Quant’ Ore—the Forty Hours’ Devotion

As we read in the Raccolta, the Forty Hours’ Adoration (or Devotion)—a devotion to the Blessed Sacrament solemnly exposed on the altar—in memory of the fourty hours during which the sacred body of Jesus was in the sepulcher, began in Milan about the year 1534. Thence it spread into other cities of Italy, and was introduced into Rome, for the first Sunday in every month, by the Archconfraternity of the Most Holy Trinity of the Pilgrims (founded by St. Philip Neri, in the year 1548), and, for the third Sunday in the month, by the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of Prayer, called La Morte, in the year 1551.

This prayer of the Forty Hours was established forever by Pope Clement VIII for the whole course of the year, in regular continuous succession, from one church to another, commencing on the first Sunday in Advent with the chapel in the apostolical palace, as appears from the constitution Graves et diuturnæ, November 25th, 1592. This Pope was moved to establish this devotion by the public troubles of holy Church, in order that, day and night, the faithful might appease their Lord by prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in solemn exposition, imploring there His divine mercy. He further granted holy indulgences to those who shall assist at prayer during this solemn exposition. All this was afterward confirmed by Pope Paul V, in the brief, Cum felicis recordationis, May 10th, 1606.

The obligatory visit to the church where the Forty Hours’ Devotion is held need not last a whole hour. Both the plenary indulgence and the partial indulgences (which latter may be gained as often as a visit is made) are applicable to the souls in purgatory. As regard the introduction of the Forty Hours into the United States we read in the “Manual of the Forty Hours’ Adoration” the following note:

“This devotion was first introduced into the Diocese of Philadelphia in 1853 by the saintly Bishop Neumann; next, in 1858, into the archdiocese of Baltimore; and finally at the Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1866 formally approved (confirmed by Papal indults) for all the dioceses of the United States. The Most Rev. P.F. Kenrick, Archbishop of Baltimore, feeling that not all the rules of the Clementine Instructions could be strictly observed, had petition Pius IX to grant some modifications. A rescript, dated December 10th, 1857, and extended to all the dioceses of the United States, January 24th, 1868, allowed the following concessions:

(a) That the Exposition need not be continued during the night.

(b) That the procession may be omitted at the prudent discretion of the pastor.

(c) That the faithful should be able to gain all the indulgences granted by the Constitution Graves et diuturnæ of Clement VIII.

The Mass of Exposition on the first day of the Forty Hours’ Devotion is the Solemn Votive of the Blessed Sacrament.

After holy communion, the celebrant places the sacred Host in the monstrance. At the end of Mass he takes off the chasuble, puts on the cope, and then incenses the Blessed Sacrament. During the procession, the hymn “Pange Lingua” is sung.


Pange, lingua, gloriosi
Corporis mysterium,
Sanguinisque pretiosi,
Quem in mundi pretium
Fructris ventris generosi,
Rex effudit genitum.

Sing, O my tongue, the mystery of the glorious Body, and precious Blood which was shed as the world's ransom, by him who is the fruit of Mary's generous womb, him the King of nations.

Nobis datus, nobis natus
Ex intacta Virgine,
Et in mundo conversatus,
Sparso verbi semine,
Sui moras incolatus
Miro clausit ordine.

Given unto us, and born for us from the purest of Virgins, he lived in this our world, casting the seed of the word; and closing the days of his sojourn here, by a way full of marvel.

In supremæ nocte cœnæ
Recumbens cum fratribus,
Observata lege plene
Cibis in legalibus,
Cibum turbæ duodenæ
Se dat suis manibus.

On the night of the last Supper, he sat at table with his brethren; and having fully observed the Law as to its legal repast, he gave himself, with his own hands, as food to the assembled twelve.

Verbum caro, panem verum
Verbo carnem efficit:
Fitque sanguis Christi merum:
Et si sensus deficit,
Ad firmandum cor sincerum
Sola fides sufficit.

The Word made Flesh, makes, by a word, that true bread should become Flesh, and wine the Blood of Christ; and though our sense may fail, faith of itself is enough to ensure an upright heart.

On returning to the altar, the Blessed Sacrament is placed on the throne, and the choir sings:

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et aniquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Præstet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Then let us, prostrate, adore so great a Sacrament: and let the ancient law give place to the new rite: let faith supply the senses’ deficiency.

Here the Blessed Sacrament is incensed.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio. Amen.

To the Father and the Son, be praise and jubilation, salvation, honor, power and benediction: to him that proceedeth from both, be equal praise! Amen.

The Litany of the Saints is then said, followed by a recitation of Psalm 69:
Kyrie, eleison. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christe, eleison. Christ, have mercy on us.
Kyrie, eleison. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christe, audi nos. Christ, hear us.
Christe, exaudi nos. Christ, graciously hear us.
Pater de cælis Deus, miserere nobis. God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
Fili Redemptor mundi Deus, God, the Son, the Redeemer of the world,
Spiritus Sancte Deus, God, the Holy Spirit,
Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, Holy Trinity, one God,
Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis. Holy Mary, pray for us.
Sancta Dei Genetrix, Holy Mother of God,
Sancta Virgo virginum, Holy Virgin of virgins,
Sancte Michæl, Saint Michael,
Sancte Gabriel, Saint Gabriel,
Sancte Raphæl, Saint Raphael,
Omnes sancti Angeli et Archangeli, All ye holy Angels and Archangels,
Omnes sancti beatorum Spirituum ordines, All ye holy orders of blessed Spirits,
Sancte Ioannes Baptista, Saint John the Baptist,
Sancte Ioseph, Saint Joseph,
Omnes sancti Patriarchæ et Prophetæ, All ye holy Patriarchs and Prophets,
Sancte Petre, Saint Peter,
Sancte Paule, Saint Paul,
Sancte Andrea, Saint Andrew,
Sancte Iacobe (maior), Saint James (the greater)
Sancte Ioannes, Saint John,
Sancte Thoma, Saint Thomas,
Sancte Iacobe (minor), Saint James (the lesser),
Sancte Philippe, Saint Phillip,
Sancte Bartolomæe, Saint Bartholomew,
Sancte Matthæe, Saint Matthew,
Sancte Simon, Saint Simon,
Sancte Thaddæe, Saint Thaddeus,
Sancte Matthia, Saint Matthias,
Sancte Barnaba, Saint Barnabas,
Sancte Luca, Saint Luke,
Sancte Marce, Saint Mark,
Omnes sancti Apostoli et Evangelistæ, All ye holy Apostles and Evangelists,
Omnes sancti discipuli Domini, All ye holy Disciples of the Lord,
Omnes sancti Innocentes, All ye holy Innocents,
Sancte Stephane, Saint Stephen,
Sancte Laurenti, Saint Lawrence,
Sancte Vincenti, Saint Vincent,
Sancti Fabiane et Sebastiane, Saints Fabian and Sebastian,
Sancti Ioannes et Paule, Saints John and Paul,
Sancti Cosma et Damiane, Saints Cosmas and Damian,
Sancti Gervasi et Protasi, Saints Gervase and Protase,
Omnes sancti martyres, All ye holy Martyrs,
Sancte Sylvester, Saint Sylvester,
Sancte Gregori, Saint Gregory,
Sancte Ambrosi, Saint Ambrose,
Sancte Augustine, Saint Augustine,
Sancte Hieronyme, Saint Jerome,
Sancte Martine, Saint Martin,
Sancte Nicolæ, Saint Nicholas,
Omnes sancti Pontifices et Confessores, All ye holy Popes and Confessors,
Omnes sancti Doctores, All ye Holy Doctors,
Sancte Antoni, Saint Anthony,
Sancte Benedicte, Saint Benedict,
Sancte Bernarde, Saint Bernard,
Sancte Dominice, Saint Dominic,
Sancte Francisce, Saint Francis,
Omnes sancti Sacerdotes et Levitæ, All ye holy Priests and Levites,
Omnes sancti Monachi et Eremitæ, All ye holy Monks and Hermits,
Sancta Anna, Saint Ann,
Sancta Maria Magdalena, Saint Mary Magdalen,
Sancta Agatha, Saint Agatha,
Sancta Lucia, Saint Lucy,
Sancta Agnes, Saint Agnes,
Sancta Cæcilia, Saint Cecilia,
Sancta Catharina, Saint Catherine,
Sancta Anastasia, Saint Anastasia,
Omnes sanctæ Virgines et Viduæ, All ye holy Virgins and Widows,
Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Dei, intercedite pro nobis. All ye holy men and women, Saints of God, intercede for us.
Propitius esto, parce nobis, Domine. Be merciful, spare us, O Lord.
Propitius esto, exaudi nos, Domine. Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Ab omni malo, libera nos, Domine. From all evil, deliver us, O Lord.
Ab omni peccato, From all sin,
Ab ira tua, From Thy wrath,
A subitanea et improvisa morte, From sudden and unprovided death,
Ab insidiis diaboli, From the snares of the devil,
Ab ira et odio et omni mala voluntate, From anger, hatred, and all ill-will,
A spiritu fornicationis, From the spirit of fornication,
A fulgure et tempestate, From lightning and tempest,
A flagello terræmotus, From the scourge of earthquake,
A peste, fame et bello, From plague, famine and war,
A morte perpetua, From everlasting death,
Per mysterium sanctæ Incarnationis tuæ, Through the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation,
Per adventum tuum, Through Thy coming,
Per nativitatem tuam, Through Thy nativity,
Per baptismum et sanctum ieiunium tuum, Through Thy Baptism and holy fasting,
Per crucem et passionem tuam, Through Thy Cross and Passion,
Per mortem et sepulturam tuam, Through Thy Death and Burial,
Per sanctam resurrectionem tuam, Through Thy Holy Resurrection,
Per admirabilem ascensionem tuam, Through Thy wondrous Ascension,
Per adventum Spiritus Sancti Paracliti, Through the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete,
In die iudicii, In the day of judgment,
Peccatores, te rogamus, audi nos. We sinners, we beseech Thee, hear us.
Ut nobis parcas, That Thou wouldst spare us,
Ut nobis indulgeas, That Thou wouldst pardon us,
Ut ad veram pænitentiam nos perducere digneris, That Thou wouldst bring us to true repentance,
Ut Ecclesiam tuam sanctam regere et conservare digneris, That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to govern and preserve Thy Holy Church,
Ut domum Apostolicum et omnes ecclesiasticos ordines in sancta religione conservare digneris, That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to preserve the Bishop of the Apostolic See, and all orders of the Church in holy religion,
Ut inimicos sanctæ Ecclesiæ humiliare digneris, That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to humble the enemies of Holy Church,
Ut regibus et principibus christianis pacem et veram concordiam donare digneris, That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes,
Ut cuncto populo christiano pacem et unitatem largiri digneris, That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant peace and unity to all Christian people,
Ut omnes errantes ad unitatem Ecclesiæ revocare, et infideles universos ad Evangelii lumen perducere digneris, That Thou wouldst restore to the unity of the Church all who have strayed from the truth, and lead all unbelievers into the light of the Gospel,
Ut nosmetipsos in tuo sancto servitio confortare et conservare digneris, That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to confirm and preserve us in Thy holy service,
Ut mentes nostras ad cælestia desideria erigas, That Thou wouldst lift up our minds to heavenly desires,
Ut omnibus benefactoribus nostris sempiterna bona retribuas, That Thou wouldst render eternal blessing to all our benefactors,
Ut animas nostras, fratrum, propinquorum et benefactorum nostrorum ab æterna damnatione eripias, That Thou wouldst deliver our souls, and the souls of our brethren, relations, and benefactors from eternal damnation,
Ut fructus terræ dare et conservare digneris, That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to give and preserve the fruits of the earth,
Ut omnibus fidelibus defunctis requiem æternam donare digneris, That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed,
Ut nos exaudire digneris, That Thou wouldst vouchsafe graciously to hear us,
Fili Dei, te rogamus, audi nos. Son of God, we beseech Thee, hear us.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, parce nobis, Domine. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, exaudi nos, Domine. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Christe, audi nos. Christ, hear us.
Christe, exaudi nos. Christ, graciously hear us.
Kyrie, eleison. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christe, eleison. Christ, have mercy on us.
Kyrie, eleison. Lord, have mercy on us.
Pater noster … (secreto) Our Father … (secretly)
℣. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.
℟. Sed libera nos a malo.
℣. And lead us not into temptation.
℟. but deliver us from evil.
Psalm 69.—O God, make haste to help our soul!
℣. Deus, in adiutorium meum intende:
℟. Domine ad adiuvandum me festina.
℣. O God, come to my assistance:
℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.
℣. Confundantur, et revereantur, qui quærunt animam meam. ℣. Let them be ashamed and confounded, that seek after my soul.
℟. Avertantur retrorsum, et erubescant, qui volunt mihi mala. ℟. Let them be turned backward and put to confusion, that desire my hurt.
℣. Avertantur statim erubescentes, qui dicunt mihi: Euge, euge. ℣. Let them be turned back with shame, that say unto me, Aha, aha.
℟. Exultent et lætentur in te, omnes qui quærunt te, et dicant semper: Magnificetur Dominus: qui diligunt salutare tuum. ℟. But let all those who seek Thee be joyful and glad in Thee, and let such as love Thy salvation say continually: Let the Lord be magnified.
℣. Ego vero egenus et pauper sum: Deus adiuva me. ℣. But I am poor and needy: help me, O God.
℟. Adiutor meus et liberator meus es  tu: Domine, ne moreris. ℟. Thou art my helper and deliverer, O Lord, do not delay.
℣. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.
℟. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
℣. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
℟. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
℣. Salvos fac servos tuos.
℟. Deus meus, sperantes in te.
℣. Save Thy servants.
℟. My God, who hope in Thee.
℣. Esto nobis, Domine, turris fortitudinis.
℟. A facie inimici.
℣. Be unto us, O Lord, a tower of strength.
℟. In the face of the enemy.
℣. Nihil proficiat inimicus in nobis.
℟. Et filius iniquitatis non apponat nocere nobis.
℣. Let not the enemy prevail against us.
℟. Nor the son of iniquity have power to harm us.
℣. Domine, non secundum peccata nostra facias nobis.
℟. Neque secundum iniquitates nostras retribuas nobis.
℣. O Lord, deal not with us according to our sins.
℟. Neither requite us according to our iniquities.
℣. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro N.
℟. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.
℣. Let us pray for our Sovereign Pontiff N.
℟. The Lord preserve him and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.
℣. Oremus pro benefactoribus nostris.
℟. Retribuere dignare, Domine, omnibus nobis bona facientibus propter nomen tuum, vitam æternam. Amen.
℣. Let us pray for our benefactors.
℟. Vouchsafe, O Lord, for Thy Name’s sake, to reward with eternal life all those who do us good. Amen.
℣. Oremus pro fidelibus defunctis.
℟. Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
℣. Let us pray for the faithful departed.
℟. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
℣. Requiescant in pace.
℟. Amen.
℣. May they rest in peace.
℟. Amen.
℣. Pro fratribus nostris absentibus.
℟. Salvos fac servos tuos, Deus meus, sperantes in te.
℣. For our absent brethren.
℟. Save Thy servants who hope in Thee, O my God.
℣. Mitte eis, Domine, auxilium de sancto.
℟. Et de Sion tuere eos.
℣. Send them help, O Lord, from Thy holy place.
℟. And from Sion protect them.
℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.
℟. And let my cry come unto Thee.
℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.
Oremus.—Deus, cui proprium est misereri semper et parcere: suscipe deprecationem nostram; ut nos, et omnes famulos tuos, quos delictorum catena constringit, miseratio tuæ pietatis clementer absolvat. Let us pray.—O God, Whose property is always to have mercy and to spare, receive our petition; that we and all Thy servants who are bound by the chain of sin may, by the compassion of Thy goodness mercifully be absolved.
Exaudi, quæsumus, Domine, supplicum preces, et confitentium tibi parce peccatis: ut pariter nobis indulgentiam tribuas benignus et pacem. Graciously hear, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the prayers of Thy supplicants and pardon the sins of those who confess to Thee: that in Thy bounty Thou mayest grant us both pardon and peace.
Ineffabilem nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam clementer ostende: ut simul nos et a peccatis omnibus exuas, et a pœnis quas pro his meremur, eripias. In Thy clemency, O Lord, show unto us Thine ineffable mercy; that Thou mayest both free us from sins and deliver us from the punishments which we deserve for them.
Deus, qui culpa offenderis, pænitentia placaris: preces populi tui supplicantis propitius respice; et flagella tuæ iracundiæ, quæ pro peccatis nostris meremur, averte. O God, who by sin art offended, and by penance appeased, mercifully regard the prayers of Thy people making supplication to Thee; and turn away the scourges of Thy wrath which we deserve for our sins.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, miserere famulo tuo Pontifici nostro N., et dirige eum secundum tuam clementiam in viam salutis æternæ: ut, te donante, tibi placita cupiat, et tota virtute perficiat. Almighty and everlasting God, have mercy upon Thy servant, N, our Sovereign Pontiff: and direct him according to Thy clemency into the way of everlasting salvation: that, by Thy grace, he may desire those things which are pleasing to Thee, and accomplish them with all his strength.
Deus, a quo sancta desideria, recta consilia, et iusta sunt opera: da servis tuis illam, quam mundus dare non potest, pacem; ut et corda nostra mandatis tuis dedita, et, hostium sublata formidine, tempora sint tua protectione tranquilla. O God, from Whom are holy desires, right counsels, and just works: grant to Thy servants the peace which the world cannot give; that our hearts may be devoted to the keeping of Thy commandments, and the fear of enemies being removed, the times, by Thy protection, may be peaceful.
Ure igne Sancti Spiritus renes nostros et cor nostrum, Domine: ut tibi casto corpore serviamus, et mundo corde placeamus. Inflame, O Lord, our reins and hearts with the fire of the Holy Ghost: that we may serve Thee with a chaste body and please Thee with a clean heart.
Fidelium, Deus omnium Conditor et Redemptor, animabus famulorum famularumque tuarum remissionem cunctorum tribue peccatorum: ut indulgentiam, quam semper optaverunt, piis supplicationibus consequantur O God, the Creator and redeemer of all the faithful, give to the souls of Thy servants departed the remission of all their sins: that through pious supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired.
Actiones nostras, quæsumus, Domine, aspirando præveni et adiuvando prosequere: ut cuncta oratio et operatio a te semper incipiat et per te cœpta finiatur. Direct, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our actions by Thy holy inspirations and carry them on by Thy gracious assistance: that every prayer and work of ours may begin always from Thee, and through Thee be happily ended.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui vivorum dominaris simul et mortuorum, omniumque misereris, quos tuos fide et opere futuros esse prænoscis: te supplices exoramus; ut pro quibus effundere preces decrevimus, quosque vel præsens sæculum adhuc in carne retinet vel futurum iam exutos corpore suscepit, intercedentibus omnibus Sanctis tuis, pietatis tuæ clementia, omnium delictorum suorum veniam consequantur. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum. Almighty and everlasting God, who hast dominion over the living and the dead, and art merciful to all, of whom Thou foreknowest that they will be Thine by faith and good works: we humbly beseech Thee; that they for whom we intend to pour forth our prayers, whether this present world still detain them in the flesh, or the world to come hath already received them out of their bodies, may, through the intercession of all Thy Saints, by the clemency of Thy goodness, obtain the remission of all their sins. Through Christ our Lord.
℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with Thy spirit.
℣. Exaudiat nos omnipotens et misericors Dominus.
℟. Amen.
℣. May the almighty and most merciful Lord graciously hear us.
℟. Amen.
℣. Et fidelium animæ per misericordiam Dei requiescant in pace.
℟. Amen.
℣. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
℟. Amen.

The Mass of the second day of the Forty Hours’ Devotion is the solemn Mass for Peace with a commemoration of the Blessed Sacrament. On certain days, however, the Mass of the Feast occurring must be celebrated.

On the third day as well as on the first day of the Forty Hours’ Devotion the Mass to be celebrated is the Solemn Votive of the Blessed Sacrament. On certain occasions there is an exception to this rule. During the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi the Mass is that of the Octave together with the sequence: Lauda Sion Salvatorem.

For the close of the Forty Hours the celebrant puts on the cope and kneels at the foot of the altar. The Litany is chanted as far as the “Domine exaudi orationem meam,” then the Blessed Sacrament is incensed and the procession takes place, during which the hymn Pange Lingua is sung. At the end of the procession the Blessed Sacrament is placed on the altar, and the choir sings the Tantum Ergo Sacramentum. This hymn being finished the celebrant sings the versicle “Panem de cœlo,” etc., and the choir responds, “Omne delectamentum,” etc. Then the celebrant rises and chants the Prayers, after which is given Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.