St Philip Neri was instrumental in introducing the Forty Hours’ Devotion to Rome in the sixteenth century. This tradition remains vital to the Oratorian charism today.
The Forty Hours’ Devotion, sometimes known by its Italian name, Quarant’ore, involves the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on the throne above the High Altar for forty hours. This is reflective of the forty hours Our Lord spent in the tomb.
This year we celebrated this devotion for the second time in York, beginning with a Solemn Mass of exposition on the feast of the Sacred Heart. After this, our church was open all through the night, with a good number of people coming to pray and adore in silence.
The Divine Office was celebrated during the weekend, along with the usual Masses for peace and in honour of the Blessed Sacrament. We processed around and outside of the church with the candles and flowers, showing our love for our Eucharistic Lord.
While we keep the Forty Hours but once a year, it reminds us of our constant connection with the Lord through his sacramental presence, and of his invitation for us to “Come and see”.