Here is a great explanation of the importance of 40 Hours and what you can expect written by Christ the King Parish in Tampa, FL.
The Forty Hours Devotion
The Forty Hours Devotion provides a wonderful opportunity for the spiritual growth of each person and the parish as a whole. In a world where temptation and evil abound, where devotion to the Mass and our Lord in the Holy Eucharist have declined, where the practice of penance and confession have been forgotten, we need the Forty Hours Devotion more than ever.
Over these 40 hours, our faithful will gather in the church for personal or public prayer in adoration of our Lord. There will be various prayer services and devotions offered during our celebration, but most often we will offer periods of prayerful silence. All parishioners and friends of St. David Catholic Church are welcome to attend as much of the forty hours devotion as their schedule permits. Registration is not required, however a sign up has been created to ensure the Blessed Sacrament is never left alone.
What is Forty Hours Devotion?
The Forty Hours Devotion is a special 40-hour period of continuous prayer made before the Blessed Sacrament in solemn exposition. Of course, the focus of this devotion is on the Holy Eucharist. The Forty Hours Devotion can be seen almost like a parish mini-retreat or mission in which the faithful are invited to come spend time with the Lord.
Why the number 40?
The number forty has always signified a sacred period of time: the rains during the time of Noah lasted 40 days and nights; the Jews wandered through the desert for 40 years, our Lord fasted and prayed for 40 days before beginning His public ministry. The 40 Hours Devotion remembers that traditional
“forty-hour period” from our Lord’s burial until the resurrection. Actually in the Middle Ages, the Blessed Sacrament was transferred to the repository, “the Easter Sepulcher,” for this period of time to signify our Lord’s time in the tomb.
What does Forty Hours Devotion entail?
The Forty Hours Devotion begins with a Solemn Mass of Exposition, which concludes with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The Blessed Sacrament remains on the altar in a monstrance. During the next 40 hours, the faithful gather for personal or public prayer in adoration of our Lord. There will be various prayer services and devotions offered during our celebration, but most often we will offer periods of prayerful silence. We will mark the conclusion of 40 Hours with a prayer service and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
The Lord has great things in store for us.
Don’t miss this opportunity to spend time with Him.