Night Of Love by John M. Haffert
Have you ever thought that during one night you could save a thousand souls?
It became a common belief among vigil groups (for a reason soon to be explained) that for every person making an all night vigil, a thousand souls, who would otherwise be lost, would receive the grace of final contrition.
At the first all night vigil to be held in New York City in May of 1969, Father Armand Dasseville, O.F.M. Cap., who at first may have thought this belief an exaggeration, exclaimed at the close of that first vigil at St. John's Church (next to Madison Square Garden in New York) to some two hundred tired but spiritually invigorated vigilers:
"I feel indeed that for everyone who made this vigil tonight, a thousand souls were saved."
Twenty-five years and 300 all night vigils later, at the special 25th anniversary vigil in 1984 he said: "If the Lord were to speak from the monstrance tonight He would most likely paraphrase what he once said to the centurion: "I have not found such faith in so long a time!"
Cardinal O'Connor, the Archbishop of New York, was the special speaker at that golden jubilee vigil at St. John's. His Eminence said to the persevering vigilers:
When the apostles went out on their first mission, they were very excited about the miracles they could work. But they were frustrated that they couldn't drive out certain demons. Our Lord told them, 'this particular demon can only be driven out with prayer and fasting.' That is the secret the vigilers realize, and the Church owes all of you a great debt...not only the Church in New York, but the universal Church."
Yet not one church in New York, of the several contacted, would even consider having a vigil back in the decade of the sixties. "Who would come? Who would risk being out in the city at night and going home in the early hours of the morning? Who would provide security?"
Does that sound familiar?
Finally, one church had the courage to begin. It was St. John's, a church then scheduled for demolition!
The results were amazing. The very first night there were over 200 vigilers. Month after month, the numbers did not diminish, but gradually increased! The once moribund parish came alive. The church was renewed and enlarged. And little by little other churches began to hold vigils, including the most famous of all, St. Patrick's Cathedral.
These vigils are called A Night of Love," said Fr. Armand at the jubilee vigil at St. John's. "It is a night of prayer honoring the Two Hearts. The secular world naturally laughs and scoffs but the all night vigil was in fact inspired by God. The Old and New Testaments are replete with examples of night vigils.
Example of Our Lord
How often we read that Our Lord "spent the night in prayer." The most famous night is the one before He died when he took three apostles aside with Him, called to the, awakened them. Could they not watch with Him?
In the five volumes of the life of Our Lord by Maria Valtorta one reads again and again that Our Lord, after giving the day to the world, often spent the entire night in prayer. One especially poignant example only a few weeks before His Passion was after Judas refused to change. As all were retiring for the night He said to the much tempted apostle:
"I will not sleep tonight. I will pray and wait for you." If the about-to-be traitor would but come to Him during that night, he would be saved. Without calling the attention of the others. He held back His Mother, saying:
"I am staying to pray for Judas. Mother, will you help me?"
The Sacred Hearts prayed together as the moon crossed the sky and set, the first crowing of a rooster was heard, and then another, and gradually came the gray light of dawn. But Judas had not come.
Jesus looked at His Mother and said:
"You are pale, Mother. Great is Your fatigue...God will make use of our prayer.
Almost at that moment, an old woman came out of a nearby house. She had been very helpful to Our Lord and the apostles in a hostile area. Greeting her, Jesus said: "May the Lord reward you."
She answered that she wanted no reward, but there was one thing she would ask: That her husband would change. Although Judas had not responded, Jesus said at once to the good woman: "Go in peace. It will be done to you as you wish." And her husband had the grace of conversion.
God does not force anyone's will. Judas became the traitor after refusing the graces poured out to him. But the all night vigil of Our Lord and His dear Mother was far from in vain. Indeed, only in Heaven will we know how many souls received the grace of conversion because of that one night of prayer.
Our Lord asked His Mother to join Him. For the salvation of many souls he asks US to unite our hearts to her Immaculate Heart..
Blessed by John XXIII
The vigil movement was given great impetus at Fatima in 1960 when the Bishop of Fatima invited bishops around the world to participate in a vigil either at Fatima or in their own dioceses. Some three hundred bishops responded and elicited from Pope John XXIII, who participated in Rome, a cabled blessing: To all who participated in the all night vigil at Fatima, and to all united with them in other parts of the world.
St. John's, in the very heart of Manhattan, became the first to take the risk of holding a vigil in New York City. And little by little other churches followed. And thus it has been around the world for the last four decades of the twentieth century.
Who would have thought that thousands of lay persons would give up a night's sleep, even though many would have to work the following day, to spend a night to honor the Sacred heart of Jesus in union with the Heart of Mary? Who would have thought that with virtually no urging from the pulpit these multitudes would seek out churches holding these vigils?
Cardinal Heenan of London (Archbishop of Westminster) said:
"Until now it has been left to enclosed monks and nuns to watch and pray for the Church and the world. It is a sign of the awakening interest of the laity that ordinary men and women are now sharing the contemplation and the vigils." His Eminence continued:
"It is not difficult for Religious (monks and nuns) to arrange to spend a night in prayer. Lay people, and especially married people, must disrupt their lives to spend a night in prayer. They must be careful not to disrupt other members of the familly...I wholeheartedly bless the self-sacrificing apostolate of the all night vigil."
Archbishop Thomas Pearson, S.M., said: "My own impression of All Night Vigils is that it is a work of a very high order, especially suited to the needs of our day...a generous act of continuous prayer and penance...a response to the invitation of Our Lady, unalloyed with any mixed motives and a powerful antidote to selfish materialism.
There is no natural explanation for such unselfishness, such spiritual generosity at a time when Satan would seem to be more than ever the Prince of this world.
The explanation, which we are about to present, is a matter of the heart...our hearts and the Sacred Hearts.
This book (perhaps because it was one of the first) became a sort of "handbook" for vigilers. When the last printing was exhausted we heard of persons who made photocopies, and of copies repaired with tape and being used almost to the point of disintegration.
Particularly touching were two letters from an old priest and his housekeeper, when their copies of the book were lost. Apparently, one had forgotten to mention to the other about having written. The first letter, received a few days apart from the second, was Rose Heil, of Wausau, Wisconsin:
"Dear Mr. Haffert: You do not know me but I feel I know you. For 58 years I have been keeping house for Father Herman Dietz. Many years a go we ordered two copies of Night of Love which we have been using for Holy Hours ever since.
"Last month I forgot to bring the books home with me from church. Early the next morning I went over before anyone came, but the books were gone. So I am writing for a special favor. Could you send us two more? The thoughts in this book are so helpful to make a good Holy Hour."
The second letter, from Father Herman Dietz, read:
"I have used this wonderful book for many years. Recently after making a first Saturday Holy Hour I left it in the church. Someone took it. It is so good, I suppose whoever took it, liked it and kept it. I am 91 and too old to make an all night vigil, so I make only a holy Hour and make it daily."
Enclosed was a request for two books.
The Vigil Is Like an Extended Holy Hour
The "thoughts' to which Fr. Dietz refers (in Part II of this book) are based on the mysteries of the Rosary. They originated not so much in front of a computer but in front of the Blessed Sacrament in the actual making of a vigil. And for those who cannot make a vigil, like 91 year old Fr. Dietz, a holy hour a day adds up to far more than one vigil a month. But for those who are able, "the night of love" is often the beginning of a new life.
Following is the testimony of some young people who explain how they came to make a vigil in the first place, and what happened as a result. Their experience (and it is typical) explains the growth of the vigils and why we say it is a matter of the heart...our hearts and the Sacred Hearts.
The first testimony is that of a young vigiler of the Holy Family Church in Artesia, CA.
Testimony of Ben DeGuzman
"It was eleven o'clock when my mom woke me up one evening to go to the Communion of Reparation vigil. Not only was I sleepy but a little angry with her for waking me. Bust she pleaded with me to come with her even for ten minutes to 'visit with Jesus,' as she put it.
"I already went to church Sunday. I try to pray every night. I am even a lector in our church. Wasn't this enough? I thought of myself as a pretty good person who loved and served the Lord. What more can happen by going to this vigil?
"Sleepy and, as I said, sort of angry, I was not about to go. But my mom seemed so pleading. And besides I did not want her to drive that late at night all by herself. I decided to go for her sake.
"I never expected it to change my life.
"That was two years ago and since then I have gone to the vigils every first Friday-Saturday except for the times we were away on vacation. I had never before understood loving with my "whole self" or what it is like to offer myself to God. Now I have a completely new understanding of our Most Blessed Mother and her Son, Our Lord. To stay awake to adore Jesus and pray to Mary makes you realize how much you love Them.
What Keeps Me Going?
Sometimes I ask, what keeps me going? Why do I keep coming?
"I often look around during the vigil. Why do these people come? Often times they come from work in their uniforms and they stay from 6 o'clock Friday evening to eight the next morning, then they go back to work. Ladies, with husbands and children at home sleeping show up month after month, never saying they are tired or wishing they, too, were home sleeping.
"They are the ones who inspire me to love Jesus and Mary through this devotion.
"I sometimes forget how hard it was for me to come that first time, how my mom had to beg me. I thought I was doing her a favor. Yet now, because of her, my life has changed. I find myself looking forward to the vigils. The First Fridays of the month come at a time when I need them most. A time when I stop everything and come to talk with Jesus with my whole body, releasing all the worries and challenges in my life and offering it all to Him.
"Yet there is always a strong temptation to say: 'But not this time." After all I am still young and Friday nights are times to go out with friends or catch up on precious sleep...but the love of the Sacred Hearts has had at least this one triumph, as I know They will one day triumph in the world.
Always a Temptation to say "Not this time"
There is one little sentence in the testimony above that might be overlooked but which is typical. Ben said that every first Friday he is tempted to say "Well, just not this time...not tonight.
There seems always some reason why this night should be an exception: The day was too tiring, there is something scheduled early tomorrow, there is something else I want to do tonight.
Although this temptation seems constant with every vigiler, often at the last moment, vigilers respond to the call of the Sacred Hearts.
Following is the testimony of Monica Street, of Dover, Delaware, who writes:
"I was invited to the night vigils to the Two hearts but every time I would try to attend, something invariably happened to prevent me from going. One has to really want to go.
"I was finally able to make my first vigil in Dover in June of 1995. And seeing is believing!
Now, I am part of a team which promotes the First Friday/First Saturday all night vigils in Wilmington, our State capital. We started another vigil at Our Lady of Fatima parish in New Castle with the permission of the pastor, Fr. Michael McDermott, who is now our Spiritual Director."
Another example is that of young Luina Dawn Capalla from Cerritos, CA., who writes:
Why I Have Changed
"My sister would always invite me when she went to the first Friday-Saturday vigils. But I was reluctant to deprive myself of sleep.
"After six months of watching her get ready every first Friday to spend the whole night in prayer, I decided to taker her up on her offer and went with her mostly out of curiosity.
"At the evening Mass I was amazed to see such a large number of young people gathered in church on a Friday night. Not only did they sing beautiful songs that reawakened my awareness of God's presence, but after Mass, quite a number of them lined up for Confession.
"I usually see kids go to Confession with their mothers propelling them toward the Confessional, yet here were teenagers willingly lining up without adults prodding them! It was very inspiring.
"We recited the rosary and said the Nine Offices of the Sacred heart of Jesus. Then we went to eat. Of course, some stayed behind for silent adoration. After the break, we went back to the church and recited the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. Around 5 a.m., one of the priests led the procession of the Blessed Sacrament around the parking lot. At 5:30 a.m., the priest said the Mass of our Lady and then we all went home. Amazingly enough, I was not tired at all. Was that one of the reasons my sister kept coming back?
Conversion Stories
"But then I began to learn the real reason. I heard many conversion stories.
"One guy used to belong to a band. He had very long hair and was an excellent guitarist. After becoming involved with the Alliance, he used his talents for God by playing at all the seminars and all-night vigils. Wherever they needed him, he went.
"Another story I heard was about a young man who belonged to a gang. He was notorious and many kids feared him. He became involved with the vigils and completely changed.
"My own conversion story is less dramatic. I continued to attend the all-night vigils but I thought it was mostly because of the friendly vigilers, the beautiful music they sang, and the pleasant 'break' when we enjoyed company and food.
"But I was beginning to pay attention to the God I had often ignored. I realized how indifferent I, as well as many young people my age, have been in the presence of Jesus and Mary...a presence we experience at the vigils. It was evident that we were doing something important.
"We knew about vicious crimes committed by our peers but now were made more aware of all the outrages, sacrilege, and indifference offending the Sacred Heart of Jesus. These outrages occur with more frequency each day, and the age of the perpetrators of these crimes gets younger. How can it change except by God's Grace?
"Now I know it is not enough to pray individually. Our times call for communal prayer and atonement in order to change the hardened and indifferent hearts around us.
"I am sure this is what attracted my sister...and this is why I have joined her and so many others in making Communions of Reparation. With the grace of God, I will continue to do so. Who knows...I may make others wonder what attracts me and then, as I did, come and see..."
During One Night You Could Save 1000 Souls  
Tremendous Benefit For Our Priests Who Have Become Involved  
Making Reparation For Sin Can Save The World  
Nights of Love make history  
Special Days of the Two Hearts  
The Lord Made A Worldwide Call  
Suggested Vigil Programs and Guidelines  
First Words at Lourdes  
All Night Vigil Meditations On The Rosary  
Joyful Mysteries For All Night Vigil  
Sorrowful Mysteries For All Night Vigil  
Glorious Mysteries For All Night Vigil  
Alternative Programs For All Night Vigil  
Additional Suggestions For First Friday/Saturday Reparation Vigil Services  
Night Of Love by John M. Haffert
Please Join Us For First Friday/Saturday All Night Prayer Vigil
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