London: Cardinal to open 40-hour devotion

 Tomorrow, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor will open a 40-hour devotion before the Blessed Sacrament at Westminster Cathedral. Lay people, members of religious orders, deacons and priests from all over the Diocese of Westminster will be at the Cathedral to pray together in the devotion to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The Quarant'Ore, which concludes the Year of the Eucharist, brings together the celebration of the Mass, the Divine Office, a Blessed Sacrament procession and the solemn blessing in Benediction in a continuous time of prayer and adoration. The Cardinal, who has just returned from a three-week bishops' synod on the Eucharist, will open the Quarant'Ore at 5.30 pm on Thursday by celebrating and preaching at Mass and end it by celebrating and preaching at the Vigil Mass on Saturday evening. "The Quarant'Ore is a fitting end to the year of the Eucharist," the Cardinal said. "There is no better way than to spend time in the adoration of the Lord in this amazing Sacrament." Cardinal Cormac returned last Sunday from the Synod of Bishops in Rome, which has been considering the place of the Eucharist in the Church's life. Together with Cardinal Walter Kasper and Cardinal Angelo Scola, he has been elected to represent Europe on the Post-Synodal Commission responsible for reflecting on the Synod and to present propositions to Pope Benedict. The Pope will later present his conclusions in the form of a post-synodal exhortation. The adoration of the Blessed Sacrament has played a prominent part in worship since the early days of the Church. Although the exact origin of the Forty Hours' Devotion is unclear, in 1592 Pope Clement VIII issued a historic document on the 40-hour devotion, known in Italian as the Quarant'Ore. Pope Clement authorised the devotion for Rome and explained how it should be practised. It seems likely that the period of forty hours was chosen because this is considered the length of time that the Body of Christ remained in the tomb. Source: Archbishops House

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