UPDATED: Forty Hours serves as teaching tool on Eucharist for Holmdel parish

November 10, 2023 at 10:06 a.m.

By MARY STADNYK
Associate Editor

Forty Hours, the solemn, centuries-old Eucharistic devotion, was held in St. Benedict Parish for the first time, bringing parishioners and guests together for prayer, reflection and contemplation centering around the physical presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

The Holmdel parish held the Nov. 5-7 devotion as part of its observance of the Eucharistic Revival, said Father Garry Koch, pastor. The devotion included Masses and private prayer, and different priests were invited to preach the homily or offer a reflection.

PHOTO GALLERY: Bishop celebrates closing of Forty Hours in Holmdel parish

Father Mariusz Koch, a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal from the Newark Archdiocese, offered a reflection on the tremendous faith and Eucharistic devotion of Servant of God Walter Ciszek, S.J., whose 25-year imprisonment in the gulags of the Soviet Union were recounted in his book, “With God in Russia.”

Father Daniel Kirk, a former parochial vicar at St. Benedict Parish who now serves as pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Cinnaminson, talked about the power and meaning of the Eucharist in his own life. He reflected on a recent pilgrimage to Italy: He celebrated Mass in the church in Lanciano where a Basilian monk experienced the first documented Eucharistic miracle around the year 750.

Forty Hours concluded with a Mass celebrated by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., who, in his homily, recounted highlights about the Eucharistic Revival, an initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that aims to foster deeper devotion and knowledge about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Referring to the 2019 Pew Research Center’s study that revealed only one-third of Catholics understood and believed in the Real Presence, Bishop O’Connell said, “The Eucharist has been with and in the Catholic Church for more than 2,000 years since the Lord Jesus’ Last Supper, and the story hasn’t changed.

“The bread and wine still become the Body and Blood of Christ and remain,” he said.

“My sisters and brothers, the revival that is needed is here,” Bishop O’Connell said, pointing to his heart.

“We need to give the Eucharist our thought and prayer. We are fortunate in our parish to have Forty Hours devotion, which provides us this opportunity to slow down, to calm down, to quiet down, to take a breath, to recognize and believe and adore and thank and beg,” the Bishop said.

“Let me invite you to deepen your Eucharistic devotion, your commitment to the Lord Jesus. Ask Jesus to help you never to take his presence and his love for granted.”

Father Koch said the Forty Hours was well received, including by students in the parish school —grades pre-K through eight — who experienced adoration and learned how to pray in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Students from nearby St. John Vianney High School and their campus minister, Patrick Smith, spent time in private adoration and prayed the Rosary together, and students from both schools gathered for Mass each day. Families in the religious education program gathered each afternoon for adoration and the Rosary, he said.

“The opportunity to attend the Forty Hours devotion was an inspiration and encouragement in faith for those who were able to attend some or all of the services, or to just spend quiet time with the Lord,” Father Koch said.

Bill Clark, a parishioner for about 25 years, said he came away from his first time participating in Forty Hours with “a renewed appreciation of the Eucharist and a deeper understanding about the Real Presence.”


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Forty Hours, the solemn, centuries-old Eucharistic devotion, was held in St. Benedict Parish for the first time, bringing parishioners and guests together for prayer, reflection and contemplation centering around the physical presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

The Holmdel parish held the Nov. 5-7 devotion as part of its observance of the Eucharistic Revival, said Father Garry Koch, pastor. The devotion included Masses and private prayer, and different priests were invited to preach the homily or offer a reflection.

PHOTO GALLERY: Bishop celebrates closing of Forty Hours in Holmdel parish

Father Mariusz Koch, a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal from the Newark Archdiocese, offered a reflection on the tremendous faith and Eucharistic devotion of Servant of God Walter Ciszek, S.J., whose 25-year imprisonment in the gulags of the Soviet Union were recounted in his book, “With God in Russia.”

Father Daniel Kirk, a former parochial vicar at St. Benedict Parish who now serves as pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Cinnaminson, talked about the power and meaning of the Eucharist in his own life. He reflected on a recent pilgrimage to Italy: He celebrated Mass in the church in Lanciano where a Basilian monk experienced the first documented Eucharistic miracle around the year 750.

Forty Hours concluded with a Mass celebrated by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., who, in his homily, recounted highlights about the Eucharistic Revival, an initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that aims to foster deeper devotion and knowledge about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Referring to the 2019 Pew Research Center’s study that revealed only one-third of Catholics understood and believed in the Real Presence, Bishop O’Connell said, “The Eucharist has been with and in the Catholic Church for more than 2,000 years since the Lord Jesus’ Last Supper, and the story hasn’t changed.

“The bread and wine still become the Body and Blood of Christ and remain,” he said.

“My sisters and brothers, the revival that is needed is here,” Bishop O’Connell said, pointing to his heart.

“We need to give the Eucharist our thought and prayer. We are fortunate in our parish to have Forty Hours devotion, which provides us this opportunity to slow down, to calm down, to quiet down, to take a breath, to recognize and believe and adore and thank and beg,” the Bishop said.

“Let me invite you to deepen your Eucharistic devotion, your commitment to the Lord Jesus. Ask Jesus to help you never to take his presence and his love for granted.”

Father Koch said the Forty Hours was well received, including by students in the parish school —grades pre-K through eight — who experienced adoration and learned how to pray in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Students from nearby St. John Vianney High School and their campus minister, Patrick Smith, spent time in private adoration and prayed the Rosary together, and students from both schools gathered for Mass each day. Families in the religious education program gathered each afternoon for adoration and the Rosary, he said.

“The opportunity to attend the Forty Hours devotion was an inspiration and encouragement in faith for those who were able to attend some or all of the services, or to just spend quiet time with the Lord,” Father Koch said.

Bill Clark, a parishioner for about 25 years, said he came away from his first time participating in Forty Hours with “a renewed appreciation of the Eucharist and a deeper understanding about the Real Presence.”

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