July 4th: The First Friday Vigil
In the closing hours of the night, while most people are at home sleeping, a growing number of people are praying in a monthly powerhouse Eucharistic centered all-night Vigil every First Friday in the Church. The Vigil, which draws worshippers from all over the Archdiocese begins Friday at 9 p.m. with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and public recitation of the Rosary followed by Confession and silent Adoration. Around 10:45 there is benediction followed by a solemn Mass at 11 p.m.
The elements of Meditation on the Mysteries of the Rosary, Confession, Adoration, and receiving Jesus in Holy Communion make up what is known as the Communion of Reparation.
Reparation is a principle of law that has existed for centuries. Reparation refers to the obligation of the wrongdoing party to redress the damage caused to the injured party. Reparation isn’t just a matter of law, but it is also a theological doctrine firmly rooted in the Christian faith. By voluntary submission to His Passion and Death on the Cross, Jesus Christ atoned for our disobedience and sin. He thus made reparation to the offended majesty of God for the outrages which the Creator so constantly suffers at the hands of His creatures.
As Christians we are called to make reparation for our sins and we can unite our sufferings and sacrifices to those of Christ. We can even make atonement for the sins of our family and friends. Our Sacrifices are good, but there is no greater sacrifice than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the one and same sacrifice of Christ that occurred more than 2,000 years ago. Thus the Mass is the 4th element of the Communion of Reparation and it is towards a more fruitful Holy Communion that the other three elements are directed.
Praying the rosary, regular confession, and spending time in adoration helps increase our disposition to better receive our Lord in Holy Communion. The elements of the Communion of Reparation were made known by the Blessed Virgin Mary in her apparitions to Sister Lucia at Fatima.
The reparation offered to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary are sorely needed today, and the people who come and fully participate are the greatest witnesses to the beauty and peace experienced.
“The night time hours were chosen for good reason,” says a particpant. “Giving up sleep is hard, and the sacrifice brings greater graces for the conversion of family and friends. This is the time of the day when Jesus prayed at Gethsemane. It is also a time when most people are available to pray as the hours don’t conflict with their schedules, just their sleep.”
“Eucharistic adoration transforms hearts, no doubt about it,” she says. “The more people that join , the more hearts will be transformed. An entire culture can be transformed if only people will hear and respond to ‘His voice’ and not continue in the hardness of their hearts.”