By BRIAN DOOLING, Commentary | Published March 20, 2023
“In the Mass and in Eucharistic Adoration we meet the merciful love of God that passes through the Heart of Jesus Christ.” – St. John Paul II
On Nov. 1, 1998, our family attended the first Mass for a new mission parish called St. Brigid. The Mass was celebrated in the Centennial High School Auditorium. The celebrant and assigned administrator, Father Joe Corbett, thought that we might have 20 people show up. Instead, there were over 500 people there. He said, “I think we might have something here.” He was right. It was during this time that a new chapter opened in my faith journey and a flame was lit that continues to burn brightly.
As Catholics, we receive the Eucharist during Mass. However, there is another opportunity for us to experience the Blessed Sacrament, namely, through eucharistic adoration. The Eucharist is the center of the life of the Church, and by giving honor to God, eucharistic adoration touches the heart of her mission. Perpetual adoration is where Jesus, in the Blessed Sacrament, is exposed in a monstrance, on an altar, in a particular church or chapel, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even throughout the night. This practice of perpetual adoration has developed greatly over the last several centuries.
As a response to the call for eucharistic renewal in the archdiocese, Father Corbett wanted to begin this practice at St. Brigid and felt that many benefits and blessings would come to our parish as a result.
Getting to perpetual adoration takes time. You gradually build up to it as you need to have at least one guardian present for every hour that Jesus is exposed. And so, we began. One day a month of adoration led to one day a week, which led to a couple days a week of adoration. We were making progress. We were eventually able to build up enough momentum and participation to begin perpetual adoration at St. Brigid, a devotion that continues to be strong today.
I am grateful for the many blessings that God has placed in my life–one of those being a weekly hour with the Lord as a eucharistic guardian. During my hour over the years, in the quiet stillness of the adoration chapel, I have developed a sense of awe and wonder at the greatness of our God and feelings of grace, hope, peace and love. I know how truly fortunate I am to be able to sit in silence, pray and even just listen.
I have realized that it all begins with saying yes and being open to the call to becoming more involved and making a difference. This one event set me on a course in which I would grow personally and spiritually and become a more active disciple of Christ.
In the Catholic Church, a monstrance is an open or transparent receptacle in which the consecrated host is exposed for veneration.
When I attended a Christ Renews His Parish Weekend at St. Brigid many years ago, we had a teen witness speak to us in the adoration chapel, and he said profound words that have stuck with me ever since. He said that his goal was to “Be a human monstrance!” What a wonderful and inspiring goal—to be a light of Christ to others.
As we respond to a new call for eucharistic revival, let us all take the time to be with him. This is our own personal time with Christ. We do not have to do anything during adoration; we can simply be present and receive the love of the Lord—so that we can share that love with others.
Brian Dooling is Director of Stewardship & Development in the Office of Mission Advancement and is also a member of the archdiocesan Eucharistic Revival Task Force.