By Eddie O’Neill
For close to six months now, Jesus Christ has been adored and glorified day and night in the Eucharistic adoration chapel at St. Brendan Church in Mexico.
Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament began at the parish on Divine Mercy Sunday, and according to the pastor, Father Mark Porterfield, it has been a real blessing.
“The parishioners here have responded well,” he said. “Many people have mentioned to me how much they appreciate being able to spend time in quiet prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.”
Fr. Porterfield explained that the parish had talked about starting adoration even before he arrived at St. Brendan five years ago.
“The parish council knew it was important in building up and strengthening the faith of our parish. The biggest obstacle was finding a place to put the (adoration) chapel,” he said. “When we were cleaning out the side sacristies, we found that we could use one of the sacristies as an adoration chapel.”
At 3 p.m. — the hour of mercy — on April 23, after the praying of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Fr. Porterfield reposed the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel.
“It was a great day to begin,” he said.
Come, let us adore Him
For centuries, the Catholic Church has been encouraging and promoting Eucharistic devotion outside of Mass.
One of its greatest promoters was Pope St. John Paul II.
In “Inaestimabile Donum,” his 1980 apostolic letter on Eucharistic worship and celebration, he wrote: “Public and private devotion to the Holy Eucharist outside of Mass also is highly recommended: for the presence of Christ, Who is adored by the faithful in the Sacrament, derives from the sacrifice and is directed towards sacramental and spiritual Communion.”
Since Divine Mercy Sunday of this year, parishioners at St. Brendan have committed to spending close to 75 hours each week with the Lord in prayer at the chapel.
They have adoration without exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. However, the goal, according to Deacon James Farnell, is to move toward perpetual adoration, during which Jesus would be exposed in the monstrance of the adoration chapel 24 hours, seven days a week.
That equates to 168 hours of prayer.
“To see Jesus visibly present under the appearance of the small, white host is much more conducive to intimacy than hidden away in the tabernacle,” the deacon recently wrote in a parish newsletter.
Hour of power
Longtime parishioner Rebekah Hudson has been soaking in the blessings of spending an hour a week alone with Jesus in the chapel.
“It was a new concept for me,” said the wife and mother of three young children. “I was intrigued by the idea of the chapel and yearned for a quiet hour away with our Lord.”
On her first visit, she said she felt right at home as she noted the chapel was a warm and comfortable place, ideal for quiet prayer.
The reality of multitudes of adoring angels, along with the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, are revealed in artwork adorning the chapel.
“I left after my first hour feeling a peace and fulfillment that I had been missing for some time,” said Mrs. Hudson. “I felt re-energized in a way similar to returning home from a retreat.
“Since then, the chapel has become a quiet place away from the daily noise and distraction as I sit in the presence of our Lord,” she said.
Parishioner Vince Fuemmeler shared her sentiments, spending an hour each Monday morning with Jesus at the chapel.
“There is no better way to spend an hour each week than to silently be with God and tell Him how much He means to me and to be able to ask for forgiveness,” he said. “It is a place of peace.”
Mr. Fuemmeler, who grew up in St. Brenden parish, added that at first he wasn’t sure how he would spend his holy hour. While he’s tried the Rosary and other prayers, he said that silence has become his most powerful prayer.
“I just let God do the talking,” he said. “It provides a sense of peace and quiet and when I feel God is speaking to me, it’s an incredible feeling of peace and joy.”
Prayers for the parish
Fr. Porterfield agrees that silence is golden.
The busy pastor calls the 60 minutes a day he spends in the chapel his best hour.
“Silence is necessary to encounter God,” he said. “The chapel is an oasis away from the noise and a place to encounter our Lord. My time in the chapel has transformed my prayer life as well as helped me focus on the important things in the parish and my ministry. I always spend part of my time praying for the parish and parishioners.”
Deacon Farnell has also seen the chapel as a place of prayer not only for his intentions but for the parish community as well.
“I have been very touched by the opportunity to read the prayer requests in the parish journal (located in the chapel),” he said. “It has been a privilege to reflect on those who have written of their prayers, petitions, praise and thanksgiving.”
As the parish looks to recruit more “prayer-warriors” to fill out the weekly adoration schedule, Mr. Fuemmeler’s words of encouragement are appropriate: “Be not afraid.”
“Don’t worry about the time or what you’ll do or say,” he said. “If you start with five minutes, God will be there. Eventually, you will find the time you spend in the chapel, will go by quickly.
“There is no right way to spend your adoration hour,” he said. “Just come and be with God, and He’ll do the rest.”