Eucharistic Adoration

“What makes this place tick?”  I quizzed the exuberant pastor as he showed me around the parish, renowned for its high rate of Sunday Mass attendance; first-rate school; excellent religious education for kids, teenagers, young adults, and adults; remarkably effective stewardship; and successful initiatives of social justice, pro-life efforts, evangelization, and neighborhood presence.

I wanted the “recipe” so I could bottle it and send it around!

“Follow me, I’ll show you,” Father replied.

Through the school, filled with kids; on to the religious ed office, where catechists were planning the evening session; into the kitchen where people were cooking casseroles for the inner city soup kitchen; then to the senior citizen center where the lunch crowd was breaking-up;  through the offices where volunteers were counting the Sunday collection . . . we didn’t stop . . . the pastor kept going . . . until we reached the chapel of the former convent, where, oh, perhaps six to eight people, of diverse ages, were in quiet adoration before Jesus, really and truly present in the Holy Eucharist, there in the monstrance on the altar.

“We’ve had perpetual Eucharistic adoration now for four years,” the pastor whispered.  “We started slowly, about seven years ago, first with a day-a-week, then seven days, twelve-hour-a-day, until we had a well-oiled system in place.  For the last four years, it’s been 24/7, with at least two people assigned every hour, all volunteers, and with many, many more during the waking hours.  Our prayer hotline is legendary.  I’m convinced this Eucharistic adoration is the key to the vitality, growth, and effectiveness of our parish.”

That recollection came to me as I read the story recently in a national newspaper of the “International House of Prayer’s 24 Hour Worship” in Kansas City.  The article explained how a neighborhood had been revived, a congregation renewed, and lives changed by non-stop prayer sponsored by a small Christian evangelical church.

“Pray always!” the Good Book tells us, and Jesus exhorted us to make sure that our prayer was patient, persistent, and persevering.

Eucharistic adoration accomplishes this.  It tells the world that “we can’t give what we don’t have,” and that, if we do not constantly turn to God in prayer for His grace and mercy, we’re finished.  The best thing people of faith can do is pray . . . I can’t think of a better place to do that than before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

George Weigel recently wrote of “Miracles in Soho.” This dirty, crime-ridden, pagan, Sodom and Gamorrah-like west end of London now boasts a thriving parish, St. Patrick’s, a center of help, peace, outreach, welcome, service . . . and constant prayer before Jesus in the Eucharist.  It’s a paradigm for the New Evangelization, George wrote after a recent visit, filled with young people excited about their faith, all centered around our Eucharistic Lord.

I am very grateful to the dozens and dozens of parishes throughout the archdiocese that encourage and offer Eucharistic adoration, some occasional, some on given days of the week, some perpetual.  May the numbers increase!

The Church is renowned for all that we do — Catholic charities, health care, schools, youth work, love, service, and evangelization — and rightly so.

But what we do must flow from who we are — people of faith, prayer, adoration, our hearts on fire with our Lord, our best friend, the way, the truth, and the life.

If what we do does not spring from who we are, we are listless and ineffective.

When the first disciples asked Jesus about following Him, He did not say, “Come do a bunch of stuff with me.”  Nope – He invited them to “Come, stay with me!”  Eucharistic adoration is a great way to answer that invitation.

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29 Responses to “Eucharistic Adoration”

  1. Mary says:

    This is inspired! Would you institute Eucharistic Adoration requirements for parishes that are struggling both spiritually and financially as part of your “Making All Things New” pastoral initiative?

  2. Ann Browning says:

    WOW – this just hit me in the gut. I’m a Martha – never been a Mary. Always need a to do list always need to be busy. But life has thrown me some tough punches lately and I am not able to “DO” all that I “DID” and I’m struggling with my relationshps with God and I couldn’t figure out WHY! I think this article nailed it! I have felt if I am not “doing” for God, I am not Godly, He doesn’t love me, etc. What YOU are saying is the reverse. We just cannot “DO” for God unless or until we stop, spend time with God and realize WHO we are – and that flow from God – not ourselves. Something for me to really ponder what it will look like for me to slow down and be still before God!

  3. Sharon Murphy says:

    Thank you for this lovely article. Thank you Archbishop Dolan for promoting Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration – it certainly is the Power House where all the goodness originates. We have Adoration in our Parish in the afternoons 2-4PM Mon – Fri. It is an oasis, I hope someday we will have more.
    God Bless you for all you do.

  4. Ray says:

    They certainly need 24/7 Eucharistic Adoration in Albany!

  5. Mary Pat Muich says:

    Thank you for this timely article. I find adoration an oasis as well. I have friend with a chronic pain condition, similar to mine. We both share a love for adoration and talked about what it means to us over coffee the other morning. Her comments to me were exactly my sentiments “It’s where I go to make the pain go away, and if it doesn’t go away, at least by the time I leave, it doesn’t own me anymore.”
    I agree but I go for a variety of reasons. I wish I could say it was purely because I love Our Lord, but it isn’t. I go for me. I need it. I need to be there. I need the closeness. I need the consolations I receive. Sometimes I am the woman who touches the hem of his cloak. Sometimes I am the Magdalene who sits at his feet and listens to what He has to say to me. Always I am strengthened and come away feeling calmer…guided, appreciated, consoled. It’s honestly too beautiful to explain sometimes. I really encourage anyone reading the article or this comment to give it a try. And hello to everyone in NY. My daughter lives in SOHO, my son in Ithaca and my aunt in Bedford. You have a very beautiful state!! Just spent a week there in May for Cornell’s graduation.

  6. I read this blog to our young adult Bible study today. I think the sentiment that was shared was, “Oh yeah!” I love the idea of starting out doing adoration in blocks of time. If we try and do it 24/7 out of the shoot, we are doomed to failure…I am going to share this with our Pastor tomorrow and I thank you so much for sharing it with us…God bless you Archbishop Dolan and Godspeed to Eucharistic Adoration in all our parishes…Jason

  7. Mike says:

    This is a great article, I myself have found great comfort as I have been saying the rosary every night prior to bed. The more I pray the better I feel.

    God Bless,
    Mike

  8. @Ray, we do have Eucharistic Adoration in Albany, although I am not familiar with any 24 hour Adoration. The parish where I work has Adoration every Tuesday and the parish where I worship has Adoration every First Friday. I am certain that there are others.

    Jesus Christ is very present in the capital of New York, whether it may seem that way or not; His Light and Presence is never dimmed.

  9. QBA says:

    if this was really the case places like Spain, Poland or Ireland would be just buzzing with conversions and lively parish life, sadly they’re not.
    I grew up in Poland where most parishes have extended periods of Eucharistic Adoration and yet are dead as anything.
    I think it’s an important step towards a lively parish but without proclamation of Good News it’s just a one legged solution.
    If people don’t hear the Good News they won’t come alive and if they’re not alive the parish will neve be alive, it might be animated but surely not alive.

    So with all due respect, let’s not look for easy almost “magical” solutions. Faith needs both hearing (of the authentic Good News) and sacraments, not one or the other, to flurish.

    Regards,
    Q

  10. Ann-Marie says:

    My home diocese of Wichita, KS is one of the only tithe based diocese in the country. I would also say the majority of the parishes have Adoration 24/7 and all but a handful have adoration in some sort. It works!

  11. Juanita Coco says:

    Archbishop Dolan, what an uplifting article! We are struggling in our parish for our newly opened Adoration Chapel to become perpetual and now to have more committed adorers to answer the call for the hours it is opened. Please help us pray that more will want to spend precious time with Our Lord in Euacharist adoration.

    Thank You, and God Bless,
    Juanita Coco
    Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church
    Chalmette, La.

  12. I pray and hope that so many other churches would begin this beautiful devotion. I would encourage parishioners to make mention of it to their pastor. Yes, begin slowly with a First Friday and then every Friday and begin to take “note” of who is coming and then begin to form a “team” of captains. We will be celebrating 4 years this November and my parish is only 400 families “on paper” which really means that I can account for 400 families on a given weekend. We have seen “miracles” take place with physical, spiritual, and emotional healings. We have a prayer petition box which is placed in the Perpetual Adoration chapel where everyone can see it and remember to pray for the intentions in the box. I do not know where my priesthood would be without a Holy Hour everyday.

  13. Florin says:

    When Card. Ratzinger became Pope, one of the first things he said he wanted to do was to make the Eucharist known to all as the beating Heart of Christ at the center of the world…people travel hundreds of miles or more to see an alleged appartion while we have the Son of the Living God right there on our altars…I have noticed that Churches/Parishes that have exposition of the Blessed Sacrament flourish…I attend the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury, CT., and we have 24/7 exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and this is such a great blessing…

  14. Dear Archbishop Dolan
    Thanks so much for this timely, and neatly bottled up for distribution, open secret for success in any Parish..
    I have kind of known this and have often hinted to ouyr Priests that we need this in our Parish of Gummersbach Cologne Germany.
    Ityped up the following and sent it to my mailing list.
    Dear Priests and serious Roman Catholics!!!

    Here it is straight from the horses mouth! ARCHBISHOP DOLAN!
    The total solution to a thriving Parish.
    This and no other!!!!
    You have heard me beating this drum before but now it is official..
    I have been waiting for this Testimony for four years since I came to the Parish of Saint Francis of Assisi Gummersbach!
    Now here it is!!
    Check this link that I just copied out from NEW ADVENT Catholic on line newspaper which if you are not signed up to, you should be for the hottest information on all things Roman Catholic and it comes out every day.
    http://blog.archny.org/?p=1363

    Please let me know what you are going to do about this????
    Seriously we need some ACTION no more stalling please!!!!

    I can’t wait to get your reaction!!!!!!

    God Bless you and once again thankyou!

  15. Leo says:

    Thanks for the article bishop Dolan,that’s really encouraging to hear about such a vibrant catholic parish!
    And true, it’s the Eucharist which is and should be at the heart of any truly vibrant parish.
    But as an earlier post observed, I do think the proclamation of the gospel has to happen in every parish for that renewal to come about – in fact for the Eucharist to be fruitful in the lives of christians.
    Sadly, most catholics still remain illiterate with regards scripture and not many catholics expect to hear any good news or grow with regards to the Word through the homily at mass.
    The center place of the sacraments have been instilled in people thousands of years but when crisis strikes like it did in Ireland, many were quick to leave the faith of their childhood – sadly, they had never really been given the gospel.

    While hearing something like this does give me great hope and while I pray regularly for a revival of adoration and prayer in parishes – Paul was clear that it’s the messenger of salvation who in turn leads people to “call upon the name of the Lord” (Romans 10:14,15) -
    does make me wonder if preaching the faith is ever really high on the catholic agenda.

    Leo

  16. Chardin says:

    In Boise we have at least two parishes with Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in free standing chapels. A couple more are starting with Fridays.

  17. Lola says:

    Albany could use all the Eucharistic Adoration it could get, 24/7 and in the Cathedral! Lay leaders, make it happen!

  18. Rolando Rodriguez, SFO says:

    I am what most would think of as a liberal, sometimes off-the-wall, nice but watch-out-for Catholic. For more than 35 years, I lived, worked and ministered in Key West with my friend and companion. No, we don’t aspire to or pretend marriage. But yes, we lived, loved and ministered together and willingly. And we have both tried to work for peace and justice. The parish is dedicated to and cared for by St. Mary, Star of the Sea.
    “If what we do does not spring from who we are, we are listless and ineffective.”

    There were and are individuals who yearn for, hear and respond to Jesus’ invitation, “Sit here while I go over there and pray… Remain here and keep watch with me… Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:36, 38, 41)
    Thanks to a few faithful women (sisters, wives, mothers, widows, nuns and virgins), a chapel of Perpetual Adoration was conceived, supported, realized and dedicated to Divine Mercy. The doors of our church seemed to open wider as new families and individuals registered. The seeds of vocation were sown and nourished and will give good fruit. And the House of God in Key West reached out with the Real Presence of God-with-us, Emanuel, to all.
    While I may not be an Archbishop Dolan cheerleader, I thank and join my voice with him in saying, “‘Come, stay with me!’ Eucharistic adoration is a great way to answer that invitation.”

  19. Nancy Patterson says:

    thank you for this inspiring story of faith in action…I am and have been a member of the adoration society in our area for the past 14 years….adoration is one of the most powerful ways to pray and stay in contact with Jesus…I would like to see perpetual adoration at all the Catholic churches…. let us continue to pray for continued support from our parishes as we move forward to encourage our youth to become an active and integral part of our parishes…God Bless you,

  20. Amy says:

    The first time I went to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 9 years ago I really had no idea what to expect. At the time our parish had it on Friday’s only.

    I signed in and noted the time. After a short while, I got up to leave thinking 15 minutes was a good start. When I went to sign out I noticed I had been there for 1hr 20min!

    I am happy to say our parish (of 1,200 families) now has a Perpetual Adoration Chapel and 5 young men in the seminary and 1 young woman preparing to join the Mary Mother of the Eucharist order in Ann Arbor.

  21. Rae says:

    I am fortunate enough to belong to a parish which has been perpetually Adoring our Lord for just over eight years! I am a comitted adorer – 2 a.m. every Wednesday morning – and I know without a doubt that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life that sustains our parish. I volunteered because I truly believe worshiping Jesus in the Eucharist is what we are called to do, and I know this program could not be supported in any other way; not with money, not with good intentions and not with prayers, but with bodies, willing to discipline themselves a little bit, and actually physically BE there to worship God in the Blessed Sacrament.

    I wasn’t around in the beginning so I can’t attest to the challenges they faced when they set out. But I can say that Our Lord waits for us and draws us to him. If we but ask, He will provide all that we need, especially when we ask nothing more than to love Him more deeply and more faithfully through the Eucharist.

    I have visted web sites of local parishes that do nothing more than advertise the “ministries” they offer – homeless ministries, development and peace, etc. As if that’s all they have to offer, when what they truly have is wealth beyond measure in Christ Himself, broken and shared for all! Without Him, we achieve nothing. When we choose to sit at His feet, we truly do choose the better place!

  22. Wendy York says:

    I loved the article on Eucharistic Adoration and I know that spending time in prayer before the Eucharistic Lord deepens our friendship with Jesus Our Blessed Lord and Savior. I thank Jesus with all my heart when he gives me this chance here on earth to spend time with Him and get to know Him more intimately. I pray that the desire of our hearts will be to come before Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration. Come let us adore Him!

  23. Pierce Kent says:

    An hour of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is good for one’s soul and in fact essential. On another note I have been reading about the life of the first de facto Bishop of New York, John Conolly and am wondering whether their is a postulator for the cause of his eventual canonization? He seems to have led a life of heroic virtue. I must admit I came across mention of him while doing genealogical research on my wife’s family. He was apparently a cousin of my wife’s great-great-great-great grandfather Luke Conley of Steuben County, NY.

  24. Torkay says:

    This devotion may overcome what the Novus Ordo has stolen from the Church: belief in the Real Presence. Regarding the miracle in Soho, they could use one more: the notorious “gay” Masses that are being held there with the full support of Archbishop Vincent Nichols, despite countless protests from the faithful. It is a horrible scandal.

  25. Brian A Cook says:

    Thank you, your excellency. I know I have been critical lately. Maybe too critical. I just want to encourage you in your promotion of the Eucharist.

  26. AndyP/Doria2 says:

    Start with more Latin Masses and you’ll see more adoration.

  27. Deacon Sandy says:

    Thanks Archbishop Dolan. You always had a way with words! (and the Spirit).

    Shorty after you moved from Milwaukee to New York, under the watchful and supportive eye of Bishop Callahan, the deacons of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee instituted a Holy Hour for Life (all life) on the eve of Roe v Wade. It is a benediction and adoration, and has involved over 100 deacons in over 100 parishes drawing just under 10,000 in the two years we have done this. With a heightened sense of Christ in our midst, with the Eucharist as our focal point, we ask Christ to intercede in our world on behalf of all life at risk. It is moving. It is powerful. It is the Spirit at work.

    Best and blessings from a former New Yorker and current deacon in Milwaukee. (You ordained me in 2005). Think of me whenever you get to Yankee Stadium as it is only 8 blocks from my alma mater Cardinal Hayes High School.

  28. Maria says:

    What is the single most important means for reuniting a dismembered Christianity?

    The single most important means is the restoration of faith in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. One reason for the tragic separation of so many people from the Catholic Church in the 16th Century was the widespread loss of faith in the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. Present-day Catholics should do everything possible to reunite a sadly divided Christianity.

    John Hardon SJ

  29. lynnfrom florida says:

    THANK YOU! YOU ARE TRULY A LEADER AND FATHER!!!!