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Blessed Sacrament

Towards the beginning of the 13th century, great emphasis was being placed on the truth of the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

In 1246, the feast of Corpus Christi, honouring the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ was established. It was in this period that St. Thomas Aquinas (the ‘Angelic Doctor’), composed his beautiful hymns praising the Holy Eucharist.

Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
The rite of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is where the Holy Eucharist is placed within the Monstrance (please see the picture below for an example of what a Monstrance is, if you’re not familiar with it), and then placed on the altar.

There must always be occasions when the Faithful are given the opportunity to come into the presence of the Blessed Sacrament outside the usual celebration of Mass. Times when the Faithful can be with the Lord in moments of quiet Adoration of the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. It is an opportunity to deepen our relationship with Our Lord. It is a moment for Jesus to touch our lives and hearts as we spend time with Him and for Him to draw us into a closer more intimate relationship with Him.

These moments of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament can also involve Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Benediction simply means a Blessing. We come to Jesus to receive a blessing from His Real Presence and this is wonderful because the blessing of Christ is something that can and will produce in us a response to bear good things in our lives - to be closer to Him but also to produce good works.

On Holy/Maundy Thursday we celebrate the Institution of the Most Holy Eucharist by Jesus Himself. This is of course the night before He gave His life for us on Calvary. Mass is never celebrated on Good Friday so more Hosts are consecrated for those who will receive Holy Communion on Good Friday.

After the Last Supper Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and to prepare Himself for what lay ahead. He took His disciples with Him and asked them to pray and spend time with Him as He opened His Heart to the Father's will. 'Watching' with the Lord until midnight, as it is called, after the Mass of the Lord's Last Supper, is not so much a time of Adoration or of Blessing, but an opportunity to simply spend time with the Real Presence of Jesus in prayer, and to offer our love and support as we remember what He was about to undergo for our sakes. It can be a profound moment for us when together with Our Lord we can say to God the Father "Not my will but your will be done".
- Father John Shewring


During this period you can personally undertake the reciting of various readings, prayers, hymns and so on. You may also wish to appreciate the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, by your simple attendance in silent contemplation.

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During this period the following traditional hymn(s) of the ‘Angelic Doctor’ - St. Thomas Aquinas - are often sung (as well as other hymns and prayers):

O sautaris Hostia/O saving Victim.
(Latin) (English)
O salutaris Hostia
Quae caeli pandis ostium.
O saving Victim opening wide
The Gates of Heav’n to man below!
Bella premunt hostilia
Da robur fer auxilium
Our foes press on from every side
Thine aid supply, thy strength bestow
Uni trinoque Domino
Sit sempiterna gloria
To thy great name be endless praise
Immortal Godhead, One-in-Three
Qui vitam sine termino
Nobis donet in patria.
Oh grant us endless length of days
in our true native land with thee.
Tantum Ergo/Therefore We
(Latin) (English)
Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui
Therefore we, before him bending,
This great Sacrament revere
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui
Types and shadows have their ending
For the newer rite is here
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.
Faith, our outward sense befriending
Makes the inward vision clear.
Genitori, Genitoque
Laus and jubilatio.
Glory let us give, and blessing
To the Father and the Son
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio
Honour, might, and praise addressing
While eternal ages run
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.
Ever to his love confessing
who from both, with both is One.
(Oremus) (Let us Pray)
(Latin) (English)
Deus, qui nobis sub
sacramento mirabili
passionis tuae memoriam
reliquisti: tribue, quaesumus
ita nos corporis et
Sanguinis tui sacra
mysteria venerari, ut
redemptionis tuae fructum
in nobis iugiter sentiamus
Qui vivis et regnas in
saecula saeculorum.
Lord Jesus Christ, you
gave us the Eucharist
as the memorial of your
suffering and death. May
our worship of this
sacrament of your body
and blood help us to
experience the salvation
you won for us, and the
peace of the kingdom
where you live with the
Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Then the priest blesses the people (makes the sign of the cross) with the Blessed Sacrament;
ending afterwards with the following:-

The Divine Praises
(the priest recites each line first; then the people repeat that line afterwards)

Blessed be God.
Blessed be his Holy name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.
Blessed be the name of Jesus.
Blessed be his most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be his most Precious Blood.
Blessed be Jesus in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most Holy.
Blessed be her Holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be St. Joseph, her spouse most chaste.
Blessed be God in his Angels and in his Saints.
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Forty Hours Devotion (‘Quarantore’)

This is a Roman Catholic exercise of devotion in which continuous prayer is made for Forty Hours before the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

The precise origin of the Forty Hours Devotion is somewhat obscure. Tradition has it that this observance commenced in Milan, Italy in 1537. There was a period in the tradition of this devotion, whereby as one church ended their Forty Hours Devotion, another parish would start theirs.

Our parish may be observing this Forty Hours devotion at some point, this 2018 year. Exact date(s) to be supplied in due course via this webpage; or/and if you attend Sunday mass at our parish, please keep an eye out for any notificiation(s) of this ‘Quarantore’ devotion in future newsletters.

Adoration outside of Mass

The Blessed Sacrament is also adored by Roman Catholics and Anglo-Catholics outside of any liturgical rite. Some have cited reference to St. Basil in the fourth century, but Franciscan archives St. Francis of Asissi for starting this devotion in Italy. The lay practice of adoration in France formally began in Avignon in September 1226. The adoration may also be nightly; e.g. the Venerable Leo Dupont initiated nightly adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in Tours in 1849, whence it spread within France. There are religious orders of monks and nuns committed to perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; some of their number (on a roster) always present in the chapel before the exposed Host.

The adoration of the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass (extra-eucharistic devotion) is attested in numerous Catholic writings and inspirations; e.g., significant portions of the writings of the Venerable Concepcion Cabrera de Armida are reportedly based on her adorations of the Blessed Sacrament. Cabrera de Armida did not represent her writing as interior locutionsor visions of Jesus and Mary; but as her meditations and inspirations during the Eucharistic Adoration.

Albert Einstein's Fascination on Church's Teaching on Blessed Scarament

Einstein was fascinated by the Catholic Church’s teaching on the Blessed Sacrament. Many people are not aware of this. He was intrigued by the idea of a substance that you can’t see; a substance that has no shape or size or colour. He once even asked a priest—a Fr. Charles McTague—to send him any books in German that McTague could find for him on the Holy Eucharist, because he wanted to learn more about it.


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