(Photo from Father Lawrence Lew, O.P. - God’s Excessive Love - Used With Permission)
" "You must speak to Jesus, not only with your lips, but also with your heart; actually, on certain occasions, you should speak with only your heart." — St. Padre Pio

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Promoting Reverence and Belief in the Real Presence

Our Church’s teaching on the Eucharist is long standing, clear and includes the following: the Eucharist must be the source and center of our daily lives; whenever possible Catholics Churches are to keep their doors open for some period of time each day to facilitate visits before the Blessed Sacrament; pastors are to encourage such visits; they are also to promote and encourage their parishioners' participation in Eucharistic Adoration, setting an example for their flock by doing so themselves; and they are to support the establishment and continuation of  regional chapels of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration when their own parishes are unable to sustain such a vital devotion solely by themselves.

What a different world this would be if we were to follow these life-changing practices!

As someone who has spent more than ten years coordinating Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in a local parish and encouraging this devotion elsewhere, it has been difficult to understand at times why there is so much reluctance, if not outright opposition, to promoting Adoration - this despite our Lord's invitation for us to do so and the overwhelming evidence of the fruits that flow from such devotions. Is it because so few Catholics still believe that Our Lord is really and substantially present in the Eucharist?

So when others speak up or take concrete action to promote our Eucharistic Lord we must take notice and give thanks!

Bishop Robert Cunningham of the Diocese of Syracuse, New York should be commended for taking "God to the Streets of Syracuse" this Corpus Christi, the first time in recent memory such a significant public worship of our Eucharistic Lord has taken place there. Why not take a moment to thank him (info@syracusediocese.org)?

Kudos also to the Knights of the Holy Eucharist who (Catholic Online informs us) are doing their best to "call us to Eucharistic Faith".

Why not think about passing up one of your favorite half hour TVs shows (it won't kill you), listen to what this young man has to say about our Eucharistic Lord and the response He deserves and then share his video with your pastor, family and friends? Thanks to Anne Costa of Charismata for having brought this to my attention.

This leads me to one final suggestion. Father Z is fond of saying "brick by brick" with respect to the need for liturgical reform. Maybe we who love and seek to promote Eucharistic Adoration might adopt "two knees at a time" as our rallying cry. What do you think?


  1. How would you answer this argument?
    All the parishes in our area are offering Adoration and having a hard time finding people to go. Let's consolidate and have only one parish offer it because you all are drawing from the same people.
    This was the reason given by my pastor when he relegated Adoration to first Fridays, only.

  2. Faith:

    Your comments are most welcome and your question deserves an answer. My inadequate response follows:

    Belief in the Real Presence is an act of faith and a gift from our Lord. That being said, if a pastor does all that he can to restore and maintain a sense of the sacred within the confines of his Church building, if he properly and regularly catechizes his flock, if his every action evidences his deep seeded belief, sense of awe, amazement in and dependence on the Blessed Sacrament, and if he participates in, promotes and treasures Adoration himself, his parishioners will come to do likewise.

    “If you build it, they will come” was a punch line in a movie a few years back.

    Adoration is not for a handful or a “selected few”. It is for everyone. It is what our loving Lord asks for and more importantly deserves. JPII urged EVERY parish in the world to have Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. So why should we set the bar lower than his lofty expectations?

    My former parish started with 12 hours of Adoration on First Fridays. For ten years it struggled to fill those hours. So when we sought to establish the devotion perpetually, we were mocked and ridiculed. Ten years later we are still open for visits 24 hours a day. Admittedly it has not been easy of late in this rural area. Unless the soon to arrive new pastor follows the advice set forth above, we may eventually flounder and be unable to remain open perpetually. I and others pray that will never happen. But like all things, our future is in God’s hands.

    With all due respect, it is a cop-out to suggest that the pool of potential Adorers is so limited that only one parish in a limited geographical area should offer perpetual adoration. That may be the present reality in certain areas, but it need not be a permanent one. All of us who profess to believe in Jesus Christ owe Him homage and adoration. God help us all and our Church if there are not at least 250 people in each parish who will come to treasure this devotion when encouraged and invited to do so. Let’s be perfectly honest and blunt: able bodied persons can find one hour each week to be with their Lord and Savior (even if it is in 10 or 15 minute segments). Many simply choose not to do so. Others find only locked Churches.

    While it is true (as Mark Shea noted today on his blog) that you can still believe in the Real Presence even though you don’t participate in Perpetual Adoration, your participation in that devotion will only strengthen and nourish that belief.

    So am I compelled to ask any of our treasured shepherds who remain reluctant to promote Perpetual Adoration in their parishes to stop setting the bar so low, to step out in faith, and let our Eucharistic Lord transform your parish and your parishioners.

    No matter how anyone may try to spin it, you can not really love someone if you are able to but do not spend time with that person. Jesus invites his imperfect creatures to come into His Presence so He can transform us and make us more like Him.

    Are we fearful He might succeed?