Sunday, November 9, 2008

Thoughts on Forty Hours and Eucharistic Devotion

Closing ceremony from 2007
(click for more pics from last year - I did not photograph this year's ceremony)

The closing ceremony for the 2008 Forty Hours Devotion was held this afternoon at 3:00pm. Considering that there have been so many activities of late at the parish, I think the turn out was good.
The closing ceremony, which comes at the end of the three day vigil, involves readings, homily, the Litany of Saints (chanted in Latin), and a procession, followed by Divine Praises and Benediction. It lasted about 45 minutes and we had a good pot-luck dinner afterward.
Fr. Perrone had the honors this year of leading this ceremony, and delivered a beautiful homily. I am glad to report that Father has agreed to email me the text of that homily. He is also providing me with his homily from the 9:30am Mass which I missed, but had heard was very good. Stay tuned.
I went up the choir loft to assist - something that felt refreshing having been away from choir now for about half a year. While I was up there looking down at Fr. Perrone cradling Our Lord in the monstrance I got overwhelmed with a sense of joy and gratitude to God for the gift of such a pastor. It hit me all at once, that it is because of his devotion to the Eucharist that, through the grace of God, I was able to develop a devotion to the Eucharist. I momentarily pondered my spiritual life without all of this beautiful fanfare that has done so much to give me an appreciation for this great gift.
All of those thoughts flashing through my head as I watched the procession were such a contrast to the flashbacks of my days in "St. Suburbia" as we sometimes call it, where these things like Forty Hours Devotion, and even adoration for that matter, were absent. My life was not the same.
I recall my first trip to Assumption Grotto on Pentecost of 2005. I went back on Corpus Christi after having assisted at some weekday Masses. I had never seen a Eucharistic Procession until that day and I was amazed with the devotion of the people. I could see pure love for Our Lord in the Eucharist, in a way that was totally foreign to me.
What impresses me most about Grotto, is that for many, family life revolves around parish life, not the other way around. In fact, it's more: Family life is integral to parish life. This is visible in people's willingness to come with their families to such events. It's not possible for every family to participate in every event, but there are always many involved - together. These families understand that the faith is passed on by example. When children witness Mom and Dad spending time in adoration, they learn. Grotto children, in my humble opinion, are among the most patient and well-behaved kids I've ever been exposed to at any church (though parents always feel it could be better).
I feel so fortunate to be in a parish like Assumption Grotto, among priests who pass along the faith without ambiguity, and in it's entirety. I pray that Our Lady will keep Grotto under her Mantle for generations to come.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!