(Adoration chapel windows in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.)
I’ve spent an hour at the adoration chapel almost every week for a few years now. Signing up seemed like a good idea at the time.
It still does. But this sort of spiritual practice doesn’t come naturally to me. That’s not a criticism of anything or anyone.
Change gives some folks conniptions. Not me. (June 4, 2017)
I don’t live in 1st century Jerusalem or 11th century Esztergom. I live in 21st century Sauk Centre. Older families around here are mostly German or Irish. Most are Catholic. But our faith isn’t about who our ancestors are.
Many Catholics speak my native language, American English. Many grew up speaking Portuguese, Swahili, Japanese, one of the Malayan languages, or another language.
(The Eucharistic adoration chapel in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, 2014.)
Helena Kowalska grew up in Poland. Today we know her as Saint Faustina Kowalska. Folks around here heard about her Divine Mercy devotion a few decades back. It seemed like a good idea.
The devotion was okay for individuals and informal groups back then, but wasn’t approved for pubic devotions.
Sometimes being Catholic means waiting until folks at the Vatican have time and opportunity to evaluate what we think is a good idea. This was one of those times.
The good news for us was that private Divine Mercy devotions were okay. Local priests knew about it, we weren’t ‘being sneaky.’ We just understood that plans for public devotions would have to wait until we got official approval.
Folks around here, those I’ve talked to, had a pretty good idea what the hold-up was. We figured the Church would probably get around to sorting out a translation glitch, and that’s another topic.
‘Going public’ didn’t happen until a pope who spoke Polish read Faustina’s diary. Then she was canonized.
Public Divine Mercy devotions got official approval, too. That let folks get to work on plans they’d made.
When we got the green light, some of the local Divine Mercy folks set up a Eucharistic adoration chapel.
It was in a repurposed convent near St. Paul’s parish church.
That’s the ‘other’ parish in town.
Along with St. Alexius down the road, we’re a three-parish cluster. My household and I are attached to Our Lady of the Angels, just down the street.
I signed up for my hour when the chapel was in the old convent.
The room wasn’t overly large. I liked it, and wouldn’t have minded having the chapel stay there.
But change happens. An addition was built by St. Paul’s, parish offices were combined and moved there. It made sense. None of the local parishes are particularly huge.
Early plans for the addition had been very economical. The diocese told us to try again, and make it look good.
Being Catholic includes paying attention to legitimate authority, so that’s what we did. Now we have an addition that is functional — and looks good, too.
The new chapel is in the addition, much larger than the one I started in. I liked the old chapel. I like the new one, too.
I also enjoyed looking out into the deeps of God’s sky through the formerly-clear windows.
That ended on the second and third of October, week before last. The chapel’s stained glass windows were ready then. Eucharistic adoration moved elsewhere while they were being installed.
I was experiencing something like a cold, so I missed the first Wednesday I’d have had with the new windows. Venturing out seemed imprudent.
I was back this week. I liked windows I could see through, and like the new ones. Someone did a very good job with the stained glass. The colors are much richer than my photos show. The chapel looks brighter, too. I think it’s a good change.
Jesus has “the words of eternal life.” Peter said that. (John 6:68)
I’ve talked about the Eucharist before, and why I think Peter had the right idea. (November 20, 2016)
Eucharistic adoration is optional. Basically, it’s spending time with our Lord.
I’m glad I signed up. I think it’s a good idea. But regular Eucharistic adoration certainly doesn’t make me more pious than folks who haven’t made it part of their lives.
Quite a few folks who haven’t signed up for a regular time come in for a few minutes, or hours. Some are as old or older than I am, some probably took a little time off from work. Some may have been going from one job site to another. My hat’s off to them.
Again, Eucharistic adoration isn’t something all Catholics must do. It’s an optional part of our faith. We’ve accumulated many devotional practices over the millennia. I don’t think one person would have enough time to follow them all.
I don’t know if it would have been easier or harder two millennia back. Either way, I’d probably have been like Thomas.
Thomas wasn’t the only one having a hard time understanding what our Lord was saying and doing.
“Philip said to him, ‘Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.’
“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”?’…”
(John 14, 8–9)
Quite a bit happened right after that. Jesus was tortured, executed, buried — then stopped being dead. Thomas had a hard time believing the others. But he knew when to stop asking questions. (John 20:27–28)
Our Lord finally convinced the surviving Apostles that they weren’t seeing a ghost (November 27, 2016)
If it had been anybody else, we’d have stopped getting ready for his return long ago.
But Jesus isn’t anybody else. And that’s another topic:
- “Prayer Routine: Month Eight”
(September 24, 2017)
- “Still Rejoicing”
(July 2, 2017)
- “Emmaus: Looking Back and Ahead”
(April 30, 2017)
- “The Eighth Day: Two Millennia and Counting”
(April 16, 2017)
(March 12, 2017)
Catholic Parishes of St. Alexius, Our Lady of the Angels, St. Paul’s
- “Small town celebrates 31 years of dedication to Divine Mercy”
Catholic News Service (April 4, 2013)