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."
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.