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Archdiocese's All-night Eucharistic Vigil marks 40 years


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BOSTON -- For 40 years, Barbara A. Keville has worked and strived to keep an apostolate dedicated to the Eucharist alive in the Archdiocese of Boston.

When she was 28, Keville began working with the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima in 1971, before it became the World Apostolate of Our Lady of Fatima, which led her to pursue a tradition of all night Eucharistic vigils consistent with the call for prayer through the Rosary in the Message of Fatima.

With approval from Cardinal Humberto Medeiros she began her work for the organization going parish-to-parish.

"I would visit different parishes with the Archdiocesan Pilgrim Virgin statue and give a presentation of the Fatima message, which was quite well received," Keville said.

In 1972 the Blue Army asked her to begin promoting an all-night Eucharistic Vigil in the archdiocese, as part of the national plan of the organization.

That year, the feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary coincided on the Church calendar for the first time on June 9, and June 10.

She had never coordinated an all-night Eucharistic vigil, and did not know what to expect. In spite of her apprehension, she continued to plan the first event.

She said she was not sure she could get the job done but felt grateful to be involved.

"I am no theologian but I am so grateful that God uses a person like me, just a simple housewife and a mother," Keville said.

She approached Msgr. John Lennihan pastor at St Agnes Parish, Arlington, who agreed to host the event. Then-newly ordained Bishop Lawrence J. Riley agreed to celebrate the Mass of the Sacred Heart on that Friday, June 9, in the evening.

The event was a first in the Boston Archdiocese, because of the involvement of clergy throughout the event. Prior all-night vigils only had a priest for one hour of Eucharistic Adoration.

Keville said the event received excellent publicity, and thanked The Pilot for continued support with advertisement throughout the coming years.

Rick Casey, 56, said he was returning to the Church after 40 years, when he read about the vigil in 2008 in an issue of The Pilot he picked up at St. Mary of the Nativity in Scituate.

"I remember the first time going at 3 o'clock in the morning, wondering, what am I doing here?" Casey said.

He said the experience moved him to continue attending the vigil, and felt particularly uplifted by the voices of people singing at the event throughout the years.

"It lifts your spirits. Barbara, and some of the women who have been going for years, have the voices of angels. I know why God has called them. After a full night and the next day, I think my feet started to touch the ground Sunday morning," he said.

Today, Boston has several parishes with perpetual adoration programs.

Keville thanked the Cardinals, Bishops and priests who participated in the apostolate over the years.

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