Adoration can bring peace during Advent
Seeking peace and quiet during the hustle and bustle of Advent?
Regular adorers of the Eucharist say adoration is a good way to prepare for Christ’s return.
Although people in the diocese adore the Blessed Sacrament throughout the year, adoration also has its own application during each liturgical season -- including Advent, said Father Thomas Mull, spiritual adviser of the Nocturnal Adoration Society in the Diocese of Rochester and pastor of St. Mary Parish in Canandaigua and St. Bridget/St. Joseph Parish in East Bloomfield.
He noted that the act of coming to adore the Lord in the Eucharist echoes preparation of coming to adore the Lord at the nativity and his second coming.
"It gives us a chance to prepare and be at peace, which is the whole focus of Advent itself," Father Mull said.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes that the act of adoring God helps people focus on what is important.
"To adore God is to praise and exalt him and to humble oneself, as Mary did in the Magnificat, confessing with gratitude that he has done great things and holy is his name," the catechism states. "The worship of the one God sets man free from turning in on himself, from the slavery of sin and the idolatry of the world."
Throughout the diocese eucharistic adoration takes place in many forms and at many times. Individuals take part in perpetual adoration at four locations in the diocese: Our Lady of Peace Parish at St. Stephen Church, Geneva; Our Lady of the Valley Parish at St. Ann Church, Hornell; Christ the Redeemer Parish at St. Casimir Church, Elmira; and St. John of Rochester, Fairport. Extended periods of adoration also take place at many other parishes in the diocese, including Holy Spirit in Penfield, St. Joseph in Rush, St. Theodore in Gates and St. Thomas the Apostle in Irondequoit.
While extended periods of adoration often are a time for individuals to quietly pray, read and reflect, many parishioners in the diocese also participate in such group adorations as nocturnal adoration, Holy Hours and expositions.
During nocturnal adoration, which takes place monthly at 12 parish centers in the diocese, small groups pray and adore the Blessed Sacrament. Don Karal, coordinator of the Nocturnal Adoration Society in the Diocese of Rochester and president of the Nocturnal Adoration Society’s center at Blessed Sacrament Parish, Rochester, said nocturnal adoration involves a small sacrifice of time to allow people to pay homage to Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
The payoffs for eucharistic adorers are plentiful, said Anna Marie Giardino of Geneva, who helps to coordinate perpetual adoration at Our Lady of Peace Parish at St. Stephen Church.
"It definitely brings you closer to the Lord," Giardino said. "Anytime that I’m troubled or I talk to people that are troubled, we go and talk to Jesus."
Just as Advent is in a sense waiting for the Lord’s return, adorers sit and wait with God, said Sue Waterstraat, coordinator of the adoration at St. Joseph Parish in Rush, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a Mass Dec. 1.
"We can rush right through Advent without even realizing four weeks have gone by, because we are so busy," Waterstraat said. "But we are called to not be so busy, and adoration requires that."
Isabel Nobilski, a coordinator of perpetual adoration at Our Lady of the Valley at St. Ann Church in Hornell, pointed out that unlike the expectant nature of Advent, Christ is already present in the Blessed Sacrament during adoration. Yet adoration can be a time of spiritual preparation, she said.
"People say it’s the most peaceful time in their week and the most peaceful time in their day," Nobilski said.