Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration

Some time ago The Defender printed an article about a Perpetual Adoration Chapel at St. Mary's Church in Annapolis, Maryland. Even though some of the material will be repeated here, we have found another chapel in such an exceptional location that we want to tell you about this one too.

First of all, we must describe a Perpetual Adoration Chapel. Many Catholics may not even be aware that they exist. Perpetual Adoration is a Eucharistic devotion whereby members of a parish commit themselves to worship of the Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament, exposed on the altar throughout the entire day and night, every day and night of the year. Usually a church will construct a small chapel for 10 or more people, as a part of the main church, but accessible 24 hours a day. A schedule is then established so that there will always be a minimum of two people in the chapel day and night. The Holy Eucharist is then placed in a monstrance placed upon the altar. No public prayers are said in the chapel. People go there to enjoy the sweet peace of being in God's presence. Simply being there to adore Him is a prayer of great faith and love. Some people pray the Rosary. Some use prayer books or the Bible. Others just sit quietly and listen. God knows our heart and our needs.

To see Jesus visibly present under the appearance of the small white host should inspire great intimacy with the Lord. St. Alphonse of Ligouri wrote, "It is true that in every place God graciously hears the petitions of those who pray to Him, having promised to do so ... Have no doubt, however, that Jesus dispenses His graces in greater abundance to those who visit Him in the Most Holy Sacrament."

Our Holy Father Pope John Paul ll has urged churches everywhere to establish Perpetual Adoration Chapels. "Let us not refuse the time to meet Him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith...." How have U. S. churches responded to our Holy Father's wish? Over 1,000 American parishes have established Perpetual adoration, as reported in the Arlington Catholic Herald (3/4/99). It is not unusual to find a Perpetual Adoration Chapel in a large parish located in a metropolitan area; however, it is unusual to find such a chapel in a small mountain town that is not even predominantly Catholic.

What a tribute to the parishioners of this parish! Nearly 300 parishioners have committed themselves to an hour or more a week of Eucharistic Adoration. Since its institution in 1995, there have been consistently more than 1,000 recorded visits to the chapel every month. And what a tribute to the founding pastor! In these days when we have pastors who think that Rosaries, Eucharistic Adoration and even genuflecting are passe, they have a pastor with the faith and courage to establish a Perpetual Adoration Chapel in this little mountain town in Western Virginia. He, no doubt with a few faithful and devout parishioners, is the good shepherd that encouraged this commitment of love to God.
Where is this parish? It is the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Winchester, Virginia. Visit any time of the day or night. It is easy to get to from the Baltimore - Washington DC area and from any place in West Virginia. Call the rectory 304-662-5858 for more information.

Jim Fritz




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