“Most Blessed Virgin, Dawn of new times, help us to look with faith on the history of the past and the year that is beginning. Star of the third millennium, guide our steps toward Christ, who lives ‘yesterday, today, and forever,’ and grant humanity, which advances with trembling into the new millennium, more and more fraternity and solidarity” (Pope John Paul II, Epiphany homily, January 6, 2001). Let us pray that Our Lady, Star of Evangelization, may guide humanity to her Eucharistic Son in Communion and Adoration in this new year.
St. John Neumann: American Saint of Eucharistic Adoration
St. John Neumann had a tremendous devotion to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Since he knew from personal experience the great value of this ‘Devotion of Devotions’ he had an intense desire to help lead others to prayer before Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament exposed in a monstrance. Because of this ardent dream of leading others to adore Jesus, St. John Neumann wanted to institute the Forty Hours Devotion when he came to the United States. The devotion began centuries earlier in Europe.
This idea of adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament and Forty Hours Devotion encountered much resistance and numerous objections of every kind. There had been hostility and violence toward Catholics in his Diocese of Philadelphia at that time. One night, after nearly abandoning his dream, St. John Neumann fell asleep, from total exhaustion, while writing at his desk. A little while later he awoke to the smell of smoke, a lit candle had overturned and started a fire.Before him were the charred remains of his papers. There was only one letter remaining, that had not burned, the letter he had written about the Forty Hours Devotion! As he knelt to thank God for sparing him from harm a voice seemed to tell him “As the flames are burning here without consuming or injuring the writing, so shall I pour out My grace in the Blessed Sacrament without prejudice to My honor. Therefore, do not fear profanation and do not hesitate any longer to
carry out your designs for My glory.”
The rest is history. In 1853 Bishop John Neumann began the Forty Hours Devotion on the feast of Corpus Christi (The Body of Christ) in the Church of St. Philip Neri,the saint who started the Forty Hours Devotion in Rome. It was implemented in such a way that it would be held in churches throughout the entire year. The Forty Hours Devotion was St. John Neumann’s way of insuring that his flock would remain rooted in the source and summit of the Catholic faith, Jesus in The Most Blessed Sacrament. The faithful came in droves to adore our Lord exposed in the monstrance, and other dioceses quickly followed his example, by beginning adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. To the honor and glory of God, and the help of our needy humanity, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament continues to be strong in the United States and many countries throughout the world today! St. John Neumann please pray that Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration may spread to every diocese and parish in this new millennium.
PRAYER OF ST. JOHN NEUMANN, FEAST DAY, JAN. 5
“How much I love You, O my Jesus! I wish to love You with my whole heart; yet I do not love You enough...I have one desire, that of being near You in the Blessed Sacrament. You are the sweet bridegroom of my soul. My Jesus, my love, my all, gladly would I endure hunger, thirst, heat and cold to remain always with You in the
In the United States we are blessed to have over 1,100 chapels of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. Please be generous with your monthly tax deductible donations so that we may continue our Eucharistic evangelization mission. Pray that Jesus may be loved through PEA in every country and Church throughout the world.
(Copyright 2001, Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament. All rights reserved)
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