Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
June 14, 2010
Five years of adoration changes lives, gives peace
Catholics respond to 'an invitation from Jesus'
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
For the past five years Jeri Marple has been spending an hour each week adoring the Blessed Sacrament at Corpus Christi Chapel in the west side St. Andrew's Centre complex.
"I do it because it's good for me to spend that hour with the Lord and just have some quiet time," the mother of eight says.
"I have to say, though, sometimes I have to make myself stay awake because you go from being busy, busy, busy to all of a sudden being very quiet. But it's very good for my own spiritual life; it's a time I spend with the Lord and I tell him my woes and try to listen to him speak to me."
Rain, snow or shine, Marple can be found at the chapel every Thursday from 8 to 9 p.m. Her husband Chuck goes on Thursdays from midnight to 1 a.m.
"I think it's a real blessing that Archbishop (Thomas) Collins started that chapel for us (in 2005) to give us the opportunity to spend time alone with the Lord."
The Corpus Christi Chapel, 12810-111 Ave., is currently marking five years of continued success thanks to a dedicated committee that makes sure there is an adorer every hour of the day, seven days a week.
Collins, who sparked the establishment of perpetual adoration and the building of the chapel, asked that adorers pray for all of the people of the archdiocese, especially those who have drifted away from the faith, for families and for those whom the Lord is calling to the priesthood and consecrated life.
DAY AND NIGHT
Adorers can be found in the chapel at all hours. Sometimes it is just one. Other times, a dozen people can be found praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
Currently more than 200 people are committed to spending at least one hour a week in prayer at the chapel, as well as monthly adorers and numerous individuals who drop in.
Adoration coordinator Rose Marie Fowler describes the experience as successful, saying it has changed many lives.
"Some of the (adorers) say that they really feel a sense of peace when they are praying there or that it helps them in their personal lives."
Adorers, Fowler pointed out, are generally older people and overwhelmingly women. "I would say that probably there are about four times as many women as men praying on the schedule but there are quite a few men that drop in (as well)."
Fowler helped start the chapel five years ago when she was director of liturgy and has been coordinating it for the past 12 months. Working along with her are four vice-coordinators - one for each six-hour time block. Each vice-coordinator is responsible that all hours in their block are filled.As Fowler puts it, "if there are any hours that aren't covered, then the (vice-coordinators) have to make sure that there is either a substitute in there for those hours or that they themselves sometimes go."
What usually ends up happening, though, is that if somebody doesn't show up for their hour, the person in the previous hour stays until somebody else comes.
Bottom line: the Blessed Sacrament cannot be left alone, stresses Fowler. "You don't want to leave the Lord alone in there exposed when it's exposed for the purpose of adoration."
That's why Fowler would like more people to volunteer for perpetual adoration. She says a few spots do need to be filled.
Mavis Reilly, a St. Albert Catholic who is in charge of adoration from noon to 6 p.m., says she has hours to be filled on both Saturday and Sunday. So far she has managed to cover those hours with the help of volunteers who do more than their share of adoration.
STRENGTH AND GRACE
She and her husband Bernard adore the Blessed Sacrament from 12 to 2 p.m. on Saturday. "Adoration is very, very meaningful - something that not only gives strength and help and grace to the person who is doing it but also helps the whole world."
Annette Marie Williams, a St. Joseph's Basilica parishioner who coordinates the 6 p.m. to midnight block, says the fact that hundreds of people have spent time in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the last five years is in itself "a tremendous gift."
"From my point of view, it's going well but we can always use more people," she said. The goal is to have three adorers per hour to compensate for emergencies, illnesses and holidays.
Williams, who has her own hour of prayer on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to noon, says adoration is an invitation from Jesus.
"I come because for me it's an experience of peace and quiet and an escape from the noise and bewilderment of society," she said. "I sense too that it's an invitation to have an encounter with Jesus."
Tina Lefebvre has enjoyed going to the chapel for the past five years. "Life is so busy and overwhelming within my household that to get away for quiet solitude and one on one with my Lord is a blessing," she says. "That's why I enjoy going there for an hour."
The mother of four goes in the morning from 10 to 11 a.m. and if her own schedule allows, she stays longer. "I pray the rosary, I do chaplets, I meditate on the Bible and then I just sit there quietly in solitude and quiet."
Praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament has impacted Lefebvre in more ways than one.
"Spiritually, I guess, you do have a closer union (with Jesus); you discern better spiritually, you seem to know God more," she explains. "I just find my life goes easier, I have more trust and direction by doing this."
A GREAT SERVICE
Margaret D'Agostini has been praying at the chapel since it started five years ago. For the same length of time she has been coordinating perpetual adoration from midnight to 6 a.m.
"Everybody who does adoration is doing a great service for the whole archdiocese, for the whole world," D'Agostini says. "If people knew the graces that they are giving to the Church and to the world, they probably would want to be there all the time."
D'Agostini personally prays four hours per week. She goes Saturdays and Sundays from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. because it's harder to find people to adore on the weekend.
PRESENCE OF JESUS
Adoration has helped her draw closer to the Lord. "I find peace when I go there, much peace," she says. "Jesus is there and you feel his presence. You get closer to the Lord and your life just gets better."
D'Agostini actually prays for souls. "I pray for my family but I mainly pray for the conversion of souls - souls that may not know the Lord. I'm praying that they come back to the Church. That's my intention every week."
Sometimes D'Agostini goes into the chapel frustrated and upset about something. "But when I come out I feel as if everything has been taken care of," she says. "(The Lord) definitely helps in your daily struggles of life."
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