Recently in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament Category

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Among a certain crowd of priests, religious and laity you will hear that Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is no longer an appropriate method of prayer: "Vatican II changed all that..." or they'll say "That's ol'time religion." One priest even told me that Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is cookie worship. Really? Giving praise to God is outdated? Adoration of the Holy Name is no longer in vogue? The God who created you is not worship and made known? None of this reflects my Catholic faith!

I am somewhat certain that those who claim Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament neither know the Commandments (to worship God), the Tradition of the Church, the documents of the Second Vatican Council nor the post Conciliar work of Popes Paul, John Paul and Benedict. It is safe to say that these people who reject the the practice of a Holy Hour are the same who who haven't had a good formation in the faith or the Lex Orandi tradition.

Perhaps we all should recall what the Servant of God Pope Paul VI said in Mysterium Fidei

The Catholic Church has always displayed and still displays this latria that ought to be paid to the Sacrament of the Eucharist, both during Mass and outside of it, by taking the greatest possible care of consecrated Hosts, by exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and by carrying them about in processions to the joy of great numbers of the people (56).

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The Rector of the Oratory of Sts Gregory and Augustine, Father Bede Price, and Abbot Thomas with the monastic community of St Louis Abbey, welcomed Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament on Friday, January 7th.

His Eminence was the Archbishop of Archdiocese of Saint Louis between 2003 and 2008. Since 2008, he's been the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura.

On the First Sunday of Advent, December 2, 2007, Cardinal Burke canonically established the Oratory of Sts Gregory and Augustine as a non-territorial parish of the St Louis Archdiocese following the 1962 Roman Missal.
Dominique Rey.jpgThe Most Reverend Dominique Rey, Bishop of Fréjus-Toulon, announced today that he is sponsoring an international conference on Eucharistic Adoration to be held in Rome, Italy, 20-23 June 2011: Adoratio 2011: From Adoration to Evangelization.

The Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist, a community founded in 2007 Bishop Rey is doing the organizing of the conference.

In the words of Bishop Rey: "The first condition for the new evangelization is adoration." No truer words have been spoken. And as we know so well, Eucharistic Adoration is key in the spiritual life and human flourishing and it figures prominently in the pastoral plan of Pope Benedict XVI.

Bishop Dominique Rey is renown for his pastoral directness and knowing Christ through sacred Scripture and the sacred Liturgy. His background includes earning a doctorate in economics and he worked for the Ministry of Finance of France. He is a priest of the Emmanuel Community and received episcopal ordination in 2000. Since becoming bishop, he's known to be supportive of the good work of new communities, the lay movements and religious orders. His agenda is the Church's:  the lex orandi, lex credendi tradition. He's been an exponent of the new evangelization brought on the world stage by Pope John Paul II and continued by Pope Benedict XVI.

For more information:
Media contact: Father Florian Racine: 

The press release with a list of the speakers is found here: Eucharistic congress 2011, Rome.pdf

Saint Pius X, pope

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In Pope Saint Pius X we have an ardent supporter and leader in devotion to the Christ Lord known to us in the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Today, take the opportunity to spend some time, even if it is 5 minutes, in front of the Blessed Sacrament saying nothing to the Lord; just being there in friendship and humble adoration is enough. And ask Saint Pius X to beg the Holy Spirit once again to place in our hearts a fervent love for the Lord in the Eucharist and the grace to live in communio with the Trinity and our neighbor.


Saint Pius wrote of the place Eucharistic worship in our Catholic lives:

Wherefore, works of this kind which have been already set on foot must be ever more zealously promoted; old undertakings must be revived wherever perchance they may have fallen into decay; for instance, Confraternities of the holy Eucharist, intercessory prayers before the blessed Sacrament exposed for the veneration of the faithful, solemn processions, devout visits to God's tabernacle, and other holy and salutary practices of some kind; nothing must be omitted which a prudent piety may suggest as suitable. But the chief aim of our efforts must be that the frequent reception of the Eucharist may be everywhere revived among Catholic peoples. For this is the lesson which is taught us by the example, already referred to, of the primitive Church, by the decrees of Councils, by the authority of the Fathers and of the holy men in all ages. For the soul, like the body, needs frequent nourishment; and the holy Eucharist provides that food which is best adapted to the support of its life. Accordingly all hostile prejudices, those vain fears to which so many yield, and their specious excuses from abstaining from the Eucharist, must be resolutely put aside; for there is question here of a gift than which none other can be more serviceable to the faithful people, either for the redeeming of time from the tyranny of anxious cares concerning perishable things, or for the renewal of the Christian spirit and perseverance therein. To this end the exhortations and example of all those who occupy a prominent position will powerfully contribute, but most especially the resourceful and diligent zeal of the clergy.

Pope Saint Pius X, Mirae Caritatis (1902)

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B16 & Eucharist 2009.jpgPeriodically people ask about the practice of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I typically find the questions interesting because it seems like we have forgotten the reasons why we adore the eucharistic Presence of Jesus Christ and this experience of eucharistic adoration is key for every Catholic and for every parish, school, hospital, convent, abbey, etc. 

When questions arise about the character of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament we should go to the liturgical book called Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass. While it does not provide details about what ought or ought not be done at Adoration, it does provide a liturgical theology by which we follow. There it says that 

Exposition of the Holy Eucharist is intended to acknowledge Christ's marvelous presence in the sacrament. Exposition invites us to the spiritual union with him that culminates in sacramental communion. Thus it fosters very well the worship which is due to Christ in spirit and in truth. This kind of exposition must clearly express the cult of the blessed sacrament in its relationship to the Mass.  The plan of the exposition should carefully avoid anything which might somehow obscure the principal desire of Christ in instituting the Eucharist, namely, to be with us as food, medicine, and comfort" (n.82).

Therefore, we can reason that devotions, songs, prayers, etc., ought to be consistent with what is given in this book. 

The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy: Principles and Guidelines does offer examples of what is consistent with the purposes of Eucharistic adoration. It says: 

The faithful should be encouraged to read the Scriptures during these periods of adoration, since they afford an unrivalled source of prayer.  Suitable hymns and canticles based on those of the Liturgy of the Hours and the liturgical seasons could also be encouraged, as well as periods of silent prayer and reflection.  Gradually, the faithful should be encouraged not to do other devotional exercises during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.  Given the close relationship between Christ and Our Lady, the rosary can always be of assistance in giving prayer a Christological orientation, since it contains meditation of the Incarnation and the Redemption (n.165).

This list of practices is not exhaustive, and it is not meant to be but it does give a useful sense of how to evaluate our devotional practices during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
An ancient phrase indicates what a true relationship with God is: Deus es consumens: he purifies from sin and makes us white as wool. He consumes our darkness with his light, with his love, with his entire self. gives luster to soul, stripes away sin and brights the souls giving the same grace which was given to the apostles.

So it can be said, "My God and my all" as Saint Francis did. Everything is drawn into the person  of God. Everything changes in our life when we abandon ourselves to the Lord: absolutely everything changes when we give total reverence for the Divine.

When we come to Christ in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, or walk up to the altar to receive the Holy Eucharist, we know in the root of our being that he totally different from me and my experience. In these gestures of love we say with John the Baptist: I must decrease while he must increase.
On August 3rd, I mentioned here in this blog that after 40 years the eucharistic of perpetual adoration is returning to the Archdiocese of Boston. Cardinal O'Malley is opening the endeavor with a Mass on August 15. Visit St Clement's Shrine.

Read Boston Globe's Michael Paulson's article on the renewed interest in perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It's picking up steam in Boston, why not in other dioceses?

There are a few places in the Bridgeport Diocese that have regular adoration: one is 24/7 (St Marguerite Bourgeois Church) and the rest have near perpetual adoration; it seems to me that we need more 24/7 adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Seems to be nowhere in the Diocese of Norwich, CT. In the Archdiocese of Hartford I can think of the Dominican nuns in North Guilford, CT, having perpetual adoration but their chapel is not open to the public for the full 24 hours.

While I know adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a awesome gesture of prayer, beauty, sacrifice and communion, is it wanted or needed by the people of God (& clergy)? I get the sense that it's not based on these three dioceses but I think I'd be wrong to make this conclusion. Paulson's article brings to light that people are truly changed after spending time with the Lord; and I dare say it's also vice versa --that the Lord wants to spend time with us. So why can't more dioceses restore a sensible practice of eucharistic adoration 24/7?

After a 40-year absence, the practice of perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament has returned to the Archdiocese of Boston. This is another positive response to Pope Benedict's calling for a Year of the Priest and a desire to intimately know the Lord.

In Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Pope John Paul told us that:

It is pleasant to spend time with him [Christ], to lie close to his breast like the Beloved Disciple (cf. Jn 13:25) and to feel the infinite love present in his heart. If in our time Christians must be distinguished above all by the "art of prayer", how can we not feel a renewed need to spend time in spiritual converse, in silent adoration, in heartfelt love before Christ present in the Most Holy Sacrament? How often, dear brother and sisters, have I experienced this, and drawn from it strength, consolation and support!  This practice, repeatedly praised and recommended by the Magisterium, is supported by the example of many saints. Particularly outstanding in this regard was Saint Alphonsus Liguori, who wrote: "Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us". The Eucharist is a priceless treasure: by not only celebrating it but also by praying before it outside of Mass we are enabled to make contact with the very wellspring of grace. A Christian community desirous of contemplating the face of Christ in the spirit which I proposed in the Apostolic Letters Novo Millennio Ineunte and Rosarium Virginis Mariae cannot fail also to develop this aspect of Eucharistic worship, which prolongs and increases the fruits of our communion in the body and blood of the Lord.

In Mane Nobiscum Domine we read: "Our faith in the God who took flesh in order to become our companion along the way needs to be everywhere proclaimed, especially in our streets and homes, as an expression of our grateful love and as an inexhaustible source of blessings." So the liturgical practice of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament deepens the heart's desire "to cultivate a lively awareness of Christ's real presence" (18).

Get the point? Adoration of the Eucharistic face of the Lord awakens in us something new, something beautiful.

Officially Boston's Eucharistic adoration begins with the Sacrifice of the Mass on August 15 celebrated by Cardinal Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap.

Visit website for the Saint Clement Shrine

"O taste and see the goodness of the Lord." (Psalm 34)

Saint Peter Julian Eymard

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Lord God, You kept Saint Peter faithful to Christ's pattern of poverty and humility. May his prayers help us to live in fidelity to our calling and bring us to the perfection You have shown us in Your Son.

A short biography of Saint Peter Julian, the founder of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament

A list of resources on The Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament

In some places it's now catching-on that Thursday is a fitting day for Eucharistic adoration with the intention of reparation, perhaps replacing Fridays if one had to make a choice or either-or. I tend to think that Thursday is a more apt for Eucharistic adoration on a stable basis in one's life and perhaps in parish life since as Catholics our center is Eucharistic and the identification the Church makes with events that happened on Holy Thursdays and Corpus Christi. Some theologians and spiritual writers today are advocating this move for just this reason: Do this in memory of me. Whatever the case is, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is clearly a return to "the Cenacle, there to relive in adoration and joy the gift and mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist."


Thinking about what Pope Benedict XVI has said regarding the Lord's Supper, "the Church commemorates the institution of the Eucharist, the ministerial priesthood and the new commandment of charity, left by Jesus to his disciples." In another place he said that there is a "...renewed invitation to render thanks to God for the supreme gift of the Eucharist, to be received with devotion and to be adored with lively faith. Because of this, the Church encourages, after the celebration of Holy Mass, watching in the presence of the Most Holy Sacrament, recalling the sad hour that Jesus passed in solitude and prayer in Gethsemane, before being arrested and then being condemned to death." We therefore adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, either following Mass or at another time to live in the graces of what happened at Mass. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament extends the graces of the Mass even after Mass has ended.

What better day than to work on this invitation to live in a spirit of renewal with the Eucharist, the ministerial priesthood and the theology of the Mass. The gift of sanctification (holiness) promised us by the Lord is made real in the bond we have with the Eucharistic Lord. Our lives depend on it because a strong Eucharistic spirituality centers our heart in the heart of the Church.

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Hidden God, devoutly I adore Thee, truly present underneath these veils: all my heart subdues itself before Thee, since it all before Thee faints and fails.

Not to sight, or taste, or touch be credit hearing only do we trust secure; I believe, for God the Son has said it- Word of truth that ever shall endure.

On the cross was veiled Thy Godhead's splendor, here Thy manhood lies hidden too; unto both alike my faith I render, and, as sued the contrite thief, I sue.

Though I look not on Thy wounds with Thomas, Thee, my Lord, and Thee, my God, I call: make me more and more believe Thy promise, hope in Thee, and love Thee over all.

O memorial of my Savior dying, Living Bread, that gives life to man; make my soul, its life from Thee supplying, taste Thy sweetness, as on earth it can.

Deign, O Jesus, Pelican of heaven, me, a sinner, in Thy Blood to lave, to a single drop of which is given all the world from all its sin to save.

Contemplating, Lord, Thy hidden presence, grant me what I thirst for and implore, in the revelation of Thy essence to behold Thy glory evermore, Amen.

Epiphany Novena for priests

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John Paul with BS.jpgLittle more than a year my friend Fr. Mark at Vultus Christi initiated a plan of prayer for the priesthood, particularly in reparation for sins committed by priests. This plan of prayer was inspired by a letter from Cardinal Claudio Hummes, OFM to the world's bishops encouraging them to designate people, including priests, whose "ministry" it would be to pray for the priesthood in the wake of the sex abuse crisis. The point of the letter was to begin to think about and work for a renewal of the priesthood. Today begins a novena inspired by Saint Peter Julian Emyard who in 1857 began his own renewal of the priesthood adoration movement. Let's be united in prayer for the intentions of our priests.

Fr. Mark has also developed a program of prayer called Thursdays in Adoration and Reparation for Priests which keeps the Holy Thursday event of Our Lord forming the priesthood and giving us the gift of His Eucharistic Presence.

There are many opportunities to spend time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in parishes today (more now than a few years ago). And there religious orders who make it a point to adore Christ in the Blessed Sacrament regularly, if not daily, for example, the Dominican nuns in North Guilford, CT and Linden, VA to name two monasteries, the pink sisters found in cities such as Philadelphia, St. Louis, Lincoln and Corpus Christi; the monks of Saint Vincent Archabbey and Newark Abbey have the daily practice of adoration prior to the Divine Office, the monks of Saint Mary's Abbey (Morristown, NJ) have adoration and confession on the second Friday of the month for vocations and for the priesthood, the monks of Belmont Abbey (Belmont, NC) have recently dedicated an adoration chapel in the center of their college campus in honor of Saint Joseph where monks, students and other interested people gather with the Eucharistic Lord.

What better time than in Epiphanytide to develop a habit of prayer in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament? 



About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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