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Forty Hours at Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini

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For the past few years, the FSSP parish in Rome, Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, has celebrated the traditional devotion of the Forty Hours of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on the three days before Lent begins. Three years ago, we published an article by Henri de Villiers in a translation by the authors of the blog Canticum Salomonis, on the origin and significance of this practice, which also explains a bit about the “machina”, as it is called in Italian, which is set on the main altar especially for this kind of exposition. Our thanks to the parish for sharing these beautiful photos with us.

The Archconfraternity of the Most Holy Trinity of the Pilgrims traditionally did the Forty Hours devotion once every month, and for many years, it was maintained continually in Rome, beginning in one church as it ended in another. A special medallion is therefore hung over the door of the church to let passersby know that the exposition is going on, inviting them to come in and pray before the Lord.

A solemn votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament is celebrated before the Exposition begins.

Our Roman pilgrim friend Agnese Bazzucchi attends the Mass among the members of the archconfraternity. Their habit includes a medallion with an image of their founder, St Philip Neri, kneeling before the Holy Trinity, amid a group of the members and the pilgrims whom they took care of.

The members of the archconfraternity receive the peace with a pax brede.

During Communion, the candles are lit on the high altar for exposition.

Before the ablutions, the Blessed Sacrament is set in a monstrance, which the deacon then brings up to the machina. The rest of the Mass is then celebrated according to the rules for a Missa coram Sanctissimo.

Notice here how both the priest and deacon shift over towards the Gospel side when they have to address the people (“Dominus vobiscum”, “Ite, missa est.”), so as not to turn their backs on the Blessed Sacrament.

The first part of Benediction.

The Sacrament is then brought back down from the machina for a procession through the church.

It is then returned to the altar, and left exposed for the next forty hours.


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