Photo by Unsplash.
Photo by Unsplash.

Trying to talk to God? Come to Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Albany. The local parish is hosting a Forty Hours of Devotion celebration, starting on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 8 a.m., lasting until midnight on Sunday, Dec. 8. The devotion is a special, continuous prayer made in the presence of the exposed Blessed Sacrament.

During the on-going 40 hours, at least one person will be at the church in the presence of the Eucharist to o­­­ffer worship and prayer.

During the devotion, the parish will also be participating in the National Night of Prayer for Life, a nationwide day of prayer dedicated to the protection of the unborn. Special prayers will begin on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Sunday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m., and go until midnight, when the Forty Hours of Devotion also concludes. 

The Society of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Joseph’s Church in Troy are sponsoring both events.

Mary Dooley, parishioner at Sacred Heart and organizer for the Forty Hours of Devotion/National Night for Life, said that offering the Devotion during the National Night for Life, “bridges these two feasts.”

“I’m from Ireland, so I grew up with this,” said Dooley. “We planned for (the Forty Hours of Devotion) on December 8 and 9 so the National Night for Life could be incorporated. Quite a few people involved come for those last four hours.”

Matthew Palardy, a pre-seminarian candidate at St. Isaac Jogues House of Formation in Albany, has been helping Sacred Heart with liturgies for the Forty Hours of Devotion. A Massachusetts native, Palardy came to the Diocese of Albany to follow his calling to the priesthood. Palardy said he always carried a particular draw to the practice of Latin Mass, which is offered at Sacred Heart parish.

When Palardy heard that Sacred Heart was organizing a Forty Hours of Devotion, he volunteered to help.

“We can never cherish in the Blessed Sacrament enough,” said Palardy. “We can adore our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and if we can do that, then why don’t we?”

The practice of Forty Hours of Devotion dates back to the mid-1500s. Three special graces are said to come about from this devotion: the protection from evil and temptation, reparation for our sins and for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, and deliverance from political, material and spiritual calamities.

The Forty Hours of Devotion will kick off with the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at 8 a.m., followed by solemn exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and opening prayers to begin immediately after Mass. Confession and First Saturday Devotions after the opening prayers will be offered as adoration continues for the following 40 hours.

During this time, Catholics can take the opportunity to pray whatever is on their mind. Praying the rosary, practicing meditation or simply talking to God about life are all ways participants can use their time in devotion. 

“Simply sit and speak heart-to-heart with the Lord present,” said Palardy. “There is no set way.”

During the four hours of the National Night for Life, participants will pray specifically for pro-life issues and the safety for the unborn, and pray to the Blessed Mother for helping all pro-life issues in the nation.

“Our Blessed Mother is the patron of the unborn,” Dooley said. “We’re asking for peace and protection of family life. It’s a special intention for the last four hours.”

Sign up for a specific hour by calling Margaret Purcell (518) 453-9302 or Mary Dooley (518) 463-7575. Otherwise join in whenever you can. All events take place at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, 33 Walter Street, Albany, N.Y.