October 28, 2005

More parishes in archdiocese discovering
benefits of perpetual eucharistic adoration

By Sean Gallagher

After a humble start in the archdiocese 16 years ago at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Indianapolis, the practice of perpetual eucharistic adoration has spread to several parishes across central and southern Indiana.

In late June, St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Bedford established its John Paul II Perpetual Adoration Chapel. St. Louis Parish in Batesville started the practice on Oct. 15.

In all, there are now 10 perpetual adoration chapels in the archdiocese spread across six of the 11 deaneries.

Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel, vicar general, said the growth in perpetual adoration is tied to a “revival in the belief and appreciation of the true presence [of Jesus Christ] in the Eucharist through the whole country.”

“If we see it spreading through the whole archdiocese, I don’t think we should be surprised,” he said.

Still, establishing the practice of perpetual adoration is no small task. Since it involves the exposure of the Blessed Sacrament at all times, it requires the commitment of more than 100 people to spend an hour in eucharistic adoration each week.

Msgr. Schaedel said that in order for a parish to establish an adoration chapel, its pastor must gain permission from the archbishop and demonstrate that there is “a suitable physical location for the chapel and that a sufficient number of parishioners have committed themselves to make it work.”

As a result of such requirements, Msgr. Schaedel said that it is not realistic for all parishes to be able to have perpetual adoration. Some have too few members. Others are geographically close to parishes that have already established adoration chapels.

Nevertheless, Father Daniel Mahan, pastor of St. Louis Parish, said the experience of perpetual adoration in other archdiocesan parishes made it easier to start the practice in his parish.

“I think the experience of the past 16 years shows us that perpetual adoration is possible in a practical sense for parishes, that in a parish of 500 families or 1,000 families or 1,500 families or larger,” he said, “the idea of finding people to fill 168 hours each week is not as difficult as perhaps we once thought it was.”

From his experience in observing the positive impact that perpetual adoration has had on parishes that have established it in the past, Msgr. Schaedel has high hopes for St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louis parishes.

“In every parish that I’m aware of that established eucharistic adoration, people will tell you that great blessings have come to the parish in terms of a spiritual awakening, a spiritual awareness of the value of the Mass and the sacraments,” he said. “And there’s also been an upsurge in the interest in vocations to the religious life and the priesthood.”

Cathy Andrews, a member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish has similar hopes for the chapel for which she serves as the coordinator. But she has already seen how it has brought her parish closer to the members of nearby St. Mary Parish in Mitchell.

“We’ve just come together and just gelled so wonderfully with the prime purpose being to adore Jesus, to spend time with Jesus, to make this commitment to open our hearts to him and homes to him and our churches to him wholly and completely,” Andrews said.

Father Rick Eldred serves as pastor of both St. Vincent de Paul and St. Mary parishes. He came to the Bloomington Deanery parishes shortly after the practice was started, after having served as the pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Mooresville, where he oversaw the establishment of a perpetual adoration chapel in 2001.

“We’re truly blessed here to have the chapel,” he said. “And it is definitely impacting us. This parish is becoming extremely vibrant and alive.”

Many who have been involved in promoting perpetual adoration in the archdiocese pin one of their highest hopes on the devotion increasing a love for the Mass in those who spend time in adoration.

“If one goes to an adoration chapel to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, it should create a longing to receive the Eucharist with the community together praying at Sunday worship or even at daily Mass,” Msgr. Schaedel said. “One leads to the other in a circular path.”

Describing eucharistic adoration as a “contemplative extension of the Mass,” Father Mahan also said that the devotion can motivate Catholics to put their faith into action.

“It prolongs, I think, the moment when we are dismissed and we are told to go in peace and love and serve the Lord,” he said. “The Lord Jesus wants us to be mindful of looking for the needs of the body of Christ out in the world. And so there’s a sense in which the practice of adoration extends that part of the Mass when we are charged to go forward and live out our faith in our families and in our world.” †

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