By Dave Jolivet

NEW BEDFORD — A core group of five diocesan faithful and others have been researching and planning for a diocesan-wide 40-hour devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, something very near and dear to their collective hearts.

The prayers, hard work, and coordinating activities are about to produce blessed fruit with the advent of a new format of 40-hours of continuous exposition of the Blessed Sacrament which will allow for more churches and faithful to be part of the worship rite.

“Every second Thursday of the month, beginning on July 8, the devotion will begin with a Mass at 8 a.m. followed by 39 hours of Adoration, ending on Friday at midnight,” Martha McCormack of St. Joseph Parish in Fairhaven, and one of the core committee persons, told The Anchor. “A different church participates holding three hours of Adoration rotating on a schedule through the diocese until 40 hours are completed. This is a unique way to practice the 40-Hour Devotion making it more accessible to all churches as each church only needs to commit for three hours.

Area faithful worshiped the Blessed Sacrament on the steps of St. Anne’s Shrine in Fall River on the feast of Corpus Christi.

Currently there are 24 churches across the diocese that will be taking part in this devotional practice.

McCormack told The Anchor that the committee received permission to reach out to all of the churches in the diocese to invite them to take part. 

“We have been contacting churches in the diocese, but the task is not complete,” said McCormack. “However, because we now 24 churches signed up, it is more than enough churches to begin the Devotion. We will continue to call churches until all churches have been contacted. 

“This effort is being made with the desire to build our faith, and the faith of others, in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We pray it will bring abundant fruits to our diocese and to the faithful. It seems so little effort needed on our parts for such great need. Only three hours per church; but, simultaneously in one heart and mind giving praise and honor to God, we believe it is a very powerful prayer.”

The schedule for the July 8-9 Adoration is:

Thursday, July 8:

8 a.m.: Mass  at St. Andrew The Apostle, Taunton.


9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: 

— St. Andrew the Apostle, Taunton; — St .John Neumann, East Freetown; — St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, South Attleboro.

12 p.m. to 3 p.m.: 

— Our Lady of Mount Carmel, New Bedford; 

— Holy Name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, New Bedford.

3 p.m. to 6 p.m.:

Holy Family, East Taunton.

6 p.m. to 9 p.m.:

— Espirito Santo, Fall River; — St. Anthony Padua, Fall River.

9 p.m. to 12 a.m.:

— Corpus Christi, East Sandwich.

Friday, July 9:

12 a.m. to 3 a.m.:

— Our Lady’s Chapel, New Bedford.

3 a.m. to 6 a.m.:

— Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Seekonk.

6 a.m. to 9 a.m.:

— St. Julie Billiart, North Dartmouth.

9 a.m. to 12 p.m.:

— Our Lady of Perpetual Help, New Bedford; — Holy Trinity, West Harwich; — St. John of God, Somerset.

12 p.m. to 3 p.m.:

— Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, New Bedford; — Our Lady of Grace, Westport; — St. Joan of Arc, Orleans.

3 p.m. to 6 p.m.:

— St. Anthony Padua, New Bedford;

— St. Vincent de Paul, Attleboro.

6 p.m. to 9 p.m.:

— St. Francis Xavier, Acushnet;

 — St. Joseph, Fairhaven.

9 p.m. to 12 a.m.:

— Corpus Christi, East Sandwich.

As mentioned previously, the 40-hour devotion will begin at 8 a.m. on the second Tuesday of the month and end at midnight the next day. (The second Thursday of the month isn’t always followed by the second Friday of the month; depending on the calendar.)

Each month’s devotion will carry with it a special intention for which faithful are encouraged to pray.

Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., has developed the following 2021 schedule: 

July: For an Increase of Vocations to the Priesthood, Consecrated Life and Ministries in the Church.

August: For Unity Among all Catholics, while celebrating our diversity.

September: For a recognition of the Dignity of every human person in every stage of life

October: For the increase in awareness among all the Baptized of their vocation to be Missionary Disciples, imitating the fidelity of the Virgin Mary.

November: For renewed sense of Recognition and Gratitude for blessing we receive every day.

December: For an openness to welcome Jesus into our lives and allow Him to be born in our hearts each day. 

The core committee is made up of Laurie Larsen-Silva, of Corpus Christi Parish, East Sandwich; Linda Nason, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Seekonk; Mary Cardoza, St. Francis Xavier Parish, Acushnet; Paula Andrikopoulos, St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Attleboro; and Martha McCormack, St. Joseph Church, Fairhaven.

Some of the committee has assisted in running Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration programs for more than 15 years, and some have devoted themselves to Adoration in their own parishes as coordinators.

“By visiting the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist which is Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, my faith has increased,” Nason told The Anchor. “I am becoming more thankful each day. I get to know Jesus each day more and more when I quiet my mind and read Scripture. Jesus is waiting for all of us to come and visit.” 

“I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that we are beginning in the Year of St. Joseph,” Laurie Larsen-Silvatold The Anchor. “He spent many holy hours with his eyes and heart on Jesus. Our diocese will be blessed by uniting in prayer and sitting quietly before the Real Presence of Jesus, too. Instead of being distracted by what the world throws at us, we can learn to listen to Jesus more attentively, and follow St. Joseph as our model.”

“It is my hope that this devotion will bring awareness of the power of our prayers when prayed in the presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament,” added Paula Andrikopoulos.

In November of 1964, during the historic Vatican II Council at the Vatican, St. Pope Paul VI promulgated the council’s document, Lumen Gentium, meaning “Light of the Nations.” It is highly regarded as the Dogmatic Constitution of the Catholic Church.

In it, the Church strongly stresses the Sacredness and importance of the Eucharist in the lives of the faithful. Vatican II encouraged people to take part in Eucharistic Adoration in and outside the context of the Mass.

In April of 1980, St. John Paul II released the Apostolic Letter, Inaestimabile donum (On the Holy Eucharist). In that letter the then-pope reinforced the importance of Eucharistic Adoration saying, “Public and private devotion to the Holy Eucharist outside Mass is highly recommended: for the presence of Christ, Who is adored by the faithful in the Sacrament, derives from the sacrifice and is directed towards Sacramental and Spiritual Communion” (#20).

“We will continue to call churches until all churches have been contacted,” McCormack told The Anchor. “This effort is being made with the desire to build our faith, and the faith of others, in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We pray it will bring abundant fruits to our diocese and to the faithful. It seems so little effort needed on our parts for such great need. ”