There is enough reason for the Catholic seeking to progress in holiness, to offer reparation for sins, and to adore Our Lord to participate in the forty hours devotion.
In modern times, the excesses of the celebration of carnival– excesses worsening in substance and intensity– provide a particularly appropriate spur to do so. This year’s outrage in Rio de Janeiro, where the statue of Christ the Redeemer looks down from Mt. Corcovado upon the “capital” of carnival, surrounds the choice of a 7-year old girl to be the “Samba Queen”. The usual role of the Samba Queen is to lead the throng down the streets, dressed in very little. One article calls her a “sex symbol”. In what is undoubtedly an unrelated piece of news, the same article states that Brazil is the second worst country for child prostitution, after Thailand.
Partially to offset the excesses of the carnival, which when the 40-hours custom was introduced in Rome in the sixteenth century probably did not encompass 7-year old sex symbols dancing for the lusts of men, the Church renews her call for the faithful to consider the practice of the Forty Hours devotion. There is the possibility of a plenary indulgence for so attending under the usual conditions. The article from Catholic Encyclopedia is here. Fish Eaters has a brief section here.
One of the hallmarks of the devotion, even apart from the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass, is the celebration of Mass in the presence of the exposed Blessed Sacrament. It is quite beautiful.
If you know of a parish in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis that will mark the Forty Hours from Quinquagesima Sunday until the vigil of Ash Wednesday, feel free to leave information in the combox.
Forty Hours Devotion
Confessions 1/2 hour before all Masses
Sunday, February 14- Quinquagesima Sunday 8am: Low Mass w/ organ; 10am: Solemn High Mass w/ procession of the Blessed Sacrament. Exposition all day and Reposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 6pm.
Monday, February 15- 8am Low Mass, followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. 12:10pm Low Mass at the Altar of St. Joseph. 6:30pm Solemn High Mass, followed by Reposition of the Blessed Sacrament
Tuesday, February 16- 8am Low Mass, followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. 12:10pm Low Mass at the Altar of St. Joseph. 6:30pm Solemn High Mass, followed by Procession of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction.
Finally, Ash Wednesday schedule at the Oratory below:
Wednesday, February 17- Ash Wednesday-Ashes will be distributed before all Masses. 8am; 12:15pm Low Mass; 6:30pm Solemn High Mass