WHAT IS 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 a week.
Is Perpetual Adoration the only type of Eucharist 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 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 our
faith into action. This ideal form of witness to our faith is
very attractive to people 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 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 today: "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?
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.
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?
* an increase in Mass attendance and reception of the
* return of fallen-away Catholics and increase in the
number of conversions;
* increase in religions and priestly vocations;
* renewal of Catholic family life;
* spiritual level of the people is raised with a resulting
desire and courage to spread the "good news" to others;
* 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?
* Pray to Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament to obtain this great
grace for your parish.
* 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 alongside the parish council and other
parish committees as the pastor advises.
* Study the organizational procedures of other parishes with
Perpetual Adoration programs. The Franciscan Friars of Marytown
will continue in the future to have reports on such programs in
* Interest existing organizations such as the parish council,
parish prayer groups, the Holy Name Society, Saint Vincent de
Paul Society-- 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 Eucharist adoration. Since Vatican II, much
confusion exists within the Church in regard 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 the
laity. 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 wholehearted 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 bulletins may serve as an ideal way to instruct and
inspire people, too. Excerpts may be taken from this magazine and
other 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
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
laity doing the foot work, but always keeping the pastor informed
that makes an adoration program work. It is important that from
its very inception that pastors and parish clergy be assured that
it does not mean their taking on extra work in an already busy
How is Perpetual Adoration organized in a parish?
The parish is divided into twenty-four groups or teams
corresponding to the twenty-four 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 from 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 night 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 twenty-four or fourteen coordinators are chosen along with
four 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 parish.
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 quiet 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 boys' 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
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.
_Wherever 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 than all of hell
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 one hundred and sixty-eight hours in a week.
Technically, all that is needed is one hundred and sixty-eight
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 from making
a daily holy hour. This is to be encouraged and is more common
than one imagines. Realistically, however, it is better to have
as many as two hundred in case of illnesses, vacations, and
various situations where a person needs a substitute. There are
several small parishes in the country with only one hundred and
fifty to two hundred 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
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 and relax
and enjoy the sweet peace that comes from simply being in the
Presence of God. You may feel that 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 great faith. Please remember that Perpetual Adoration is 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,
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. +
(The Franciscan Friars of Marytown have devoted a
special fifty-six page issue of Immaculata Magazine to the
Eucharist. It is available from the Conventual Friars of
Marytown, 1600 West Park Avenue, Libertyville IL 60048. This
article originally appeared in this issue.)