Night Of Love by John M. Haffert
Although the idea of a night of prayer before the blessed Sacrament came to the world three hundred years ago in a little chapel in Paray le Monial, France, when Our Lord appeared out of the monstrance and pleaded for reparation to Him in the Sacrament of His love, it was not until our own day that night adoration began to emerge from the cloisters and to become an organized movement among the laity.
Indeed, it would be more proper to say that only in most recent years, as a response to the appeal of Our Lady of Fatima for reparation, all night vigils have become an international phenomenon of faith.
How It Began
It became a custom to have the blessed Sacrament exposed at Fatima all night on the vigil of the anniversary of Our Lady's appearances, because thousands of pilgrims came to Fatima on foot (sometimes walking five or more days) and had no place to sleep, except in or about the Cova of Fatima before attending Mass the following morning.
On behalf of these thousands of pilgrims spending the night in the great natural amphitheater of Fatima, prayers and exhortations before our Eucharistic Lord sounded from the loudspeakers until Communion was distributed in the early morning hours to tens of thousands of joyfully tired pilgrims.
Pilgrims then began to come in increasing numbers to spend the entire night in prayer and reparation, rather than to come just the following morning for the Pontifical Mass and procession in celebration of the anniversaries of the apparitions.
It seemed that Our Lady, who had appealed here for reparation, was literally drawing people to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament for a night of sacrifice and prayer.
Then, as we have already mentioned, in 1960 an "official" recognition of the importance of the vigil came from His Holiness, Pope John XXIII.
This Pope had called Fatima the "Hope of the world," and it was he who had opened the last part of the Fatima secret that same year.
Could it have been because of the secret that shortly after reading it, His Holiness met alone with the Bishop of Fatima and the Bishop subsequently wrote to all the other bishops of the world to announce a special all night vigil of reparation at Fatima on October 13 of that year, suggesting similar in their own dioceses. Over three hundred bishops agreed.
After the vigil, Pope John sent a long, spontaneous cablegram to the Bishop of Fatima expressing gratitude and a special blessing on all who participated in this vigil, "not only at Fatima, but everywhere in the world." It is believed that Pope John himself spent that entire night before the Blessed Sacrament in union with the pilgrims at Fatima and in other places where hours of sacrifice and reparation were made.
A Worldwide Call
Meanwhile, even as at Fatima, Our Lady seemed literally to be drawing people to reparation before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. She had already begun to do so in other parts of the world.
In 1954, Pope Pius XII proclaimed an extraordinary Marian Year. This compelled a devout and extremely competent priest in England to organize a national pilgrimage to the ancient shrine of Walsingham, which had once been the greatest Marian Shrine in the English Isles.
As at Fatima, it was at first necessary to remain without lodging because of inadequate accommodations at the shrine, which had been destroyed during the reformation, that an all night vigil became the object of the pilgrimage: a day up from London, a night of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, and a day's trip back.
Those who made that pilgrimage were so overwhelmed with the return of love that Our Lord made to them from the Blessed Sacrament, that they were impatient to have an all night vigil again. In 1956 they chartered a plane to Fatima...paying all the expenses just to fly tot he Shrine, spend a night, and fly back!
Since Fatima was so far away, they soon began going regularly to Lourdes.
Within ten years after that first vigil in Walsingham, 33,000 vigils were made in Lourdes by English laymen and women who paid for the plane flight, and took their weekend to spend a night at the grotto in sacrifice and prayer before Our Eucharistic Lord (Click Here For the Henrietta Bower Vigil Program).
On one occasion when we met these vigilers at Lourdes, their leader, Mrs. Henrietta Bower, asked us to join her in the Stations of the Cross. She had spent the entire night in prayer and looked terribly tired. We knew that this extraordinary woman, wife of a member of the British Parliament and herself from a noble family, had caused THOUSANDS of persons to make the sacrifice of a sleepless night of prayer and penance because of the message of Fatima.
When we began that very long and very rocky ascent, Mrs. Bower took off her shoes. She walked barefoot over the sharp stones. So did we. Somehow we knew that, after a night of prayer and almost two days without any regular sleep, she was doing this with the fervent prayer that we might somehow extend the message of the All Night vigil to America, and we joined in that intention.
She later confirmed this when she came to America in 1960 when the vigil movement in America was launched simultaneously in 80 dioceses.
And so one can say it has been directly by the Grace of God that this wonderful movement has spread in our day as never before. (There has been a practice of all night vigils in the Church since earliest times, like the famous Easter Vigil.)
It should be noted that the All Night vigil is very different from the forty hour devotion, or nights of holy hours in which different persons take turns. A full night is given by each person from the opening evening Mass to the closing Mass in the morning.
One member of the all night vigil group from England, Mrs. Gladys Tower, said:
"It is no small thing to remain without sleep during and after a long journey by plane across the sea and most of France; all day and the entire night in Lourdes and part of the next morning, until the pilgrims finally reach home. Yet, it has been done by thousands, even with enjoyment and in spite of adverse weather conditions; fear of accidents; irregular meals; and the gift of all one's time in Lourdes to Our Lady. It was wonderful is the usual comment to which is often added the story of a personal favor granted to pilgrims who put themselves and their requests last." Mrs. Tower sums up all the reasons which have compelled her and an increasing number of thousands around the world to give such a night of prayer:
"It is said that the penances the devil really fears are the curtailment of food, drink and sleep. We know the little Seers of Fatima did all three; while St. Bernadette humiliated herself in the dust, when commanded by Our Lady to wash in the muddy water which is now the famous miraculous spring."
The main elements of a vigil are Holy Mass, procession of the Blessed Sacrament, procession of Our Lad's statue, stations of the cross, a coffee break, homilies, meditated Rosary closing Benediction and Mass.
When done well, the program is so full that the night doesn't seem long enough. When not done well, it could be dull. Fortunately, we have rarely seen it done other than well. As almost all vigilers will testify, there is a magic about this night with Our Lord, this night of truly fulfilling the greatest desire of our Mother expressed in every one of Her comings: FOR REPARATION.
But as in everything, one gets out what one puts in. and for a most successful vigil one should have a well prepared program and follow some tested guidelines.
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
Site Designed & Maintained by: Scarmozzino Design Company