. Thomas More parish community will celebrate forty hours of continuous Eucharistic Adoration, in thanksgiving for the many blessings the Lord has bestowed on us and praying for His mission of love and mercy to be advanced even further.

What is the history of the Forty Hours Adoration?

No one knows  exactly when 40 Hours Devotion actually began.  However, historical consensus supports its origin in the 16th century in Milan, Italy.  St. Anthony Zaccaria and St. Philip Neri are credited with promoting 40 Hours Devotion there in 1530.  In 1539, Pope Paul III was asked to and did approve an indulgence (a partial remission of the temporal punishment for sins) for those individuals who participated in the Devotion.  By 1550, St. Philip Neri and St. Ignatius Loyola were instituting 40 Hours Devotion in Rome.

In 1560, Pope Paul IV issued a Papal Bull or decree supporting the 40 Hour Devotion; the practice at the time was for the Devotion to be scheduled at all the different churches throughout a diocese so that the devotions were taking place continuously on a scheduled and rotating basis.  In 1592, Pope Clement VIII formalized this process in a letter entitled Graves et Diuturnae.  He also issued regulations for the devotions.  In 1705, Pope Clement XI collected these regulations and officially issued them to the Church in a document entitled ‘Instructio Clementia’.

During the first 80 years of the existence of the United States, the practice of 40 Hours Devotion took place only in some parishes in some dioceses.  However, that was changed by St. John Neumann.  In 1852, St. John was consecrated Bishop of Philadelphia.  St. John introduced the practice of 40 Hours Devotion at his first diocesan synod in 1853.  The first instance of the practice took place at St. Philip Neri Parish and then soon introduced the program throughout his diocese.  The practice of 40 Hours Devotion was so successful in the Diocese of Philadelphia that it spread quickly to many other dioceses.  In fact, at the Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1866, the 40 Hours Devotion was approved for all dioceses in the United States.

Why do we use a period of 40 semi-continuous hours? Why not 20 or 30 or 50 hours?

The number 40 has historically, since very ancient times, signified a ‘sacred’ period of time. The rain during the time of Moses lasted 40 days and nights; the Jews wandered in the desert for 40 years before reaching the Promised Land; Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days before beginning his public ministry; we observe Lent for 40 days; we also remember that traditional ’40 hour period’ from our Lord’s burial until his resurrection.

How can I sign up?

The goal is to have the church open all night and all day for 40 continuous hours, but this goal can be met only if safety and security needs are met to protect the church and any faithful making a visit.  At least two adults must be present at every hour, and between the hours of 10:00 pm to 6:00 am there must be 4 adult adorers present.  Parishioners sign up on the our website or call the rectory (703) 525-1300 to commit themselves for an hour, never leaving Jesus unattended.

Do we receive an indulgence for participating in the 40 hour Adoration?

A plenary indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who on the occasion of a mission have heard some of the sermons and are present for its solemn conclusion.

Portions of these answers come from an article by Rev. William Saunders, entitled ‘40 Hours with Jesus Christ’ published in the Arlington Catholic Herald.