Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 21, 2005
Collins plans perpetual adoration
New chapel under construction at St. Andrews's Church
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Non-stop prayer before the Eucharist at St. Andrew's Church will benefit all parishioners in the archdiocese, says Archbishop Thomas Collins.
"Spending time in adoration and prayer is an ancient and wonderful tradition in the Church. It can be traced back to the New Testament, the most famous being Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane," the archbishop said.
Collins, who will be one of the Canadian delegates to the October World Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, will attend an open house April 6 at St. Andrew's Centre auditorium to discuss plans for a new chapel dedicated to perpetual adoration.
The archbishop had previously told the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council that during the year of the Eucharist, he would like to develop perpetual adoration at places in the archdiocese where it is realistic to do so.
A chapel is currently being built in St. Andrew's Church. The church was selected because of its central location in Edmonton and the archdiocese.
Collins hopes people will offer an hour or more of prayer each week not only for their life in prayer, but for the good of everyone.
"We must be active in apostolic work, but it will only be fruitful to the degree it is based in prayer. This is similar to the whole reality of the contemplative orders in the Church, where we have active religious communities and contemplative communities. In our archdiocese, we are blessed with two of them - the Precious Blood Sisters and the Carmelite Sisters," he said.
"If our mission is to be fruitful, we must be rooted in time where people move away from their daily struggles and spend significant time in adoration and prayer to get connected to the source of our lives."
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament present is powerful, Collins said, who hopes to see youth groups, the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Women's League, various movements in the Church and representatives from all parishes attend the April 6 information session.
"Although God is obviously infinitely present, the eucharistic presence of our Lord is profoundly important because it is the heart of our lives. Celebrating the Eucharist is our central reality."
The archbishop says the Eucharist is not a piece of blessed bread celebrated once a week within a friendly gathering. It is more about love, peace and daily prayer.
"Anyone on earth can pray to God at any time, but there is no more appropriate place to pray than in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament."
Gerard Amerongen, former speaker of the Alberta Legislative Assembly, is a long-time promoter of perpetual adoration in the archdiocese. Deeply committed to the celebration at St. John the Evangelist, Amerongen was unaware of the proposal for St. Andrew's Parish.
"This is great. I am glad to see it coming into its own because years ago, there was not very much encouragement for it in the archdiocese," he said.
"We used to have it at (then) St. Joseph's Cathedral around the clock for about 10 years with the men taking the night hours and the women taking the daylight hours. But we only had one turn a month. It has been vastly improved by giving people a turn a week and booking them in pairs."
Amerongen believes the attractiveness of the devotion is enhanced by having the Blessed Sacrament exposed during adoration.
"Without question, perpetual adoration has a marvellous effect on the spiritual vitality of the parish," he said.
Ultimately, Collins would like to see enough interest at St. Andrew's for celebrations to occur every hour of every day.
"People can pray for the family; vocations; the suffering. We cannot have all 350,000 of us there all the time, but having people there representing us will benefit our communal lives as Christians."
Collins will follow the April 6 session by celebrating Mass at St. Andrew's on May 29 to coincide with the Feast of Corpus Christi, where he will carry the Blessed Sacrament to the new chapel.
He invites everyone in the archdiocese to sign up and spend time in adoration.
"The spiritual effect of perpetual adoration has been stunning in terms of healing lives, vocations to the priesthood and religious life. We are in difficult times with a huge degree of uproar and discord. There is much evil in our world. Now, above all, we need this prayer of vigil," Collins said.
"And from that moment on, we will begin perpetual adoration, forever."
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.