There are a lot of things you can do in an hour – go for a walk, run some errands, watch an episode or two of TV, take a nap, clean up around the house. But how often do we take the time to spend an hour in prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament?
Eucharistic Adoration is offered in parishes across the Diocese, some holding a once a week or First Friday Adoration, some opting for daily Adoration or a 24-hour Adoration once a week.
“The reason I find Eucharistic Adoration so enriching is that I’m spending time face-to-face with Jesus. That’s heaven on earth,” said Karen Hein, who recently retired as the business manager of St. Peter & St. Paul, Alta Loma, and who coordinates the Eucharistic Adoration ministry in the parish. “I treasure every moment I spend with Jesus in Adoration. It’s food for my soul and gives me tremendous peace.”
Hein currently does six hours of Adoration a week and has been involved with Eucharistic Adoration ministry for 34 years at various parishes in the Dioceses of San Bernardino and San Diego. St. Peter & St. Paul holds Adoration every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. as well as a 24-hour Adoration from Friday at 8:00 a.m. to Saturday at 8:00 a.m.
Setting up Adoration at a parish requires planning and organization, especially if a parish has 24-hour or 24/7 Adoration (the latter also called Perpetual Adoration). The Church says that at least one and preferably two people must be present at all times when the Eucharist is exposed for Adoration so that Jesus may never be left alone, which means that a parish holding Adoration must have a sign-up sheet and have enough people willing to sign up to ensure all hours are covered.
Contrary to what one might expect, Hein says that the overnight hours can be easier to get covered than during the day when people are working. A parish interested in setting up longer hours of Adoration will have to be prepared to put in some work to get enough sign-ups, she says; for example, by having a promotional weekend beforehand where a speaker encourages sign-ups after every Mass, setting up an informational both for people to check out after Mass or even by personally inviting people to sign up. At St. Peter & St. Paul, about 100 parishioners make up the regular group of adorers, and then there are some who aren’t on the sign-up sheet who attend on a more sporadic basis.
During Adoration, there are no specific rules for how to pray; one can pray the rosary or other prayers silently, pray with the scriptures, read spiritual books or simply speak to Jesus as one would speak to a friend.
Hein says that regularly spending time with Jesus through Adoration will be life-changing. “He will strengthen you and give you peace. You will experience his love deep in your heart. He will answer your questions and prayers; even if it is not the answer you want, he knows what you need ... Blessed Carlo Acutis said, ‘If we get in front of the sun, we get a suntan. If we get in front of Jesus in the Eucharist, we become Saints.’
“Time spent with Jesus is the best time you can ever spend,” she said.
Meanwhile at St. Martha in Murrieta, the parish may not offer as many hours of Adoration as St. Peter & Paul, but it is no less fervent. The church celebrates a monthly First Friday Adoration, beginning with the Eucharist being exposed around 8 a.m. after morning Mass and concluding with a special First Friday service at 5:30 p.m., which includes a Scriptural Rosary, Vespers (evening prayer) and Benediction. About 200-300 people attend, said Deacon Chris Ciraulo, who usually presides at the First Friday service.
Deacon Ciraulo said that not only is Adoration special because it puts us in the real presence of God, but that it is actually meant to draw us closer to the Mass.
“In Adoration we worship Christ and we are truly blessed by being in his presence, but there is, I think, a natural hunger for Jesus that is supposed to take place. We adore Christ and are present before him but there is still a distance between us. That bridge is crossed when we actually receive him in the Eucharistic Liturgy. The one who we’ve adored and longed for is now, at the Mass, able to come into us and abide with us,” he explained.
“The Mass – Eucharist – is the source and summit of our faith. Adoration beckons us, draws us and leads us to that summit,” he added.
Deacon Ciraulo said that the positive effects of Eucharistic Adoration are apparent on a parish community and on an individual basis.
“The lives of the faithful are enriched when they attend Adoration and make it a regular part of their prayer lives. Many parishioners have told me that Eucharistic Adoration has deepened their faith, and that they are filled with more peace and find a strength given to them to combat temptation and sin,” he said.
“A large percentage of Catholics today don’t know, or don’t believe, that the Eucharist is truly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. When a parish promotes Eucharistic Adoration and it is done with great solemnity, it lights a spiritual fire that causes an increase of faith in those who are striving for holiness, and it brings truth and a sense of awe to those who still may doubt ... a parish’s Eucharistic Adoration is the unleashing of the power of Christ which leads us to his transforming grace,” said Deacon Ciraulo.
There is perhaps no better time to try out Eucharistic Adoration than now, as the Church in the United States is in the midst of a three-year Eucharistic Revival to reignite a love of the Eucharist in our parishes. Our Diocese has made a webpage which lists parishes’ Adoration hours; to find a parish near you that offers Eucharistic Adoration, visit bit.ly/SBDadoration. For more information about the Eucharistic Revival in our Diocese, visit bit.ly/RevivalSBD.