This year's Forty Hours devotion, often known by its Italian name as Quarant'Ore, began last evening with a Mass and procession celebrated by Bishop Hopes.
The Cathedral is open day and night during this period for devotion before the Blessed Sacrament. The Holy Father especially commended this practice in his recent letter on the Eucharist Sacramentum Caritatis. There he said that worship is a natural response to our reception of the Eucharist. Pope Benedict quotes Saint Augustine: “no one eats that flesh without first adoring it; we should sin were we not to adore it." The very act of receiving the Eucharist means adoring Him whom we receive; so our adoration will enhance our reception of, and understanding of, this precious gift.
Celebrating matins at 3.00am this morning, when the above image was taken, was a deeply prayerful experience. About 30 people were present in the Cathedral, and the atmosphere of our prayers and chants rising into the silence of the night, before the Lord present with us in that stillness, was extremely powerful.