Next week, we celebrate the feast day of our patron saint, St. Thomas More (Wednesday, June 22). The date is shared with another English martyr, St. John Fisher. At that time, our parish will observe 40 Hours of Eucharistic Adoration from Wednesday evening, June 21 to Friday morning, June 23.
Following an evening Mass at 7 PM on June 21, the Blessed Sacrament will remain continually present on the altar in the church for private prayer and adoration. We will add an extra evening Mass at 7 PM on Thursday evening (in addition to our regular morning Mass at 9 AM). Fr. Nicholas Dudo, the Vicar for Clergy for the Diocese of Camden, will be the guest homilist during the two evening Masses. The closing Mass on June 23 (9 AM) will be followed by a Eucharistic procession and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
I truly believe that when we take the time to be with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, it is an opportunity for tremendous blessing not only for us as individuals but also for our families and for our entire parish family. I do not ever want us to take for granted the great gift of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Time spent with Him is indeed a grace-filled time. We can express our love and adoration for Jesus, thankfulness for our blessings, and contrition for sin (our own and the sins of others). We can also intercede for one another and petition the Lord for our various needs. It is an invaluable time to spend with Jesus Himself, truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
When we come into the Lord’s presence, Jesus can transform us. Come sit or kneel before the Master and open your hearts to Him. By our very presence there, we give Jesus permission to change our hearts and our lives. We may think that we go to pray, to petition and to worship, or even that we are doing God a favor by spending some of our precious time with Him. Our Lord Jesus truly desires that we spend time with Him, listening to Him. Remember, we are created to spend eternity with God and we can foster that precious relationship now before Jesus' Real Presence. We do not need to worry about what prayers we should say, what spiritual readings we should be reading or what we should be doing in His Presence. Just being with the Lord can be life-changing. He can soften our hearts, heal our wounds, inspire us and guide us. He can give us an inner peace that nothing in this world can match. Making the commitment to spend time with Him is part of the process of falling in love with Him. (Many parishioners have already experienced various spiritual gifts and blessings by spending time with Our Lord daily, during our established adoration time in chapel from 9:30 AM to Noon, Monday-Friday.)
What I am again request from you, my parishioners, is that you dedicate at least one hour sometime with the Lord in adoration during these three days. (Ideally, this should be in addition to any time attending Mass.) This devotion will continue for two nights—around the clock—and I need your help and cooperation in order to accomplish this. Could you please think about dedicating an hour in prayer before the Most Blessed Sacrament? Why not encourage members of your family to pray as a family for an hour? Perhaps a group or organization within the parish can make a holy hour together (Small Christian Communities, Knights of Columbus, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Faith and Justice Team, choir, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, etc.) I especially need a few night owls to cover the late hours! We are arranging to have added security at night.
Sign-up sheets will be available at the doors of the church so that we can be sure that there is always present with our Lord. Please assist me in making this a special time for our parish as we adore our Eucharistic Lord. This is certainly an important part of our parish's Eucharistic renewal.
Fr. Ed Namiotka