Tuesday, September 16, 2008

HISTORY OF EUCHARISTIC ADORATION

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It all began at the Last Supper on Holy Thursday...

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1st Century: Evangelists and St. Paul made it plain to the apostolic Church that the Eucharistic Elements were literally Jesus Christ continuing His saving mission among men (according to "the tradition which I handed on to you that came to me from "The Lord Himself""(1 Cor. II: 23-26)). Ignatius of Antioch warned people to not be taken in by the Gnostics who denied the Real Presence and thus abstained from The Eucharist.

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2nd Century: The Rite of Fermentum was practiced. This was when a Particle of Communion (sometimes dipped in The Precious Blood) was transported from the Pope or from the Bishop of one Diocese to the Bishop of another, to be consumed at his next Mass as a token of unity of faith between the two churches.

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3rd Century: Hermits reserved the Eucharist in their cells so that they could give themselves Communion and pay their homage to The Eucharistic Lord. Monks carried the Eucharist on them either in a small receptacle called a Chrismal, or in a bag (Perula) around their neck.

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4th Century: The Council of Nicea in 325 declared that the Eucharist could be reserved in Churches and Monasteries. St. Basil used to put 1/3 of The Eucharistic Bread in a golden dome suspended over the altar.

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9th Century: The Eucharist was kept within the monastic church near the altar in a pyx. In Milan, the "Oblationaires" of St. Ambrose, were pioneers of public Eucharistic devotion outside the Mass. These were a group of 10 poor men and 10 poor women who, on feast days, would bring the people's oblation of bread and wine to the altar at the offertory of an Ambrosian-Rite Mass.

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11th Century: Pope Gregory's teaching on the Real Presence began a Eucharistic Renaissance. Processions of the Blessed Sacrament were instituted; prescribed acts of Adoration were legislated; visits to Christ in the pyx were encouraged; the cells of anchoresses had windows made into the church to allow the religious to view and adore before the Tabernacle.

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13th Century: Pope Urban IV instituted the Feast of Corpus Christi (8/11/1264) and commissioned Thomas Aquinas to compose the Liturgy of the Hours. St. Thomas also composed the hymns "O Salutaris Hostia", "Tantum Ergo Sacramentum", and "Panis Angelicus". After his victory over the Albigenses, King Louis VII asked the Bishop of Avignon to have the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the Chapel of the Holy Cross. The throng of adorers was so great that the Bishop decided to have Adoration continue day and night. It continued uninterrupted for 5 centuries (!) until 1792 (the time of the French Revolution). Perpetual Adoration resumed in 1829. St. Anthony (the hammer of heretics) helped to spread Eucharistic fervor by his preaching.

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14th Century: Clement VI asked the Armenians (who wanted financial assistance) to accept the statement that "after the words of Consecration there is present numerically the same (idem numero) Body of Christ as was born of the Virgin and was immolated on the cross." St. Catherine of Siena showed great devotion to The Eucharist in her dictated "Letters" and "Dialogue". To satisfy her longing for the Lord, the Pope allowed her a portable altar, and a Priest to sustain her ,and her "happy companions", with The Eucharist. At Munich, a nobleman bequeathed a sum of money for the construction of a Tabernacle "where The Blessed Sacrament will be perpetually exposed".

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15th Century: Pope Martin V and the General Council of Constance declared as an article of faith that "the entire Body and Blood of Christ are truly contained both under the species of bread and under the species of wine". This was in response to the 'Calixtines' who claimed that the whole Christ is not received unless Communion is received under both forms.

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16th Century: The Council of Trent stated that - "The only-begotten Son of God is to be adored in The Holy Sacrament of The Eucharist with the worship of (Latria), including external worship. The Sacrament, therefore, is to be honored with extraordinary festive celebrations (and) solemnly carried from place to place in processions according to the praiseworthy universal rites and customs of the Holy Church. The Sacrament is to be publically exposed for the peoples adoration.". Pope Clement VII issued a historic document on what was called in Italian "Quarant Ore" (Forty Hours) - with such an arrangement of churches and times that, at every hour of the day and night, the incense of prayer shall ascend without intermission before the face of The Lord.

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17th Century: The Benedictines of the Perpetual Adoration of The Blessed Sacrament took a vow of Perpetual Adoration.

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18th Century: Clement XIII, published a detailed set of instructions for the proper carrying out of the Forty-Hours devotion: The Blessed Sacrament is always exposed on the high Altar, except in patriarchal Basilicas; Statues, relics and pictures around the Altar of Exposition are to be removed or veiled; Only Clerics in surplices may take care of the Altar of Exposition; There must be continuous relays of worshippers before The Blessed Sacrament and should include a Priest or Cleric in major orders; No Masses are to be said at the Altar of Exposition.

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19th Century: The "Congregation of The Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and of Perpetual Adoration of The Blessed Sacrament of The Altar", was established to honor and imitate the four states of Christ's life. The "Pious Union of The Adorers of The Most Blessed Sacrament" (a mens nocturnal adoration society) was begun in Rome. The "Archconfraternity of Perpetual Adoration of The Blessed Sacrament and the Work of Needy Churches" was established in Brussels. Herman Cohen (a Jewish convert Carmelite) founded a similar society in parishes. Also, Filippo Smaldone (recently beatified) founded the "Eucharistic League of Priest Adorers" and "Women Adorers". St. Peter J. Eymard began the "People's Eucharistic League" so that laymen might share the Eucharistic spirit and the work of the Religious Congregation he founded. The "Sister Adorers of The Precious Blood" were established in Canada. The "Congregation of Perpetual Adores" came into being. The first International Eucharistic Congress was held at Lille in 1881. At the fifth Congress at Toulouse in 1886, over fifteen-hundred bishops and priests, and thirty-thousand of the laity participated.

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20th Century: The "Sisters of the Adoration of The Blessed Sacrament" (Adoration Sisters) of the "Malabar Rite" were founded in India. St. John Neuman, the great missionary of Western New York, is to be credited with the introduction of the "Forty Hours of Eucharistic Adoration and Reparation" in the USA. Pope Benedict XV issued the 1st Code of Canon Law which legislated the Reservation of The Blessed Sacrament "in every parish or quasi-parish church.". Pius XI associated the worship of Christ in The Blessed Sacrament with expiation for sin. St. Margaret Mary was canonized. The 2nd Vatican Council further promoted Adoration of The Blessed Sacrament and the Real Presence. The Angel at Fatima and the Blessed Mother taught us to adore the Blessed Sacrament and make reparation for our sins. Pope John Paul II promotes The Eucharist in his many Encyclicals and sermons. "20(+) Hours of Adoration in Reparation for 20(+) Years of Abortion" is begun in Western New York by the Eucharistic Adoration Society. Fr. Frank Pavone promotes this Adoration in his Priests for Life Newsletter.

(Adapted from the "History Notes" a Fr. S. Casarotto - a Scalabrinian Missionary and Pastor of St. Anthony's Church, Buffalo, NY.) and from "HISTOREA.TXT" downloaded from EWTN.
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Eucharistic Adoration News

I am slowly going to begin to add information from my Website "Eucharistic Adoration News" to this Blog, as our Lord's Divine Mercy is very evident in His "remaining with us always" in The Most Holy Eucharist.