Father Dennis A. Nikolic said his hope for the faithful who participated in his parish’s Forty Hours Devotion is that their minds and hearts were opened up “to the grace that God wants to give them,” that they received all of the “blessings that our Eucharistic Lord hopes to give, all the abundance of graces during that period of time in Adoration.”
St. Joseph parish in Middletown hosted the Forty Hours Devotion Dec. 7-9 in conjunction with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the conclusion of the universal Church’s Year of St. Joseph, Dec. 8. The event also marked the beginning of a campaign to restart the parish’s Perpetual Adoration, suspended amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is important especially now because of the period of time that we’re living in,” Father Nikolic, pastor of St. Joseph, told Catholic New York. “It is a special emphasis on the Eucharist, where the Church is rediscovering the great gift that we have of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. And so as we’re trying to promote more Eucharistic devotion, I think it’s extremely important that we have events like this.”
He noted that the parish had Perpetual Adoration 24 hours a day, seven days a week before the pandemic; “at least one person was always there. The pandemic forced us to discontinue that, and we always had the intention to restart it. With the dangers of the virus and its variants, we have not started up yet, but we’re looking to safely start up in the springtime.”
Father Nikolic, who is also dean of Orange County, added that the parish is seeking more Perpetual Adoration guardians. “We don’t have all of the guardians that we would need, especially in the nighttime hours in order to make that happen,” the pastor said. “We are beginning this campaign of inviting people to consider becoming guardians of the Eucharist. They can recognize how beautiful and how meaningful it is to come before the Lord and to worship Him in His Eucharistic presence.”
St. Joseph parish began having Perpetual Adoration in April 1998. The pandemic lockdowns in March 2020 suspended Perpetual Adoration. (Father Nikolic said the parish has been monitoring news about the latest variant, Omicron, and would act accordingly based on updated safety guidelines).
The Forty Hours Devotion began at 8 a.m. Dec. 7 and ended early in the midnight hour Dec. 9. During that time, the parish gathered for celebrations of Mass, Divine Mercy chaplets, a Holy Hour, Benediction and the midnight Reposition of the Blessed Sacrament.