Atlanta Vocations Boom Attributed to Adoration
Archbishop John Donoghue, archbishop of Atlanta, said that the surge of vocations in his archdiocese is directly connected to Eucharistic adoration according to an article in the April 22-28 issue of the National Catholic Register. The number of seminarians studying for Atlanta has grown from eight in 1985 to 61 today. The archbishop came to Atlanta in 1993 and started a Eucharistic renewal there, advocating perpetual adoration. APEA was privileged to participate by helping to start perpetual adoration in two of the four parishes that have it. Twenty other parishes have Eucharistic adoration once a week and 30 more have it once a month. Father Tim Hepburn, Atlanta's assistant vocations director, said that the increase in the number of seminarians began when Archbishop Donoghue started the work of adoration. Vocations director Msgr. David Talley said: "Many of our seminarians told me they were brought in through the Eucharistic adoration program."
"I just think the Lord is blessing us in this way for adoring Him in the Eucharist," said Archbishop Donoghue. He further credited Eucharistic adoration with a general spiritual revival in the archdiocese.
Archbishop Donoghue is not the first to point out that vocations are a fruit of Eucharistic adoration. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Bishop John Magee of Cloyne, Ireland, Bishop Seamus Hegarty of Derry Ireland and Cardinal Edouard Gagnon among others have testified to the role of Eucharistic adoration in the growth of vocations. Indeed, vocations are nurtured in adoration chapels and graces for vocations are obtained in them.
The Voice at the Other End
The pleasant voice you hear when you dial (810) 468-4646, the telephone number of APEA, is that of Wandah Connolly.
Wandah has been working in the apostolate since it started in 1984 doing a variety of tasks such as answering the telephone and helping with office work and mailing. She has been very faithful, working quietly in the background throughout the years.
Wandah is the evening division leader for perpetual adoration at St. Peter's in Mt. Clemens, MI. That is where she was introduced to the apostolate. She also serves in other areas of Church life. For example, she is very active with the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which gives assistance to the poor. Wandah has been a consistently hard worker. Pat Forton, administrator of APEA,
says that she couldn't do everything that needs to be done without her help.
Small Parishes Respond Best to Adoration Appeal
Fr. Victor Warkulwiz, M.S.S., having been trained in experimental physics, likes to collect data. For nearly ten years he has been collecting sign-up data at parishes in the U.S. and Canada where he made appeals at weekend Masses for people to sign up for an hour a week of adoration. Recently he analyzed that data for 161 parishes where he helped to organize a new program of Eucharistic adoration. The data was sorted according to parish size. The results, which are quite revealing, are summarized in the following table:
|No. of Families in Parish||No. of ParishesVisited||Average Number of Sign-ups per 100 Families|
|Less than 1000||67||38|
|3000 and more||14||15|
The first column in the table lists the parishes according to size: small (less than 1000 families), medium (1000-1999 families), large (2000-2999 families), very large (3000 and more families). The second column lists the numbers of parishes visited by Fr. Victor of the size listed in the first column. The great majority of parishes are parishes that were preparing to start perpetual Eucharistic adoration, i.e., adoration for seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The third column shows the number of people who signed up to spend an hour a week in adoration for each 100 families. This is the average for all the parishes included in column 2.
The table clearly shows that the average response decreases with the size of the parish. The average response of the small parishes is more than the twice that of the very large parishes. But the very large parishes usually get more sign-ups simply because of their size. At 15 sign-ups per 100 families, a parish of 3000 families would get 450 sign-ups, whereas a parish of 900 families at 38 per 100 families would only get 342.
One can speculate about the reasons for this phenomenon. It may be that the smaller parishes are more closely knit communities so that a larger percentage of parishioners get informed and enthusiasm for an undertaking spreads more easily. Also, the parishioners in the smaller parishes probably have a stronger sense that their involvement is needed than those in the larger parishes.
There is also the question of how many of those who sign up actually follow through. There are no hard data on that, but some coordinators report an uneasy number who do not follow through. Other coordinators, however, do not encounter that problem.
In the final analysis, the success of an appeal is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who moves the hearts of people to commit themselves to a holy hour.
APEA Activity During the Jubilee Year
From January 1 to December 31, 2000 the priests of the Apostolate for Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration visited 107 host and support parishes to help start and maintain perpetual Eucharistic adoration. The efforts of APEA resulted in the opening of 32 new, mostly perpetual, adoration chapels during that period. Also, 19 Eucharistic parish missions were given.
The Presence of God
One of the great classics of Christian spirituality is The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, a seventeenth century Carmelite monk. Brother Lawrence highlighted the importance of always being aware of God's presence by continually conversing with Him. He found that this required some effort in the beginning, but after a little careful practice, God's love refreshed Him and it became quite easy. By the fervent practice of the presence of God, we come to "always see God and His glory in everything we do, say, and undertake."
To keep men aware of His continual providence, God has manifested His presence in a number of ways throughout salvation history. In the Garden of Eden He made a sound as He moved about (Gn 3:8). He appeared to Abraham in visions (Gn 12:7, 15:1, 17:1). He revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush (Ex 3:2) and to the Israelites in thunder, lightning and smoke on Mount Sinai (Ex 20:18). He led the Israelites through the desert in a column of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Ex 13:21). The Lord made His presence known to the prophet Elijah by a tiny whispering sound (1 Kgs 19:12). He was present in a special way on the propitiatory of the Ark of the Covenant (1 Sm 4:4) and in the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Kgs 8:10. Jn 32:16). The Hebrew word shekinah is used to denote any visible manifestation of God's presence and glory.
God most completely revealed His presence in creation in the person of the God-Man Jesus Christ, whose Body is the new Temple (Jn 2:21). His divinity was testified to when the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and hovered over Him at His baptism in the Jordan River (Mt 3:16). Jesus sent that same Holy Spirit to give birth to His new Church on Pentecost Sunday. The Spirit manifested His presence then in the form of tongues of fire (Acts 2:3).
When Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised to be with His Church always (Mt 28:20). We know from the gospel that He is with us in a number of ways. He is present when two or more come together in His name (Mt 18:20). He is present in the persons of those in need (Mt 25:40,45). He identified Himself with His Church to Saul (Acts 9:4). He is present in the leaders of the Church, who teach and govern (Lk 10:16). He is present in the sacraments of the Church and in the soul of every person in the state of grace. And, of course, He is present in all of creation -- in every star, in every tree, in every grain of sand -- because He continually holds them in existence.
Finally, He is present in the Eucharist. In the ways previously mentioned, He is present in His power, His authority, and in His Spirit. But in the Eucharist, He is present most fully, complete -- Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. The Eucharist is the extension of the Incarnation in space and time. It is the fulfillment of Jesus' name: Emmanuel, God is with us.
What better place is there to begin the practice of the presence of God than in His presence in the Eucharist? When we visit the Blessed Sacrament, we should make an effort to heighten our awareness of Jesus' Real Presence there and ask Him for the grace to imitate Brother Lawrence by continually acknowledging God's presence in all things, in all places, at all times.
Adoration is One of Six Counsels Pope Gives Youth
Pope John Paul II met with 40,000 young people in April at a pre-World Youth Day gathering. The youth responded with thunderous applause when the Holy Father told them that he would continue to proclaim Christ by "personal contact with brothers." He recommended six means to make room for Jesus in their lives. They are:
- The Word of God
- The Mass
- Eucharistic adoration
- The Sacrament of Penance
He told the youth that it is not easy to be a Christian missionary today, but he encouraged them saying "we must not be afraid because Christ can change a man's heart and accomplish a 'miraculous catch' when we least expect it."
Parish Builds Adoration Chapel After Long Delay
Presentation B.V.M. parish in Cheltenham, PA invited APEA on the weekend of May 16-17, 1998 to make an appeal to help start perpetual adoration. They had hoped to have a new chapel constructed by the fall. Fr. John McFadden, parochial vicar and chief motivator, had raised enough money to begin the project, and an architect had drawn up the plans for the chapel. However, the fulfilling of archdiocesan and township regulations delayed the project for about two years. In the meantime, a bequest was made which covered the cost of completing the chapel. Presentation B.V.M. invited APEA in again this year to give a follow-up appeal. At that time the foundation and floor were completed, and the prefabricated components were at the construction site waiting to be erected. The parish plans to start perpetual adoration by the end of July.