We were blessed to have the Forty Hours’ Devotion in our house chapel from 14th to 16th November, this great period of solemn exposition is a wonderful opportunity for the canonry and our parishes to increase devotion to our Eucharistic Lord. This great tradition began in Milan in the year 1537, but very quickly spread to Rome promoted by St Philip Neri , St Ignatius of Loyola and was supported by the Holy Father. Initially, the intention may have been to avoid physical and moral calamities, but it took hold of the imagination of the people of Rome and spread from there far and wide. The rubrics for the Roman customs attached to the Forty Hours’ Devotion were issued by Pope Clement VIII in 1592 in the document that has come to be known as the Clementine Instruction, the rubrics for the devotion are intended to create an atmosphere of peace and recollection, it was this that was most remarked upon by the faithful who attended.
The solemn Mass of Exposition to open the Forty Hours was well attended by the faithful, and accompanied by Norbertine chant sung by the canons. Rt Rev Hugh Allan o.praem., our prior, preached on the importance of the Blessed Sacrament in the lives of all the faithful and the saints, reminded us that this great gift makes God sacramentally present to us, veiled before our very eyes. More photos can be found here.
As Advent approached we have also been greatly blessed to hear a series of talks by Br Stephen Morrison o.praem. on the theme of ‘Advent and the Liturgy’. Br Stephen gave three talks in our parish of Our Lady Immaculate using the texts of the sacred liturgy to enrich our prayer during this season. It was particularly apposite to emphasise that our Lord who was born as a baby in a stable in Jerusalem, comes to us every day in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and will come again at the end of time to judge the living and the dead. We hope to share the content of Br Stephens talks very soon.
On December 7th Br Stephen and myself were delighted to be invited to attend the diaconal ordination of our friend Br Paul Vianney Harris SDS, in the Salvatorian parish of St Joseph’s in London. Br Paul was ordained by His Grace Archbishop Vincent Nichols who preached on the spiritual and liturgical importance of the homily, taking inspiration for our Holy Father Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. We were also delighted to sing the litany at this ordination, as we had at his Solemn Profession.
For the feast of St Lucy today, the great virgin martyr of the fourth century mentioned in the Roman canon, we followed the traditional practice of having our conventual Mass lit by candlelight only. St Lucy, whose name means ‘Light’, has many traditions surrounding the celebration of her feast, one of these is that in the darkness of winter we use her feast to remind us of the light who is soon to enter the world.