I was first introduced to adoration in high school when I went on a trip called Steubenville South in Alexandria, Louisiana. I had no idea what adoration was and I remember seeing people having powerful experiences. Adoration became an important part of my journey to the priesthood. I went to adoration multiple times throughout high school and in the seminary. I would pray daily in the Church where Jesus was present.
I do not know how many of you have experienced adoration here at the parish. Our adoration chapel is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, we have begun a new tradition that will continue for the foreseeable future. Before Mass on Tuesday and Thursday and after Mass on Monday and Friday, we have an hour of adoration. On Saturday, we have two hours of adoration before Mass.
What is adoration and why do we have it during this time? Adoration simply means to worship God. When we sit in adoration before the blessed sacrament, we are spending time worshiping Him. We can worship God at any time and any place. However, there is something special about worshiping God in adoration. In adoration we can have a personal encounter with Jesus. He is present to us in the Eucharist and during adoration we worship and adore him. By having adoration in our Church daily, we are inviting everyone to have a more profound encounter with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
It can be challenging to sit in adoration at first, especially for an extended time. It was difficult for me at first. What can we do during this time? First, we should not be afraid of some silence. Noise fills our lives; having a break from that noise is a good thing. We can bring the scriptures into the Church, pray the rosary or the Divine Mercy Chaplet during adoration. Sometimes, it is just best to sit silently in the presence of the Lord. You may not feel anything, hear anything, or gain any insight. But sitting silently in His presence can change our lives.
At the end of adoration the priest will go up and give us a special blessing, called benediction. The priest will wear a unique vestment made for benediction called a cope and a humeral veil. The humeral veil covers the priest’s hands so he does not touch the monstrance with his hands. During benediction, the priest blesses the people with the monstrance. We are invited to kneel during this blessing if we are able. The priest makes a large sign of the cross with the monstrance and we are asked to make the sign of the cross with the priest.
Adoration is an excellent opportunity to grow closer to Jesus in prayer. We don’t know how much longer we will be without our adoration chapel. However, we still can adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I invite you to spend time in adoration. You can come to adoration for 15 minutes then leave, or stay for an entire hour. You can find our adoration times on our newly updated website, sjworker.org.