September 6, 2023 at 9:18 a.m.
SOURCE AND SUMMIT
Adoration is one easy way to increase your devotion to the Eucharist
A monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament is displayed on the altar during Eucharistic adoration at Notre Dame Church in New Hyde Park, N.Y., July 25, 2023. (OSV News photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
(Courtesy photo of Gregory A. Shemitz)
For Father Tony Childs, there simply is no denying that the Eucharist — the source and summit of the Catholic faith — is the Real Presence of Christ.
“Especially for Roman Catholic Christians, the Eucharist is the source and summit of our whole foundation of faith and we know this empirically from the Bible with the Last Supper,” said Father Childs, pastor at St. Michael the Archangel Church in South Glens Falls. “And even in John’s Gospel, Chapter 6, the whole Bread of Life discourse and so that’s very clear … and St. Paul’s Letters as well, especially Corinthians, that all underscore (that). Then to say nothing of the teachings of the Church during apostolic times and all the saints and popes who in one way or another have always had a focus on the Eucharist as being life-sustaining.
21 ways to
spend an hour
1. Slowly read Scripture. Then listen.
2. Pray the Rosary.
3. Let God look at you. Just “be” in His presence.
4. Speak about your loved ones.
5. Pray for an enemy.
6. Promise to trust Him.
7. Tell Him something that made you happy. Then listen.
8. Tell Him your fears. Then listen.
9. Tell Him what angers you. Then listen.
10. Lean on Him. Tell Him you love Him.
11. Thank Him for the Sacraments.
12. Tell Him your failures. Ask for help. Then listen.
13. Slowly recite the Beatitudes.
14. Pray for vocations.
15. Ask Him to show you the next step.
16. Count your gifts and blessings. Then thank Him.
17. Pray and intercede for the Church and the world.
18. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
19. Pray the Psalms or Liturgy of the Hours.
20. Read the life of a saint and ask for his or her help.
21. Write in a prayer journal.
Source: Our Lady of Victory Adoration Chapel, Hudson. (hudsonadoration.com)
“I’m always impressed by the saints that you read about who were referenced as having a great devotion to the Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament. St. Mother Teresa, her convent, their nuns, they have a chapel and they all begin and end their day with an hour of prayer amongst all the other things that they do. And you think, wow, how can they take time for that? It’s precisely that they do that, that they can do all the other things that they do.”
But the devotion and adoration to the Eucharist and the Real Presence may not have translated to all present-day Catholics as a Pew Research study in 2019 showed that just 31 percent of Catholics in this country believed that “during Catholic Mass, the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus.”
Coupled with the effects of the pandemic and with fewer people actually attending live Masses and receiving Communion, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops knew something had to be done.
So on June 19, 2022, on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the bishops launched the National Eucharistic Revival (www.eucharisticcongress.org), with parishes encouraged to hold Eucharistic processions. Blessed Carlo Acutis, the young Italian Catholic who had an extraordinary devotion to the Eucharist, was the patron of the revival’s first year. On June 11 of this year — also on the feast of Corpus Christi — the Year of Parish Revival began. The New York State Eucharistic Congress (nyseucharisticcongress.org) is set for Oct. 20-22 at Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine in Auriesville, while the national revival will culminate in the 10th National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis in 2024.
“There’s a long, long history in the Catholic Church of the importance of and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, but also as we see throughout salvation history, there’s been ebbs and tides of the Church’s or the faithful’s appreciation or knowledge or understanding of the Real Presence,” Father Childs said. “And I think that’s why the American bishops said that we need to do something here. … We are in a very critical situation where people have just stopped going to Mass. They just don’t have that burning, intense appreciation for what the Mass is and especially the highlight of it, the Eucharist.”
Father Childs added that one of the best ways to increase devotion to the Eucharist is through Adoration. St. Mary’s in Glens Falls and Our Lady of the Annunciation in Queensbury — two of the closest parishes to St. Michael the Archangel — have both offered Adoration for a long time. St. Michael’s had tried in the past — they are the only parish that has a Saturday morning Mass in the area with Adoration after — but “for whatever reason, we kept getting Saturday morning funerals and that kind of scuttled it for a while. It didn’t seem to be the right time,” Father Childs added.
With the Year of Parish Revival underway, this year was the right time to restart Adoration.
“A couple people approached me and said, ‘Could we ever have Adoration?’ And I did a couple of parish listening sessions and that was one of the things that came up in it. We don’t have it and we probably should,” said Father Childs, who also does non-stop Adoration from Palm Sunday to Tuesday of Holy Week every other year.
The parish started Adoration again after Divine Mercy Sunday “and knock on wood, crossing your fingers, it has worked out very well. So we now have it on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.”
Another reason that Father Childs points to people’s lack of understanding of the Real Presence is they were simply not taught the importance of it.
“I think in the past 30 or 40 years, I will say I didn’t even really have a solid foundation in it myself, growing up in my youth,” he said. “And I was very involved in my home parish. I was an altar boy and I went through what is now Mater Christi, back then it was St. Catherine of Siena, and we went to Mass and everything. I think by and large many people take it for granted or don’t even know what they are taking for granted. And I think it is the job now of pastors, priests and deacons and all of us in church leadership to try to help rekindle (that fire). … If the faithful would better appreciate the significance and the power and the grace and gift that the Eucharist is for us, I think it could have a tremendous impact for people’s lives and for parishes by extension then ultimately the whole world.”