Eucharistic Adoration Nets, Nurtures, and Nourishes
During the past
twenty or so years many testimonies have been given by bishops, priests, and
religious confirming that vocations to the priesthood and religious life have
been a fruit of Eucharistic adoration and that Eucharistic adoration nurtures
and nourishes vocations. Pope John Paul II called the Eucharist "the source of
all vocations." He implored youth to go to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament: "Dear
young people, go to meet Jesus the Savior! Love Him and adore Him in the
Eucharist! You are able to draw from Him the courage to be His apostles in
this particular period of time."
vocations discern them and are given the grace to pursue them during holy hours
of adoration. We at APEA hear of such instances often. One priest the
Archdiocese of Philadelphia had his vocation nurtured in a perpetual adoration
chapel that he walked several miles to regularly as a teenager. He was
instrumental in getting perpetual adoration started in a parish in which he was
assigned as assistant pastor.
Surges in vocations to the priesthood in the dioceses of Arlington, VA, Lafayette, LA, Atlanta, GA, St. Louis, MO, Stanford, CT and St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN were attributed by their vocations directors and/or bishops to, among other things, Eucharistic adoration in those dioceses. Thirty-seven parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have perpetual or near-perpetual adoration. APEA has been busy helping start it up in many of them over the past eleven years. Father William Baer, rector of the minor seminary there (St. John Vianney College Seminary) said there was a groundswell of vocations entering there - twice as many seminarians than ten years ago when Eucharistic adoration was first started at the seminary. In 2005, the major seminary, St. Paul's, is preparing for what could be the largest ordination class since 1957! Fr. Baer pointed out that many of the young men first began to hear the call to the priesthood during visits to adoration chapels in their parishes. Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia calls attention to the fact that more and more bishops are seeing the relationship between Eucharistic adoration and vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Following are a
few classic testimonies that further illustrate the intimate relationship
between Eucharistic adoration and vocations.
Bishop John Magee of Cloyne Ireland reported that vocations to the
priesthood tripled in his diocese after he stated perpetual Eucharistic
The Enrollment at St. John Fisher seminary in Stamford, CT doubled
within one year after perpetual adoration was started there.
The Canadian prelate Cardinal Edouard Gagnon used to tell the
There is a parish
in Ottawa, Canada where a priest was appointed. He had tried everything to
attract people to the church, yet the church was almost empty. There were only
20-30 people at Mass on Sunday. But the priest did not get discouraged. He
invited those few people to perpetual adoration. He told them that we suffer
because our brothers and sisters are not here. So let's do something! Let's have
Eucharistic adoration! So they started that. After three years the small
community grew with people who were attracted to the Eucharist because it is
there that the loving heart of Jesus is present, ready to inflame our hearts and
the church was full every Sunday. Two years ago, nine boys had gone to the
seminary to become priests, just because they had discovered the Eucharist.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta said this concerning the daily holy hour
made by her and her sisters:
Our adoration has doubled the number of our vocations. In 1963 we were making a
weekly holy hour together, but it was not until 1973, when we began our daily
Holy Hour, that our community started to grow and blossom.
religious sustain and strengthen their vocations through Eucharistic adoration.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen continually urged priests to make a daily holy to keep
their vocational commitment strong. Pope John Paul II specifically urged
pastors and others who influence those with vocations to cultivate closeness to
Jesus in the Eucharist: "But how can one not remember that there is nothing more
uplifting than an enthusiastic witnessing to one's own vocation? He who lives
this gift joyfully and nourishes it daily in his encounter with the Eucharist
will know how to sow in the hearts of many young people the good seed of
faithful adherence to the divine call. It is in the Eucharistic presence that
Jesus reaches us, places us within the dynamism of ecclesial communion and makes
us prophetic signs for the world."
The Holy Father
also called on all Catholic adults to teach youth the value of Eucharistic
adoration: "I urge priests, religious and lay people to continue and redouble
their efforts to teach the younger generations the meaning and value of
Eucharistic adoration and devotion. How will young people be able to know the
Lord if they are not introduced to the mystery of His presence? Like the young
Samuel, by learning the words of the prayer of the heart, they will be closer to
the Lord, who will accompany them in their spiritual and human growth, and in
the missionary witness which they must give throughout their life." Youth who
go to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament come to see clearly God's will for their
Many adorers offer
holy hours for vocations. In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia there is an
organization called 'Prayer Power' whose members commit themselves to offer a
half hour each week before the exposed Blessed Sacrament at a specific location
for the intention of an increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious
life. Each member is also assigned a particular priest to pray for. The
Legionaries of Christ/Regnum Christi host a vocations resource web site
www.vocation.com where visitors can register online to unite their holy hours of
Eucharistic adoration with others for vocations.