St. Bernard Parish
547 Elm Street
Rockport, IN 47635

40 Hours Devotions to be held at St. Martin I & St. Bernard Parishes

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed. But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary remained sitting there, facing the tomb (Mt 27:57-61).

The stone is rolled into place and the tomb is made dark. The lifeless body of our Lord, Jesus, lay in the darkness of the tomb. But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary remained sitting there, facing the tomb. We do the same. That is the Forty Hours Devotion.

The Forty Hours Devotion celebrates the 40-hours Jesus was entombed. It is a period of continuous prayer made before the Blessed Sacrament in solemn exposition. It begins with a Solemn Mass of Exposition, which concludes with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and a procession. The Blessed Sacrament remains on the altar in a monstrance. During these 40 hours, the faithful gather for personal or public prayer in adoration of our Lord. 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.

The Forty Hours Devotion is an expression of our love for the 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. The faithful ask the Lord to pour forth His abundant graces not only for themselves, but their neighbors, and not only for their own personal needs, but for those of the whole world.

“The Forty Hours Devotion provides a wonderful opportunity for the spiritual growth of each person and the parish as a whole. 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” (Fr. William Saunders).

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow. The guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men. Then the angel said to the women in reply, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay (Mt 28:1-6).

The time you spend before the Lord in the Forty Hours Devotion is a sincere act of love. We attend Mass on weekends to fulfill our obligation and to observe the Commandment to keep holy the Sabbath. Yet, how often do we present ourselves before the Lord without obligation? There is no reason to attend the Forty Hours Devotion except to make a sincere and free expression of our love for Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died for our sins. Here is an opportunity to demonstrate our desire to receive the gift of eternal life and make ourselves worthy of the promises of Christ.

As a celebration of the closing of the Year of Faith, the cluster parishes of St. Martin I and St. Bernard will be celebrating 40 Hours Devotion.  Beginning at 6:00 pm on Thursday, November 7th and continuing for 40 hours until the Mass of Reposition at 5:00 pm on Saturday, November 9th, all are invited to spend time, both alone and together with others, in prayer to Our Lord Jesus Christ, present in the Eucharist.  After Reposition, parishioners from both parishes will gather in the St. Bernard School gym for dinner and celebration.  Everyone is invited to join us for these 40 Hours.  You need not be a parishioner of St. Martin or St. Bernard to attend.


St. Bernard Parish • 547 Elm Street • Rockport, IN 47635 • 812-649-4811
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