In my last parish, I came across the Forty Hours for the first time. That was in 1995. At St Wilfrid`s, Gateshead they had just kept it going while it had died out in other parishes. It was always a very special time in the parish year and even though the congregation was not large and mostly elderly there was great enthusiasm to keep it going. I offered to stop at midnight and start again at 8am but volunteers always came forward to ensure that there was watching through the night, both nights. I understand that my successor as parish priest, Fr Dixon, has kept it going.
I went to St Wilfrid`s in the week to borrow their candle stands as we are having the Forty hours here at St Mary`s this year. I didn`t think there would be enough interest to fill all the watching slots but most of them have been accounted for. Again I am very pleased that people have volunteered for the night-watching. So we start tonight at 6pm and will continue through to 10am Mass on Tuesday morning. I`m hoping it will help deepen our devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and that it will become an annual event ( even if we need to borrow the stands from St Wilfrid`s every year).
Here`s a picture of the altar as it was set up this morning after Mass.