With the new year has come the official opening of the perpetual Eucharistic Adoration chapel at the old St. Mary Church on Wolf Road. The faithful can now use a keypad code (obtained by calling the parish office) to enter the old church 24/7 to pray before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
One of the practical requirements of running a perpetual Adoration chapel is having someone called a perpetual adorer be there every hour of the day and night to “keep watch” over the Sacrament. Although many time slots have already been filled by our pious parishioners, there are still some empty ones, particularly during the overnight hours.
There are various reasons why someone may not wish to commit to an hour of Adoration each week. Many don’t yet understand the spiritual benefits of Adoration. Others feel like they don’t have time, or they’re not comfortable being alone in an empty building. Perhaps another reason is that they simply don’t know what to do during Adoration. Pray? Sit there? Kneel?
The best way to address these questions and concerns is by talking to individuals who have already made the commitment to be perpetual adorers. Recently, we spoke with two of them. By learning their story, you may decide to take that leap of faith to either sign up to be a perpetual adorer or simply request the keypad code and come for private prayer.
Bill Trudeau is a St. Mary parishioner, religious education catechist, and member of Fit Shepherds who volunteered to take one of the more difficult Adoration time slots—Wednesday from 2:00 AM – 3:00 AM.
“Not long ago, one of the guys at Fit Shepherds announced that St. Mary is launching perpetual Adoration and is counting on the men of the parish to take the more difficult time slots,” says Trudeau, who had only recently discovered the joys of Adoration himself while on a trip to The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin. “That really spoke to me, so I decided I can handle the difficult time and welcomed the challenge.”
So, when most of the town is asleep, Trudeau is praying before Jesus at the old St. Mary Church. “There’s not a right or wrong way to do it,” he explains. “Sometimes I go in and pray a Rosary out loud and talk about things with God. Other times I read the Catechism.”
Trudeau admits that he struggles with silence, hence the talking out loud. “I hope one day I can kneel down and sit there in silence.” Silent or not, he encourages everyone to attend. “You don’t need a subject or script to go to Adoration,” he points out. “The main thing is that you’re there and you’re spending that time with Jesus.”
Annie Norton is a wife, mother, and St. Mary parishioner. She and her husband began attending Adoration at St. Mary a couple years ago on Wednesdays and eventually became dedicated adorers. “It became harder to commit to going every week without having a dedicated time, so we signed up for a slot,” says Norton. “It helps make it a habit.”
Like Trudeau, Norton believes there’s no pressure to do anything specific during Adoration. “Just being there in the presence of God is more fruitful than you would think,” she says. Her personal routine includes formal prayers, reflective silence, and saying the Rosary.
“Adoration gives me grace and is my lifeline with God”-Annie Norton, St. Mary Parishioner
“Sometimes you feel distracted and like you got nothing out of it, but it’s still fruitful because God recognizes that you’re sacrificing your time,” she says reassuringly. “In any relationship, you have to put forth effort. That’s how it is with God too. When you’re going to Adoration, it’s a beautiful chance to sit and listen to God, spend time with Him and work on your relationship.”
She gave one example of God speaking to her during Adoration when she was stressed. “I flipped open the Bible and landed on a passage where Jesus essentially said don’t let your heart be troubled,” she recalls. “I felt like He was speaking to me, and I was supposed to read that. Adoration gives me grace and is my lifeline with God.”
Is it Safe at Adoration?
Some parishioners worry about the safety of being alone in the Adoration chapel, especially at night. Both Trudeau and Norton say there’s nothing to worry about. “When you’re with Jesus, all that fear goes away,” says Norton, who advises those who are concerned to tell someone else where they’re going to be.
The parish has taken security measures to keep the experience safe. No one can get in without the keypad code and there are cameras and extra lighting installed.
How to Attend Adoration
If you are interested in going to Adoration without committing to a particular time slot, you may call the parish office at (708) 326-9300 and request the keypad code. If you are interested in committing to be a dedicated perpetual adorer, please fill out this form. Either way, we hope you come. Jesus would love to have you visit!