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THE REAL PRESENCE The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST

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Benedictions and Holy Hours

"Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

(Mark 14:37-38)

One way to increase devotion to Jesus is to promote and attend Benedictions and Holy Hours. Jesus is very much neglected in the tabernacles around the world. Many people do not even believe in his Real Presence. During Benediction and/or Holy Hours we can show our love for him as we offer up our prayers and meditate on Him. Some people may say: "Why do we need to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and offer prayers?" The answer is: "Look at the world today. Look what happens when we try to serve ourselves and not God. Through this page, we encourage you to attend Benedictions and/or Holy Hours. If these are not offered in your vicinity, we are providing the tools to help you institute these hours in your own or a nearby parish.


Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
A Eucharistic devotion in the Catholic Church of the Latin Rite. In its traditional form, a priest, vested in surplice, stole, and cope, places on the altar or in the niche above it the consecrated Host in the ostensorium, or monstrance, and then incenses it. O Salutaris Hostia or similar hymn is usually sung at the beginning of exposition, followed by a period of meditation, praise, and adoration by priest and people. At the conclusion of the ceremony the Tantum Ergo hymn is chanted, with another incensation, and followed by blessing the people with the raised monstrance in the form of a cross. During the blessing the priest wears the humeral veil covering his hands. A small bell is rung during the blessing. The Divine Praises are then sung or recited by priest and people, and the Blessed Sacrament is reposed in the tabernacle. Benediction is commonly held on major feasts and Sundays, also during Lent, during a mission, or retreat or during forty hours' devotions. Other days may be designated by individual bishops. Since the Second Vatican Council the Holy See has simplified the traditional ritual, allowing for a variety of options in the prayers, songs, and readings "to direct the attention of the faithful to the worship of Christ the Lord" (Eucharistiae Sacramentum, 1973, No. 95).
Holy Hour
A pious devotional exercise consisting of mental and vocal prayer with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. It draws its inspiration from Christ's words to the Apostles in Gethsemane: "Can you not watch one hour with me?" It was taught by the Savior to St. Margaret Mary (1647-90) as one of the special practices of the Sacred Heart devotion. In the early nineteenth century a confraternity was founded at Paray-le-Monial, France to spread the devotion, which has been highly recommended by the popes. If the hour is made publicly it is designated by a priest or the director, if made privately, any hour is suitable but preferably Thursday or Friday evening. The Passion of Christ is the theme during the hour, variously divided into meditation, vocal prayer, and singing. Many religious communities include the devotion as part of the horarium of their day.

* Definitions taken from "Pocket Catholic Dictionary", Image Books, John A. Hardon, S.J., ©1980.

Benediction and Holy Hour Programs

Following are programs that you can print out and give to your pastor to use for Benedictions and Holy Hours. In order to have one of these services a program is needed for the priest and parishioners to follow. Some priests may neglect these services because of not having a format to follow. We hope these formats will help in increasing worship to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament in your parish!


* Rite of Eucharistic Devotion - Taken from "The Seasonal Missalette". These are the absolute basics that are needed for Benediction.

* The Healing Service - This format is great for Eucharistic worship. It includes three cycles of devotions along with songs and prayers offered both in Latin and in English. Used by permission.


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