SMOKE FROM INCENSE is lit by the sun as Rev. James Ebert, pastor, and seminarian Daniel McHale participate in eucharistic adoration at Mater Christi parish in Albany.
SMOKE FROM INCENSE is lit by the sun as Rev. James Ebert, pastor, and seminarian Daniel McHale participate in eucharistic adoration at Mater Christi parish in Albany.
St. Francis of Assisi explained his love for the Blessed Sacrament by saying: "In this world, I cannot see the Most High Son of God with my own eyes, except for his Most Holy Body and Blood."

Following in the saint's footsteps, the Mater Christi Holy League, a men's group at the Albany parish, meets at 7 p.m. on the first Friday of every month for eucharistic adoration.

Typically, a particular theme is chosen. The group has offered holy hours for vocations, intentions to the Blessed Virgin Mary and reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. There is prayer, music, reflection and discussion.

At a recent meeting, sunlight reflected off smoke in the sanctuary as Rev. James Ebert and seminarian Daniel McHale knelt before the monstrance. Mr. McHale said afterward that the light on the consecrated host seemed "especially appropriate, given [that] the night's reflection talk focused on the iconography of the Sacred Heart."

The Mater Christi Holy League began in 2015 at a gathering for men of the Diocese sponsored by The King's Men, another Catholic group with local branches. Members of Mater Christi parish who attended decided, with Father Ebert's support, to form a parish men's group based on a similar model.

"Given the busyness and social obligations of our modern lives, it's hard to find time to pray together," noted the pastor, who endorsed the idea.

(The league is open to all men of the Albany Diocese. Contact mcholyleague@gmail.com.)