SUGGESTIONS ON EUCHARISTIC ADORATION
by Fr. Martin Lucia
What is parish Perpetual Adoration?
Perpetual Adoration is a Eucharistic devotion whereby members
of a given parish (or other entity) unite in taking hours of
adoration before the Most Blessed Sacrament (in most cases
exposed), both during the day and throughout the night, seven days
Is Perpetual Adoration the only type of Eucharistic adoration
apart from the Mass?
No, it is not. There are many types of adoration programs,
such as day adoration, First Friday to the First Saturday, weekend
retreats, etc. However, the ideal and grace-laden program both for
the parish and the individual members is the full- time, permanent
adoration of our Lord exposed in a monstrance in which adorers
commit themselves to at least one assigned hour each week.
Besides the fact that more adoration hours will be made in
perpetual adoration, are there any other reasons why this form of
adoration is more successful than the traditional First Friday
Some pastors think that there will not be enough people
interested because only a handful respond to First Friday
Eucharistic adoration. For some reason, parishioners are far more
responsive to perpetual adoration than to First Friday devotion.
One practical reason for this responsiveness is that a person has
any hour of the week to choose from. Another reason is that
perpetual adoration appeals to our faith. Perpetual adoration is
an authentic witness to our belief in the Real Presence of Jesus
in the Blessed Sacrament. Perpetual adoration is putting faith
into action. This ideal form of witness to our faith is very
attractive to people today who live in such a false, shallow,
hypocritical world. When a pastor offers the opportunity of
perpetual adoration to the people, they perceive the importance of
the Real Presence and the seriousness involved in responding to
our Lord's love in the Blessed Sacrament. People have a "take it
or leave it" attitude toward First Friday devotion because if we
truly believe that Jesus is truly and really present in the
Blessed Sacrament then we would do far more than make our Lord
available to the people once a month.
Why is exposition in the monstrance preferred?
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. Moreover, it adds an extra responsibility
on the adorers to be sure to be faithful to the hours they are
scheduled, since the suggested norm for having Jesus exposed in
the monstrance is that there should be at least two adorers
present and He must never be left alone. Could not these words of
our Lord be applied here: "Indeed, this is the will of my
heavenly Father, that everyone who looks upon the Son, and
believes in him, shall have eternal life. Him I will raise up on
the last day."
What are some good reasons for establishing Perpetual Adoration?
a) To provide an easy, attractive and practical way of
rendering God adoration which is his due as our Creator; of giving
him thanks for our redemption; of making reparation for our sins
and the sins of mankind; of petitioning the good God for the
constant help we need.
b) To show our gratitude to our Lord for remaining among us
in our tabernacles, and to make at least some atonement for the
many sacrileges, indifferences and ingratitude which he receives
in his Sacrament of Love.
What spiritual benefits and graces can be attributed to the
establishment of a parish Perpetual Adoration program?
a) An increase in Mass attendance and reception of the
b) Return of fallen-away Catholics and increase in the number
c) Increase in religious and priestly vocations.
d) Renewal of Catholic family life.
e) Spiritual level of the people is raised with a resulting
desire and courage to spread the "good news" to others.
f) Creates a greater community spirit, centered as it is on
the heart of the parish, Jesus' presence in the Blessed Sacrament.
How should one go about establishing a Perpetual Adoration program
in one's parish?
a) Pray to Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament to obtain this
great grace for your parish.
b) Do everything with the knowledge and permission of the
pastor, assuring that it will not involve more work for him.
Remember it may be necessary to work along side the parish council
and other parish committees as the pastor advises.
c) Study the organizational procedures of other parishes with
Perpetual Adoration programs. The Franciscan Friars of Marytown
will continue to have reports on such programs in their
d) Interest existing organizations such as the parish
council, parish prayer groups, the Holy Name Society, St. Vincent
De Paul Society, Knights of Columbus, the Legion of Mary, Blue
Army, Altar and Rosary Society, Senior Citizens, Youth Group, Pro-
life Committee, etc. to support the program by supplying leaders
who will help organize and run the program.
What if one encounters a certain reluctance or even opposition
when proposing a parish adoration program?
First and foremost in dealing with such a problem is not to
impute bad will to those who question or even oppose such a great
spiritual benefit as Eucharistic adoration. Since Vatican II,
much confusion exists within the Church in regards to Catholic
teaching and liturgical reform. Name calling and categorizing
will only increase opposition. Though there may be some confusion
as to who has the last word in a particular parish, there is
little doubt that a pastor with a strong and effective parish
council, would not want to go against this very valuable means of
authentic spiritual renewal which involves great participation of
Thus it is vital that each member of the council or a
particular parish committee be acquainted with the many advantages
of an adoration program and that it is in full accord with
Catholic teachings and liturgical directives. If the organization
in which the pastor exercises his God-given authority is anything
but enthusiastic, one should have recourse to prayer and some form
of personal penance. If after a period of time there seems to be
little hope, one may propose establishing another form of
Eucharistic adoration such as a weekly holy hour, monthly day of
adoration, etc. In time and with a positive response from others,
those opposed to perpetual adoration may recognize its vital
importance in the Church today.
Besides prayer for the success of the program, what is the most
important single factor in a successful adoration program?
The whole-hearted support and encouragement of the pastor or
assistant pastor. Announcements from the pulpit and bulletin
notices from the pastor are a must in the successful inauguration
of any adoration program. An occasional announcement or sermon
and periodically having a guest speaker preach on the need and
value of Eucharistic Adoration will serve to keep up the interest
and enthusiasm. Short articles and personal testimonies in the
weekly bulletin may serve as an ideal way to instruct and inspire
people too. Excerpts may be taken from this magazine and the
Eucharistic publications. Above all else, there is nothing as
inspiring to parishioners as the pastor, priests, and deacons of
the parish setting an example by making Holy Hours themselves. As
the late Pope Pius XII pointed out to the Roman clergy, "If you
want the faithful to pray willingly and piously, precede them in
the church with your example, praying for them. A priest kneeling
before the tabernacle in a dignified attitude, in a profound
contemplation, is a model of edification for the people, an
admonishment and an invitation of emulation in prayer."
Who is responsible for organizing a Perpetual Adoration program?
Vatican Council II had emphasized the importance of lay
involvement in the Church's mission. It is the team principle of
the laity doing the foot work, but always keeping the pastor
informed that makes and adoration program work. It is important
that from its very inception that pastors and clergy be assured
that it does not mean their taking on extra work in an already
How is Perpetual Adoration organized in a parish?
The parish is divided into 24 groups or teams corresponding
to the 24 hours of the day. Each member in a particular group is
scheduled for a different day of the week. A captain or
coordinator or contact person is chosen form each of the groups to
make sure that each hour is covered throughout the week. If
someone needs a substitute, they call their coordinator who calls
someone else in the group who would be able to switch days with
the person who needs the substitute. Some parishes have divided
the responsibility of filling hours to seven day and seven night
captains, the men taking the night hours and the women the day.
Regardless of how this responsibility is filled responsible group
leaders are vital for a successful program.
What should be the immediate preparation in starting an adoration
First, sermons on the value of Eucharistic adoration at all
the Sunday Masses. After the homily, a written invitation is
passed out. Those wanting to participate fill out a form and
place it in the collection basket at the offertory. People check
which day and period of time they would like to make their holy
hour; morning, noon, evening, or night. There is also a space at
the bottom of the invitation to be checked off for those who would
be willing to help organize the Perpetual Adoration. A meeting is
held during the week for these volunteers. During this meeting,
the 24 or 14 coordinators are chosen along with 4 people who would
be responsible to make out the initial schedule. It generally
takes from two to three weeks to organize Perpetual Adoration in a
What is the best location for Perpetual Adoration?
The best location for Perpetual Adoration is a small chapel.
A chapel can be kept warm economically in the winter. It creates
a greater atmosphere for greater intimacy with the Lord, and
people generally feel more secure in a smaller place. If the
church does not have a chapel, any small room can be converted
into one such as an altar boy's sacristy, a crying room, a room in
the rectory, convent or parish center, are all suitable locations
for a Perpetual Adoration chapel with proper security measures
taken into consideration.
With all the crime, isn't it dangerous to have night adoration?
If there were more Perpetual Adoration programs there would
be less crime. Pope John Paul II pointed out that the evils of the
world could be overcome through the great power of adoration of
our Lord in the Eucharist. Whenever Jesus is adored in the
Blessed Sacrament, the devil flees. Many pastors around the
country have reported that since the beginning of Perpetual
Adoration in their parish, the crime rate in their community has
declined. Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the same Lord who
calmed the sea, cast out the demons, and is infinitely more
powerful that all of hell combined.
Sacre Coeur Basilica in Paris has had Perpetual Adoration for
over a hundred years without a single incident. God's angels are
more powerful than any police force on earth."
How many people are needed to have parish Perpetual Adoration?
There are 168 hours in a week. Technically, all that is
needed is 168 people willing to make one holy hour on a weekly
basis so that these hours can be coordinated in such a way that
all hours are covered. Moreover, there is nothing to stop an
adorer for making a daily Holy Hour. This is to be encouraged and
is more common than one imagines.
Realistically, however, it's better to have as many as 200 in
case of illness, vacations, and various situations where a person
needs a substitute. There are several small parishes in the
country with only 150 to 200 families that were able to have
Perpetual Adoration. These small parishes are a wonderful example
to larger ones. If they could do it, certainly others could.
Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, said that "our essential
commitment in life is to persevere and advance constantly in
Eucharistic life and piety and to grow spiritually in the climate
of the Holy Eucharist."
How does one spend an hour before Jesus exposed in the Blessed
This hour Jesus wants you to spend with Him is spent any way
you want. You may bring your own prayer books, use the books in
the chapel, read the Bible, pray the Rosary, or just sit, relax
and enjoy the sweet peace the comes from simply being in the
Presence of God. You may feel you can't pray well. Don't let this
discourage you. The mere fact that you take time out at a
specific time each week to spend an hour with Jesus in the Blessed
Sacrament pleases Him very much, and is in itself a prayer of
Please remember that perpetual adoration in a parish is not
just for a day, a week, a month, or a year. Rather, it is for
always. It is not temporary, but ongoing, lasting, permanent.
Pope John Paul II says that: "Our essential commitment in life is
to grow spiritually in the climate of the Holy Eucharist."
How long does a parish have perpetual adoration?
Perpetual adoration lasts as long as Our Lord's love for us
in the Blessed Sacrament lasts, which is forever. As long as
Jesus loves us enough to want to be with us day and night, then we
want to love Him enough to be with Him day and night.
What materials are available for interesting others in parish
Perpetual Adoration and starting one's own adoration program?
Besides this special issue which will be availabe at reduced
prices in bulk orders (see insert) there are other centers of
Eucharistic Adoration where material is available (addresses of
these centers on page 40). Along with many promotion pieces
(books and flyers), Fr. Martin Lucia has a Perpetual Eucharistic
Adoration bulletin that will keep one updated on Eucharistic
adoration. The address is:
Apostolate for Perpetual Adoration P.O. Box 46502 Mount Clemens,
This article originally appeared on pp 43-45 of "Mission of
the Immaculata". This magazine is published by Marytown. The
issue containing this article is a special publication concerning
Eucharistic Adoration, the title: "Eucharistic Adoration: God
Among Us". This is a great issue that contains much useful
information. It can be obtained by mailing a request to the
Marytown/ St. Maximilian Kolbe Shrine 1600 West Park Avenue
Libertyville, IL 60048-2593
Phone # (708)-367-7800 Fax # (708)-367-7831
For one copy send $3.45. Also send prayer request for placement
in front of the Eucharist. This price includes shipping and
For more information on Perpetual Adoration, write or call the
Apostolate for Perpetual Adoration or the Marytown Friars. If
you have Internet access, a listserv to evangelize Perpetual
Adoration has been set up. Please send a message to Aaron at
Aaron Gerlach University of Alabama @ Birmingham