null / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

CNA Newsroom, Sep 11, 2022 / 08:00 am (CNA).

This Sept. 11 marks 796 years since perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament began in Avignon, France, a practice that has now spread throughout the world.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, perpetual adoration refers to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament without interruption or with pauses for only short periods of time.

The term is used “in a moral sense, when it is interrupted only for a short time, or for imperative reasons, or for circumstances beyond control, to be resumed, however, as soon as possible,” he added.

The encyclopedia indicates that many experts attribute the beginning of the practice of adoration of Jesus in the Eucharist to the moment in which the feast of Corpus Christi was established in 1246 by Bishop Roberto de Thorete, at the suggestion of St. Juliana de Mont Cornillon.

However, the first recorded perpetual adoration was in Avignon in 1226.

On Sept. 11, King Louis VII asked to expose the Blessed Sacrament as a way to celebrate victory over the Albigensians, a sect that flourished in southern France in the 12th and 13th centuries.

“In thanksgiving, the Blessed Sacrament covered with a veil was exposed in the Chapel of the Holy Cross” in Orleans, reads the encyclopedia.

Faced with the large number of people who came to adore Jesus in the Eucharist, Bishop Pierre de Corbie “deemed it convenient to continue adoration at night, as well as during the day.”

The Holy See later ratified this perpetual adoration, which was maintained uninterruptedly until 1792, when it was stopped by the chaos of the French Revolution. It was resumed in 1829, thanks to the efforts of the Grey Penitents, a group of several confraternities. 

Perpetual adoration spread throughout Europe, and it was not until the creation of the Forty Hours’ Devotion, officially established in 1592, that this practice of Catholic faith really “developed in general.”

The devotion of the Forty Hours led to the practice of perpetual adoration in “several churches of Rome until it gradually spread throughout the world, so that it may truly be said that, during each hour of the year, the Blessed Sacrament, solemnly exposed, is adored by multitudes of faithful,” added the encyclopedia.

This article was first published by ACI Prensa on Sept.11, 2021. It has been translated and adapted for publication here.

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