Q: I’ve received a request to set up 40 Hours Devotion here at my parish. As I have never seen this devotion done before, I am not sure how this is “supposed to look”. After a basic online search, I see how this devotion has had guidelines in the past; and that it might have guidelines that are to be followed still.
If so, can you point me in the right place?
A: Very good of you to do this.
The main liturgical book for this is Holy Communion and Eucharistic Worship Outside Mass.
The third chapter deals with Forms of Worship of the Eucharist, and covers the rules for Lengthy Exposition in 83 and in 86-88. It does not specifically refer to the devotion of “Forty Hours,” but you can deduce the outlines from there.
In brief, start with mass, at which you consecrate a 3-inch host (94). Put that host in the lunette after communion and incense it. Then say the communion prayer, and omit the concluding rites.
If exposition does not take place overnight, you may conclude it simply (83, 88).
“Forty” hours does not have to be precisely forty hours, so whenever you decide to end it, you do benediction and reposition. There was a tradition behind celebrating mass to conclude the devotion, but that need not be done now. The interest is in using the period of exposition for adoration, readings, prayers (89) – that sort of thing. You could even preach during that time.