Considering the practice of Eucharistic adoration at Notre Dame
At Notre Dame, one can expect to find dorm chapels full on most Sundays. What many Catholics do not realize is that their experience of the Eucharist need not end when the priest returns the Blessed Sacrament to the tabernacle.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains in section 1378, “Worship of the Eucharist,” that “the Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it.”
Pope Benedict XVI explained in 2007 that the experience of adoration does not replace or supersede the Mass, but enhances our experience of the Eucharist: “Adoration outside Holy Mass prolongs and intensifies what has taken place in the liturgical celebration and makes a true and profound reception of Christ possible.”
Notre Dame offers opportunities for Eucharistic adoration every day during the week. The chapel in Coleman-Morse is open every Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. for adoration. The Basilica also holds adoration in the Lady Chapel on Fridays from 12 to 5 p.m.
Some students, like Renée Roden, a senior majoring in theology and FTT, find that committing to a weekly adoration hour is central to their faith life at Notre Dame.
“Even a few seconds spent in that chapel help to reorient me, to help me remember that God is with me throughout my day, and to find that peace that comes from time spent with God,” Roden told the Rover. “Adoration has been one of the greatest gifts of my time at Notre Dame. Every relationship or friendship needs quality one-on-one time, and that’s what I always find adoration to be. It’s refreshing, renewing and always worth the time!”
Last year, Father Jim Gallagher, CSC, priest-in-residence in Zahm House, wanted to offer the residents an hour of adoration and reconciliation one day during Lent, but he was unsure of how successful it would be. He was pleased that the Holy Hour proved to be a meaningful experience, particularly for “several men who hadn’t been in several years.”
This Lenten season, Fr. Gallagher has offered Holy Hour in the Zahm chapel every Tuesday from 9 to 10 p.m. He expressed to the Rover the hope that combining adoration and confession with Mass would help the men of Zahm experience an open, complete relationship with God.
“Confession does that by removing the barriers of sin in our life,” he explained. “Adoration provides us to spend time with the Lord. Any relationship grows when you have time to spend with the other.”
Father Gallagher also described a Zahm House retreat during which the men took shifts from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. in the presence of the Sacrament in “nocturnal adoration.”
Nocturnal adoration resembles other forms of Benediction, such as the 40 Hours Devotion and perpetual adoration.
The Rover asked Fr. Gallagher if he thought something more closely resembling perpetual or nocturnal adoration could potentially be implemented at the university, either permanently or on occasion. He answered that “there’s always the possibility for more. What it requires, though, is a commitment from the student body, saying that both they want it, and will give the time to it.”
Representing the Knights of Columbus, Grand Knight Jeff Gerlomes, a senior, shared “a special challenge to spend 1,000 hours in Adoration during Lent.” Knights have risen to the spiritual challenge on numerous occasions, including Zahm Holy Hour and Holy Hour in the Log Chapel by the men of Old College. Members of the Liturgical Choir were also able to visit the Sacred Heart Basilica in Paris over spring break, where the faithful have kept perpetual adoration running since 1885.
“I like to say that any good Knight should make a habit out of spending time with his King …” Gerlomes explained. “Whatever we can do to expand or encourage these kind of opportunities we want to do, and we’re making a special effort to give our guys resources for using that time in silence well.”
In the midst of today’s steadily accelerating lifestyle, it is becoming more difficult and more crucial to take a quiet hour for spiritual reflection and prayer. In the same address and on other numerous occasions, Pope Benedict recommended the practice of daily adoration to all the faithful:
“In life today, often noisy and dispersive, it is more important than ever to recover the capacity for inner silence and recollection.”
Victoria Velasquez is a freshman who is taking over as Religion and Ethics editor next year. She forgot a byline for this article but you can still contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org; she won’t bite.
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