Eucharistic Adoration

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JW
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Eucharistic Adoration

Post by JW » Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:23 pm

I had a rant about some subjects on another thread recently and it was suggested that I should introduce new threads. so here's the first.

The Pastoral Research Centre has recently published its best estimate of Mass attendances etc for 2012 compared with 2011 http://www.prct.org.uk/downloads/20-population-statistics-2011-2012-6th-edition/file. Numbers for attendance, baptisms and receptions are all down nationally. Since then we have had a Year of Faith and further time for the New Evangelisation, initiated by St John Paul II, to bear fruit, so we should see numbers rising over the next couple of years? Immigration should improve the situation in the UK even more. Some may disagree with that overall assessment.

One of the main planks of the New Evangelisation is Eucharistic Adoration, which was expressly commended by St John Paul and his successors.

Without doubt communal prayer has to be the foundation of any Catholic initiative. However, prayer with the Eucharist at its centre can be the Mass, or simple prayer in front of the tabernacle. My concern is that the focus on Eucharistic Adoration by our priests, while admirable, means that they are often alone in the church, possibly with a couple of parishioners, in front of monstrance, candles, dressed in alb and stole. In our parish, an hour of Eucharistic Adoration takes place before nearly all Masses, so we can have the situation that people are coming into church and being greeted whilst the priest is giving the Benediction. People come in at the last minute because they want to avoid having to be silent; generally our folk don't seem keen to be in church for an extra hour on top of Mass.

Why is it that this whole situation fills me with disquiet? In contrast, I know St Mary Moorfield parish in London has had Eucharistic Adoration during weekdays, all day, for many many years and this is always quite well attended with people coming and going, who take responsibility to 'watch' the Blessed Sacrament, so the priest is not continually present. Perhaps my concern is that Eucharistic Adoration should be attended by people and priest, not just the priest on his own. Perhaps if people don't come, it's better for the priest to pray privately or to try something else, or at other times?

What do others think, how does Eucharistic Adoration work in other parishes and is it successful? How should you assess the success or otherwise of such prayer?
JW

IncenseTom
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Re: Eucharistic Adoration

Post by IncenseTom » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:56 pm

I'm not sure how well EA is attended at my parish (because I never get there myself!), but I will just mention something I may have said before.

The children from the Primary school next door in yrs5 and 6 have 15 minutes of adoration on a Friday afternoon. There are 2 classes in each year group so each class goes in once a month on rotation.
The kids know all the Latin responses and take turns to serve.

What a lovely way to end the week!

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VML
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Re: Eucharistic Adoration

Post by VML » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:49 pm

Agreed, IT.
Because all the time our children, now in their 30s and 40s, were growing up we never had Benediction or Exposition here, not one of them has ever seen it.

alan29
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Re: Eucharistic Adoration

Post by alan29 » Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:57 am

Does benediction have to be in Latin, then?

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Gwyn
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Re: Eucharistic Adoration

Post by Gwyn » Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:16 pm

Does benediction have to be in Latin, then?

No.

JW
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Re: Eucharistic Adoration

Post by JW » Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:01 am

alan29 wrote:Does benediction have to be in Latin, then?


When I was a lad, I loved Benediction. In fact, I much preferred It to Mass or Rosary: it was relatively short and it was great theatre: there was always incense, the altar boys got to play with fire (i.e.the thurible), the priest wore a cope, much grander than a fiddleback chasuble and it was nearly all sung. Being able to participate and sing the Latin etc. at Benediction made it that much more special, even though I didn't have the faintest idea what they meant. One of the things V2 re-taught us was that the Mass is central. Benediction disappeared for a reason: i.e. once evening Masses were introduced on a Sunday no one came to Benediction any more. I worry that most parishes seem to want to re-introduce all this even though their parishioners aren't interested. It's odd to me that, even now, priests will sing at Eucharistic Adoration who won't sing at Mass.

It's well known that good liturgy must have some of the elements of good theatre. I was at Solemn Mass at Westminster Cathedral a few weeks ago and the place was full, unlike many of our parish churches. They even had St Robert Southwell on display in the middle of the nave.

My 3 year old grandchild lives a few miles away and she was a bit flummoxed when our PP wandered to the church office in when I was doing some copying. She commented after: "Our priest never leaves the stage....
JW

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Re: Eucharistic Adoration

Post by BobHayes » Sat Jul 19, 2014 5:02 pm

In my parish we have Eucharistic Adoration most Saturdays for forty minutes before the noon Mass. Attendance is not great but the opportunity is appreciated by those who come - not always the same faces.

Anecdotal observations (as I travel round the country in connection with my work) suggest Eucharistic Adoration tends to be especially appreciated by those who find that some 'elements of good theatre' are distracting. I am not referring to the Liturgy per se. Here I am thinking of the general chatter before 'curtain up' and that the 'intervals' - Offertory Procession (and collection) and the distribution of the Eucharist - all too often are accompanied by general fidgeting and low-level chatter. I am referring to adults here!

I suspect some PPs arrange Eucharistic Adoration (or Praying the Rosary) immediately prior to Mass in the hope that it may help remind people they are attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and not just another 'performance' in the company of friends.
Bob

alan29
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Re: Eucharistic Adoration

Post by alan29 » Sat Jul 19, 2014 6:30 pm

If people are chattering during mass, the snswer is to tackle that, not to introduce something else.

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Nick Baty
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Re: Eucharistic Adoration

Post by Nick Baty » Sat Jul 19, 2014 7:46 pm

BobHayes wrote:I am thinking of the general chatter....at the 'intervals' - Offertory Procession (and collection) and the distribution of the Eucharist - all too often are accompanied by general fidgeting and low-level chatter. I am referring to adults here!
These are the third and fourth processions during Mass. So it's a question of looking at how music accompanies these rites and how it engages the assembly.

liturgyprof
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Re: Eucharistic Adoration

Post by liturgyprof » Sat Jul 19, 2014 9:18 pm

I suspect it was St John Southworth.
St Robert Southwell, now that would have been exceptional. I think we don't make enough of him.
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BobHayes
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Re: Eucharistic Adoration

Post by BobHayes » Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:31 pm

liturgyprof wrote:I suspect it was St John Southworth.
St Robert Southwell, now that would have been exceptional. I think we don't make enough of him.
Allen Morris


:)
Bob

BobHayes
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Re: Eucharistic Adoration

Post by BobHayes » Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:36 pm

Nick Baty wrote:
BobHayes wrote:I am thinking of the general chatter....at the 'intervals' - Offertory Procession (and collection) and the distribution of the Eucharist - all too often are accompanied by general fidgeting and low-level chatter. I am referring to adults here!
These are the third and fourth processions during Mass. So it's a question of looking at how music accompanies these rites and how it engages the assembly.


Agreed. A hymn during the collection seems to do the trick, but the procession to receive the Blessed Sacrament seems for some to be an opportunity to exchange pleasantries (either with those in the pews or people in the other 'queue') while moving toward the Sanctuary.
Bob

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FrGareth
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Re: Eucharistic Adoration

Post by FrGareth » Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:31 am

A few careful distinctions are needed here....

(1) Between Adoration AS Evangelisation and Adoration FOR Evangelisation

There are a few initiatives around where Adoration is used as a means of evangelisation - the retreats run by Youth 2000 or the 'Nightfever' drop-in model of urban ministry. These can help communicate to attendees that we really do believe that the Blessed Sacrament is Jesus among us in the most focussed way possible.

There are many more initiatives where some other form of evangelisation is backed up by some supporters attending Adoration to pray for God's blessing on the work.

(2) Between Benediction and Simple Exposition

Benediction will indeed tie up a priest (or deacon) and some servers for 20 minutes of liturgy. But simple exposition can be facilitated by an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

(3) Of the purpose of Adoration

If the Blessed Sacrament is in the tabernacle anyway, why expose? The parish officials are custodians of the Blessed Sacrament; ordinary parishioners cannot expose and repose at will; this is a public act which must be co-ordinated with the community. When we worship, we use our words and actions to communicate to the Almighty that He is worthy and that we love him. The best way of doing this is assisting at Mass - but that is limited in time. A prolonged period of adoration with adorers on a rota allows the Body of Christ, in the Church, to honour the Body of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. A shorter period is an invitation to those who are able, to come and express love and honour for God by attending when the King is 'holding court'. Not all parishioners will be practically able to do so, but this is the best we can do until the Second Coming, after which we will all enjoy full-time adoration of the Beautiful One who will no longer be hidden under the form of bread.

(4) Is the priest giving time as well or instead?

If JW's priest was not doing the hour of adoration, would JW want him to spend an hour in prayer or an hour doing something else?

I have recently taken in a seminarian on placement and the question arose about times of shared prayer and whether there could be more regular adoration. My church has all-day access to the side-chapel for those who know a code number; in my first nine months here I have been waiting to get the feel of the place before making changes to timetable.

There would have been something not-quite-right about allowing my seminarian to have ad hoc exposition or even the two of us sharing adoration time as a 'private' devotion. This led me to ponder when we should have a daily holy hour in a way which balances accessibility to the parish as a whole, and its availability within the work schedule of the two of us who will want to attend regularly.

We have chosen Mon, Tue, Wed & Fri 9 am - 10 am (Mass is 7.30 am most of those days) in the hope that it will be accessible to those on the school run who want a short moment of prayer - starting with Morning Office at 9 am. A later hour might have been more accessible to parishioners who MIGHT come; this hour works better for the two of us who WILL come. I have launched this in the newsletter making also a clear announcement that if other hours are better for persons who can pledge to come weekly, I will also make adoration available at those hours. Also Sun 5.30-6.30 starting with Adoration and ending with Benediction (the weekdays just have a simple repose of the Blessed Sacrament).

For me personally, it will be a good discipline against the temptations of "I will just do X, Y, Z and THEN have my daily hour of meditation" which can so easily let prayer slip from the first place which God deserves.
><>
Revd Gareth Leyshon - Priest of the Archdiocese of Cardiff (views are my own)
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Nick Baty
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Re: Eucharistic Adoration

Post by Nick Baty » Sun Jul 20, 2014 6:15 am

BobHayes wrote:....the procession to receive the Blessed Sacrament seems for some to be an opportunity to exchange pleasantries (either with those in the pews or people in the other 'queue') while moving toward the Sanctuary.
And this is where music helps greatly. Those wiser than I have frequently pointed out that music turns the queue into a procession. There's not much time for chatter if the folk are singing. But, more to the point, if the communion processional fully engages the assembly then they're less likely to want to chat!

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Re: Eucharistic Adoration

Post by JW » Sun Jul 20, 2014 3:53 pm

liturgyprof wrote:I suspect it was St John Southworth.St Robert Southwell, now that would have been exceptional. I think we don't make enough of him.

Apologies, I've confused the 2 40 Martyrs with South in the name, and clearly I wasn't paying a lot of attention at the Cathedral.

FrGareth wrote:If JW's priest was not doing the hour of adoration, would JW want him to spend an hour in prayer or an hour doing something else?

Far be it from me to say how someone else should be spending their time - over the years, there've been too many telling me how to best use my own time! Let's be clear: it's great that any priest is spending an hour each day in prayer in addition to saying Mass and the Divine Office. Doubts arise where there is little support:
FrGareth wrote:There would have been something not-quite-right about allowing my seminarian to have ad hoc exposition or even the two of us sharing adoration time as a 'private' devotion.
FrGareth wrote:this is a public act which must be co-ordinated with the community.


BobHayes wrote:I suspect some PPs arrange Eucharistic Adoration (or Praying the Rosary) immediately prior to Mass in the hope that it may help remind people they are attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and not just another 'performance' in the company of friends.
I also suspect that this might be the case, if so, the question arises how appropriate it is to use the Blessed Sacrament or the Rosary to try to coerce people - though I have heard people chat over both, which is just as bad. Yes the Sunday Mass is a the Great Sacrifice but it's also the only time when a parish gathers together; could not decisions be taken locally as to when the fellowship stops and the prayer starts, rather than tack another devotion on to Mass? When I currently play, there'll be an organ prelude about 3 minutes before.

FrGareth wrote:A few careful distinctions are needed here....(1) Between Adoration AS Evangelisation and Adoration FOR Evangelisation
Apart from a few cases, I would submit that most churches have Adoration FOR Evangelisation. It's putting the cart before the horse a bit to expect people to turn up to Adoration if they don't believe in God, in Jesus or in the Catholic church. They may happen upon it and ask questions, but there are many who could be completely put off.
JW

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