Holy Hour in Honor of St Paul the Apostle


After all have assembled, a song is sung as the priest or deacon, wearing a cope and accompanied by assisting ministers, enters the sanctuary.  All kneel as the celebrant puts on the humeral veil and proceeds to the Tabernacle.  Then he brings the Blessed Sacrament to the altar.

The Blessed Sacrament is placed on the altar.  The celebrant then kneels before the altar and incenses the Blessed Sacrament.  The opening song is concluded and a period of silent prayer follows.


The celebrant then goes to the chair, where he prays the opening prayer:

Almighty and eternal God, in Christ your Son you have shown your glory to the world. Guide the work of your Church: help it to proclaim your name,
to persevere in faith
and to bring your salvation to people everywhere.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.


First Reading

Ephesians 3:2-12 (LFM #873.5)
The mystery of Christ was made known to me by revelation;
the Gentiles are coheirs in the promise.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians

Brothers and sisters:
You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace
      that was given to me for your benefit,
      namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation,
      as I have written briefly earlier.
When you read this
      you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,
      which was not made known to human beings in other generations
      as it has now been revealed
      to his holy Apostles and prophets by the Spirit,
      that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same Body,
      and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.

Of this I became a minister by the gift of God’s grace
      that was granted me in accord with the exercise of his power.
To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given,
      to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ,
      and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery
      hidden from ages past in God who created all things,
      so that the manifold wisdom of God
      might now be made known through the Church
      to the principalities and authorities in the heavens.
This was according to the eternal purpose
      that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
      in whom we have boldness of speech
      and confidence of access through faith in him.

The word of the Lord.

All:   Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15 and 17

R/.   I will sing of your salvation.

                        In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
                        let me never be put to shame.
                        In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
                                    incline your ear to me, and save me.

R/.   I will sing of your salvation.

                        Be my rock of refuge,
                        a stronghold to give me safety,
            for you are my rock and my fortress.
                        O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.

R/.   I will sing of your salvation.

                        For you are my hope, O Lord;
                       my trust, O God, from my youth.
                        On you I depend from birth;
                       from my mother's womb you are my strength.

R/.   I will sing of your salvation.

                        My mouth shall declare your justice,
                       day by day your salvation.
                        O God, you have taught me from my youth,
                       and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.

R/.   I will sing of your salvation.

A period of silent prayer follows.

Second Reading

Romans 10:9-18 (LFM #873.4)
How can they hear without someone to preach?
How can people preach unless they are sent?

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans

Brothers and sisters:
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord
      and you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
      you will be saved.
For one believes with the heart and so is justified,
      and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
For the Scripture says,
      No one who believes in him will be put to shame.
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek;
      the same Lord is Lord of all,
      enriching all who call upon him.
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed?
And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone to preach?
And how can people preach unless they are sent?
As it is written,
      How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!
But not everyone has heeded the good news;
      for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed what was heard from us?
Thus faith comes from what is heard,
      and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.
But I ask, did they not hear?
Certainly they did; for

      Their voice has gone forth to all the earth,
            and their words to the ends of the world.

The word of the Lord.

All:   Thanks be to God.

A period of silent prayer follows.

Gospel Acclamation


John 17:11, 17-23 (LFM #876.5)
As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Jesus raised his eyes toward heaven and prayed, saying:
“Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me,
      so that they may be one just as we are one.
Consecrate them in the truth.
Your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
      so I sent them into the world.
And I consecrate myself for them,
      so that they also may be consecrated in truth.

“I pray not only for them,
      but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
      so that they may all be one,
      as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
      that they also may be in us,
      that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me,
      so that they may be one, as we are one,
      I in them and you in me,
      that they may be brought to perfection as one,
      that the world may know that you sent me,
      and that you loved them even as you loved me.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

All:   Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

A period of silent prayer follows.


From the Homily of His Holiness Benedict XVI
at the Celebration of First Vespers of the
Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul
(Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, June 28, 2007)

At the beginning of the Letter to the Romans, as we have just heard, St. Paul greeted the community of Rome, introducing himself as “a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle” (1:1).  He uses the term “servant,” in Greek, doulos, to indicate a relationship of total and unconditional belonging to the Lord Jesus; moreover, it is a translation of the Hebrew, ‘ebed, thus alluding to the great servants whom God chose and called for an important and specific mission.

Paul knew he was “called to be an apostle,” that is, that he had not presented himself as a candidate, nor was his a human appointment, but solely by a divine call and election.

The Apostle to the Gentiles repeats several times in his Letters that his whole life is a fruit of God’s freely given and merciful grace (cf. 1 Cor 15:9-10; 2 Cor 4:1; Gal 1:15).  He was chosen to proclaim “the Gospel of God” (Rom 1:1), to disseminate the announcement of divine Grace which in Christ reconciles man with God, himself and others.

From his Letters, we know that Paul was far from being a good speaker; on the contrary, he shared with Moses and Jeremiah a lack of oratory skill.  “His bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account” (2 Cor 10:10), his adversaries said of him.

The extraordinary apostolic results that he was able to achieve cannot, therefore, be attributed to brilliant rhetoric or refined apologetic and missionary strategies.

The success of his apostolate depended above all on his personal involvement in proclaiming the Gospel with total dedication to Christ; a dedication that feared neither risk, difficulty nor persecution.

“Neither death, nor life,” he wrote to the Romans, “nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (8:38-39).

From this we can draw a particularly important lesson for every Christian.  The Church’s action is credible and effective only to the extent to which those who belong to her are prepared to pay in person for their fidelity to Christ in every circumstance.  When this readiness is lacking, the crucial argument of truth on which the Church herself depends is also absent.

A period of silent prayer follows.


Adapted from the Book of Blessings

Let us pray together to God, our merciful Father.  He anointed his own Son with the Holy Spirit to preach the Good News to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, and to comfort the sorrowful.  With great confidence we therefore say:

R/.   Send us, Lord.

Deacon or other Reader:
God of everlasting mercy, your will is that all people should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth; we give you thanks for sending your only Son into the world as our Teacher and Redeemer.   R/.

You sent Jesus Christ to preach the Good News to the poor, to proclaim the release of captives, and to announce the age of grace; grant that the embrace of your Church may extend to people of every tongue and every nation.   R/.

You call all peoples out of darkness into your marvelous light, so that at the name of Jesus every knee must bend in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; enable us to bear true witness to the Gospel of salvation.  R/.

Give us hearts that are upright and simple, so that we will be open to your word; make our lives and all the world rich in works of holiness.  R/.

All pray together:

Loving God,
you called us each by name
and gave your only Son to redeem us.
In your faithfulness,
you sent the Holy Spirit to complete the mission of Jesus among us.

Open our hearts to Jesus.
Give us the courage to speak his name
to those who are close to us
and the generosity to share his love with those who are far away.

We pray that every person
throughout the world
be invited to know and love Jesus
as Savior and Redeemer.
May they come to know his all-surpassing love.
May that love transform every element of our society.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

A period of silent prayer follows.


Toward the end of the exposition, the celebrant kneels before the Blessed Sacrament in front of the altar.  As he kneels, all sing Tantum Ergo (or another Eucharistic Hymn) as the Blessed Sacrament is incensed.  After the hymn is finished, the celebrant rises and sings or says:

Let us pray.

After a brief period of silence, the celebrant continues:

Lord our God,
teach us to cherish in our hearts
the paschal mystery of your Son
by which you redeemed the world.
Watch over the gifts of grace
your love has given us
and bring them to fulfillment
in the glory of heaven.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

All:   Amen.

After the prayer, the celebrant puts on the humeral veil, genuflects, and takes the monstrance.  He makes the sign of the cross with the monstrance over those gathered, in silence.


After the blessing the Blessed Sacrament is removed from the monstrance and brought to the place of reservation.  Meanwhile, the celebrant leads all in the Divine Praises .  Each acclamation is repeated by all together.

Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
Blessed be the name of Jesus.
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be his most Precious Blood.
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in His angels and in His Saints.

After the Divine Praises are concluded, a hymn is sung, the celebrant and the servers bow to the altar and leave.