August 14, 2009

Benedict Inn programs explore Catholic identity and doctrine

By Mary Ann Wyand

Want to spend more time in the presence of God?

A new “Catholic Identity and Doctrine” program offered by the Benedict Inn Retreat and Conference Center in Beech Grove explores all the ways to do that.

Benedictine Father Matthias Neuman, chaplain of the Sisters of St. Benedict of Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, will explain “Devotion to the Eucharist Outside the Mass” from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Aug. 18 at the Benedict Inn, located at 1402 Southern Ave.

The Eucharist is the core of the Catholic faith, he said, and spending time in eucharistic adoration enables Catholics to grow closer to God.

“We’ve always said in our theology that God speaks to the heart,” Father Matthias explained during an Aug. 6 phone interview. “Sometimes you have to put yourself in a position where you are deliberately listening [to God]. It’s pretty hard in a noisy, blaring world to find some quiet time where you really can just go inside yourself and listen [for God’s voice].”

His introductory program of the Benedict Inn’s four-part “Catholic Identity and Doctrine” series this fall examines what the Church teaches about eucharistic devotions.

He will discuss the history and practice of eucharistic adoration, Benediction, eucharistic processions and the celebration of the feast of Corpus Christi.

Father Matthias said it’s important to understand what the Church teaches about devotion to the reserved sacrament in order to develop a deeper devotion to the Eucharist.

That requires time and prayer, he said, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

In the last 20 years, there has been a resurgence of devotion to the Eucharist outside of Mass, Father Matthias explained, which is apparent by the growing number of perpetual adoration chapels established in parishes, special eucharistic adoration days at parish churches and the renewal of interest in Benediction.

“For the first thousand years of the Church’s history, they didn’t have any of these devotions outside Mass,” he said. “The only thing they had was the service of the Eucharist itself and devotion to the Eucharist in the celebration of Mass. Then they kept a little of the Eucharist reserved for the purpose of those who were sick.”

Eucharistic devotions common in the Church today date back to 1050 through 1400, Father Matthias said, rather than to the beginning of the early Church.

“What’s important to remember is that all the current teaching of the Church continually reiterates the fact that all these devotions are to be seen as leading up to the celebration of the Eucharist at Mass,” he said. “The whole purposes of Benediction and adoration are basically to … tide you over until you [participate in] the celebration of the Eucharist.”

Scripture reminds us to “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps 46:11).

“We live in a culture that’s very fast-paced, very hectic and very crowded,” Father Matthias said. “People look for a space where they can have some time for themselves.”

His program will remind people that the quiet space and time they seek in the midst of the busyness of daily life is best found in prayer to God before the Blessed Sacrament.

Other programs in the Benedict Inn’s four-part “Catholic Identity and Doctrine” religious education and dinner series this fall are:

  • “The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,” presented by Benedictine Sister Mildred Wannemuehler on Sept. 22.
  • “The Power of Reconciliation,” presented by Father Glenn O’Connor, pastor of St. Ann and St. Joseph parishes in Indianapolis, on Oct. 20.
  • “Exploring the Covenant in Scripture,” presented by Benedictine Sister Susan Marie Lindstrom on Nov. 17.

(“Catholic Identity and Doctrine” programs include dinner and are $25 per person or $20 per person with a friend if registered in advance. For more information or to register, call the Benedict Inn at 317-788-7581 or send an e-mail to

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