Novenas for Our Mother of Perpetual Help and the Sacred Heart of Jesus
For decades now, we have been praying the novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help after the 7:30AM mass and before the 6:00 PM mass on Wednesdays, with a short exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at the end. Before Vatican Council II, it was rather common to have novenas with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Novenas, in those days, were held mostly in the afternoon. No masses were then held in the afternoon and evening. Hence, the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament served as a kind of substitute for the masses.
After the liturgical reform of Vatican Council II, however, masses are held daily in the morning, afternoon and evening. Hence, there is hardly any need for having the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, in as much as the holy mass is celebrated right after the novena. We noticed that the novena booklet (Perpetual Help Novena)
page 19, says, ”Benediction or Holy Mass,” not “Benediction and Holy Mass.” In churches or chapels where no masses are held on weekdays, the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is right.
In view of this, the pastoral team has decided that, if the mass is to follow the novena prayers in honor of the Mother of Perpetual Help, no exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will be held.
As for the First Friday devotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus we need to keep in mind the norms laid don by the church regarding holy hours. In the Second Instruction “Tres Abhinc Annos” 4 May 1967, on the implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, it says: It is necessary that when the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is solemn and prolonged, it should be begun at the end of the Mass in which the host to be exposed has been consecrated.