Organizing Perpetual Adoration
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"And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit".
                                 John 19:30

Summer/Fall 2000

Vol. 15, No. 2

PEA Chapels Designated as Jubilee Pilgrimage Sites

On July 25 Archbishop Harry Flynn of St. Paul/Minneapolis designated each perpetual Eucharistic adoration chapel in the archdiocese as a pilgrimage site for the remainder of the Jubilee year. Currently there are 20 PEA chapels in the archdiocese, each with permanent exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Two more are expected to open soon. This means that the faithful can make visits to these chapels to obtain the Jubilee indulgence. The indulgence can be obtained as often as once a day and can be applied to one's own soul or to the souls of the faithful departed. The Church grants indulgences not only for the remission of temporal punishment but also to spur the faithful to works of devotion, penance and charity.
       To receive the Jubilee Year plenary indulgence, the following conditions must be fulfilled: First, one must be baptized, not excommunicated, and in a state of grace. Second, one must have at least a general intention of gaining the indulgence. Third, one must be free from "all attachments to sin, even venial sin." Fourth, the required deed must be performed. In this case it is a pilgrimage to a perpetual adoration chapel in the archdiocese. Fifth, a sacramental confession must be made within several days of the pilgrimage. Sixth, Holy Communion must be received within several days of the pilgrimage, preferably on the same day as the pilgrimage. Seventh, it is further required to spend some time in pious meditation at the pilgrimage site ending with the Our Father, a profession of faith in any approved form, and a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary for the intentions of the Holy Father.

Diocese Curtails Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament

The Diocese of St. Petersburg. Florida issued new guidelines that severely restrict the practice of exposition of the Eucharist. The directive permits extended exposition (one or more days) only once a year and brief periods of exposition at other times.
       The guidelines, which were promulgated by Bishop Robert Lynch in a June 12 letter, maintain that "eucharistic reservation and adoration as we know it today began in the thirteenth century" and implies that they were started because medieval Christians' understanding of the Eucharist was deficient. One reason, among others, given for this supposed deficiency is that medieval Christianity suffered "a lost connection to the Church's roots."
       The document goes on claim that the Second Vatican Council "recovered the early Church's understanding" of Christ's presence in the minister, the Word proclaimed, other sacraments, and in the participation of the faithful.
       The guidelines state that those who want to inaugurate Eucharistic adoration in their parishes should reflect on "their commitment of time and money to social services." They should also ask themselves, among other things, if they are "as respectful and reverent toward Christ's presence in the gathered Body, the Church, as they are to the presence of Christ in the Sacrament."
       The diocese had no chapels with permanent exposition. But at least two parishes had to discontinue regular exposition because of the new guidelines.

Comments on Eucharistic Adoration Guidelines

The articles on the front page of this newsletter illustrate in sharp contrast the wide difference in attitudes among the nation's bishops on adoration of the exposed Blessed Sacrament. Whereas one archbishop has a such a high regard for the practice that he made all the chapels with permanent exposition in his archdiocese Jubilee year pilgrimage sites, another bishop downplays the importance and relevance of the practice to the point where he severely limits exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in his diocese.
       The St. Petersburg document seems to express the opinion that focusing on Jesus' Real Presence in the Eucharist somehow detracts from the recognition of His presence with us in other ways. That Jesus is present with us in a number of ways was recognized by Vatican Council II in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and by Pope Paul VI in his splendid encyclical letter on the Eucharist, Mysterium Fidei. But they made the point that Jesus is present with us in the Eucharist in a very special way. Paul VI mentions the various ways that Christ is present in the Church. He then goes on to say that Christ is present in the Church in the Eucharist in "a manner which surpasses all the others." The Eucharist is His "presence in the fullest sense."
       Pope Paul VI also said in Mysterium Fidei that Eucharistic adoration cultivates in the soul "a 'social' love by which the common good is given preference over the good of the individual." This means that through Eucharistic adoration the adorer's social conscience is made more sensitive, leading one to be more "respectful and reverent toward Christ's presence in the gathered Body, the Church."
       The document also states that "eucharistic reservation and adoration as we know it today began in the thirteenth century." However, historians point out that the first references found to reserving the Blessed Sacrament in a church are found in a biography of St. Basil, who died in 379. Also, there is evidence pointing to Eucharistic adoration taking place in northern Spain as early as the sixth century (see In the Presence of Our Lord by Benedict J. Groeschel and James Monti, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 1997). In any case it doesn 't matter because the age of the practice is not what justifies it. The Church's doctrine and practice concerning the Eucharist have developed in a consistent way over the ages as have other of her doctrines and practices.
       The Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship made it clear that perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in parishes is allowed by the universal church.but the local bishop has the final say concerning it in his diocese.
       Pope John Paul II is a strong advocate of Eucharistic adoration. He started daily adoration with exposition in St. Peter's Basilica, and he erected a perpetual adoration chapel in Rome at the prompting of Mother Teresa, who was a proponent of perpetual adoration with exposition in parishes. Upon his arrival in Seoul, Korea for the 44th International Eucharistic Congress, he went to Good Shepherd parish which has perpetual adoration with exposition. He said in his homily there: "It is most fitting that my first stop among the Korean people should be in a church such as this, where the hearts and minds of the faithful are constantly raised up in adoration before Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist." And at the 45th International Eucharistic Congress in Seville, Spain he strongly encouraged parishes to establish some form of adoration with exposition.

St. Katharine Drexel Miracle at Perpetual Adoration Parish

On Sunday, January 30, 2000, Fr. Eugene Gordon Cusick. pastor of St. Bede the Venerable Parish in Holland, PA announced at all the Masses that Pope John Paul II accepted the cure of Amy Wall as a miracle attributable to the intercession of Bl. Katharine Drexel. This was the miracle needed for her canonization, which took place October 1.
       Amy and her family are parishioners of St. Bede's. Amy was born with incurable nerve deafness in 1992. In November 1993, her family began praying to Bl. Katharine. The following March it was noticed that the child was hearing. Hearing tests showed that Amy's hearing was normal in both ears.
       APEA helped St. Bede's start perpetual Eucharistic adoration, which began on December 1, 1996. Fr. Cusick said that the acceptance of Amy's miracle is just one of many blessings bestowed on St. Bede's since the parish started perpetual adoration. He said that St. Bede's has seen an increase in people returning to the sacraments. A young man from the parish was ordained a priest and another man a permanent deacon.
       St. Katharine, who was quite wealthy, imitated the generosity of Christ who, though rich, became poor so that by His poverty we might become rich. One of the wealthiest woman in America, she offered her fortune, her life and the total commitment of her heart for the benefit of others.
       St. Katharine was born in Philadelphia, PA on November 26, 1858, the second daughter of Francis and Hannah Langstroth Drexel, prominent Philadelphia Catholics. Her mother died a month after she was born. Her Father later married Emma Bouvier, a pious and charitable Catholic woman, who set a shining example for Katharine.
       Emma died in 1879, and Katharine's father died in 1901 leaving Katharine and her two sisters an inheritance amounting to more than $500,000 a year. They decided to use their money to assist Native Americans and Blacks.
       Katharine and her sisters traveled to Rome, and Katharine asked Pope Leo XIII for missionaries for the American Indian missions. The Pope responded by suggesting to Katharine that she become a missionary herself. She accepted his suggestion and, in 1889, she entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy in Pittsburgh, PA. In 1891 she professed her vows as the first member of Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People.
       She opened a novitiate in Cornwell Heights, Pennsylvania, and by the end of the first year there, there were twenty-one religious in the congregation.
       Under Katharine's leadership, the sisters first established St. Catherine's School for Pueblo Indians in Santa Fe, NM in 1894. Other missions and schools soon followed, including Xavier University in New Orleans, the first such institution dedicated to the education of Blacks.
       Katharine continued to dispense her millions of inherited dollars for such projects. She remained head of the order until 1935, when a heart attack caused her to retire as superior. She died in 1955. Her feast is celebrated on March 3, the day of her death.
       Katharine Drexel was not simply a philanthropist. She was much more. She was a saint. Her love for others was founded in her love for God. He came first. This love was manifested in a strong devotion to the Jesus present in the Eucharist. Her burning love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is what moved her to devote her fortune and her life to active service for the good of others. Mass and adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament came first and were the sources of energy for her and her sisters. That is why she called her community first The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and then for Indians and Colored People. The Eucharist is Jesus' greatest expression of His love for us because it is the complete gift of Himself. That is the example St. Katharine Drexel imitated, the example of the Eucharist. She gave others the complete gift of herself.

Two Great Jubilee Year Events

Rome was host to two great events this summer which were integrated into the festivities of the Jubilee year -- the 47th International Eucharistic Congress in June and World Youth Day 2000 in August.
       Pope John Paul II said that the Eucharistic Congress invites Catholics "to renew our faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the sacrament of the altar." In his homily during the closing Mass of the Congress the Holy Father focused his attention on youth saying, "carefully prepare yourselves for this international youth gathering, in which you will be called to take up the challenge of the new millennium."
       At his Wednesday General Audience during the week of the Congress, the Holy Father told where the spiritual energy to meet that challenge comes from. He said: "The Eucharist is also a permanent school of charity, justice and peace for renewing the surrounding world in Christ. From the presence of the Risen One, believers draw the courage to be artisans of solidarity and renewal, committed to transforming the structures of sin in which individuals, communities and at times entire peoples are entangled."
       World Youth Day 2000 was an historic event. More than two million young people gathered in what became the largest religious pilgrimage to Rome in history -- a gathering full of peace and joy. In his homily at the concluding Mass, the Holy Father urged the young people to "love the Eucharist, adore the Eucharist, and celebrate it" and to "live the Eucharist by testifying to God's love for every person." And his message was taken to heart by the youth. One young pilgrim said of the event. "It made me a lot more confident in my faith. It made my love for Jesus and my relationship with Jesus grow. I have been going to Mass more often, and I am going to try to get to Adoration more."

PEA Chapel Has 50,000th Adorer

The perpetual adoration chapel at Visitation BVM parish in Trooper, PA recently had the 50,000th adorer come reports Joe Valovage, the head coordinator there. On the average the chapel has about 500 adorers a week. APEA helped Visitation start perpetual adoration, which began on October 15, 1998.
       In his e-mail report Joe said that those who attend faithfully and have petitioned Jesus for favors have received even more than they asked for. Petitions of all kinds were answered. Joe commends the strong commitment of the spiritual director, coordinators and division leaders, scheduled adorers and substitutes. Their "vigilant attitude" and "perpetual follow-up" are given credit for the success of perpetual adoration.

Missionary Priests of the Blessed Sacrament
P.O. Box 1428 • Bensalem, Pa 19020
Tel: 215.244.9211 • Fax: 215.244.9211
Email: apea@webtv.net