Immeasurable gifts of Eucharistic AdorationBy: Linda Leicht Springfield MO
Perpetual Adoration in Springfield
The small chapel to the north of the sanctuary of Holy Trinity Parish in Springfield is never empty. There, people will be found in constant prayer and meditation, and the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is the reason why.
Since the Perpetual Adoration began this year, the challenge has been to get every hour scheduled so that the Blessed Sacrament is never left alone. A city-wide effort, each parish in and around Springfield is asked to encourage parishioners to participate, and each adorer is asked to commit to a specific hour each week.
“We’re off to a good start,” said Fr. Fergus Monaghan, pastor at Holy Trinity. “It’s impressive seeing people there all hours of the day and night. It’s wonderful.”
Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration allows adorers to spend an hour with the Blessed Sacrament, which is on permanent exposition. It is a way to respond to the Lord’s invitation, “Could you not watch one hour with me?” Through Perpetual Adoration, it is proclaimed to the entire community that Jesus is here, truly present among each of us.
“It’s kind of a unique way to be with the Lord for an hour,” Fr. Monaghan said. “You have time to be quiet and aware of the Lord with you, to step aside from all the business of life.”
Cindy Pierson, a member of Holy Trinity, first remembers considering the possibility of Perpetual Adoration about three years ago while praying in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. But it was when she lost her son in 2015 that she recognized its value.
“The only place that I could find peace, where my world wasn’t falling apart around me, was in front of the Blessed Sacrament,” Pierson recalled.
So she took on the challenge, calling “the strongest person I knew to help me do this: Joyce Blades,” a fellow parishioner and friend.
Blades now heads-up the 14-member steering committee, representing parishes around the Springfield area, in establishing Perpetual Adoration at Holy Trinity Parish. It was also Blades who led a group of five “strong people” that went to newly-installed Bp. Edward Rice to ask his permission for the endeavor. They felt confident of his support because the bishop was part of Perpetual Adoration in his native St. Louis for years.
They were correct in their assumption. The bishop was very much for it, Blades said.
“We are ‘One Church, from East to West,’ and how are we One Church from East to West?” Bp. Edward Rice said, “It’s through an encounter, encountering Jesus, especially in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.”
“We have a beautiful adoration chapel in Saint Francis Medical Center, Cape Girardeau; we’re getting this one going here in Springfield,” Bishop Rice said. “I would like to get Perpetual Adoration going in Joplin, and so forth, so that people can come to know and encounter Jesus in the Eucharist at any time, on any day, throughout our diocese.”
Getting things started and keeping the roster filled 24-hours-a-day has been “perpetual work.” Blades admitted, as there are several spots that remain a challenge to fill. But she has had plenty of help.
“This group has been magnificent,” Blades said of the committee. “They have all stepped up to the plate.”
The goal of the effort is to “bring souls to Christ, the formation of souls, by them spending this time with God alone in Adoration,” Blades explained.
“People just aren’t aware of how powerful that can be,” said Monique James, another committee member.
“Saint John of the Cross, the Carmelite Mystic, said that the first language of God is silence, and I think that it is that silence that captured me as a teenager praying before the Blessed Sacrament,” said Bp. Rice. “I ask kids today, ‘What’s the first language that God speaks? Is it Hebrew, Latin, Greek???’ No, no, the first language that God speaks is silence.”
“It is very healing,” added Kay Charles, who made to a recent holy hour with the Blessed Sacrament with a personal challenge.
“I just took it to the Lord,” Charles said. “I know what I need to do now.”
“I was kind of an odd high school kid,” Bp. Rice said. “I liked to go to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It really grew on me. My vocation as a priest was born out of silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. … In the silence, the little nudge in my heart that kept pulling me a certain direction … I was thinking that my life would go ‘that way,’ but the Lord was pulling me in ‘this’ direction.”
The goal of Perpetual Adoration is for individuals, families, church groups, and parishes to “adopt” a day and hour for Adoration at Holy Trinity—not just once, but perpetually. With two people in each hour slot, most days require 48 adorers signed up and committed to their hour each week. There are substitutes who can step in when an adorer is not able to keep their commitment that week.
Like Bp. Rice, each adorer has a story to tell of their own spiritual awakening through Adoration.
“People call to say it was wonderful,” Pierson said.
“To someone who would come in all those years ago not knowing what the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is or what was going on, they would just see a kid sitting in the pew,” Bp. Rice said. “But through the eyes of faith, our Lord was there working on my heart in the silence. And it got me where I am today.”
It’s powerful, the bishop said. He spoke of encounter again and the Steubenville Mid-America Youth Conferences each summer in Springfield, as an example.
“On Saturday night, in this stadium at Missouri State University this summer, like every summer, 4,000-5,000 teenagers will be in silent adoration,” Bp. Rice said. “The experience is amazing:”
“Don’t underestimate the power of Eucharistic Adoration,” Bp. Rice laughed. “Only God can get that many teenagers quiet in one place.”
“It was hard to do at first [remain silent], then you just give everything to Christ,” Blades said. “There becomes this close, close relationship with the Lord as you progress with the relationship of your soul.”
Mary Ann Donze, who makes an hour of Adoration in the middle of the night with her husband, Larry, agreed. “There is a peace that you can’t put words to,” she said.
Perpetual adoration is for everyone. Sign-up sheets and information packets are available in the chapel area of Holy Trinity Parish, Springfield, which hopes to have an Online scheduling system soon. In the meantime, for more information on what slots need filled before the Blessed Sacrament, Email Nicola at firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone Joyce Blades at (417) 881-4367.
For more on adoration read; ‘Eucharistic adoration can transform our Church,’ says Bishop Conley