Catholic-school students spend time in eucharistic adoration - Catholic Courier
Seventh-grade students at St. Francis-St. Stephen School in Geneva kneel before the Eucharist at Geneva's St. Stephen Church Jan. 19 for eucharistic adoration. (Courier photo by Jeff Witherow)

Seventh-grade students at St. Francis-St. Stephen School in Geneva kneel before the Eucharist at Geneva’s St. Stephen Church Jan. 19. (Courier photo by Jeff Witherow)

Catholic-school students spend time in eucharistic adoration

Peaceful. Soothing. Unexplainable. Warmth. Awesome.

These are just a few of the words middle-school students recently used to describe eucharistic adoration.

Middle-school religion teacher Pamela Kehoe noted that students at Geneva’s St. Francis-St. Stephen School look forward to spending time before the Blessed Sacrament.

“The students truly love to go spend time with Jesus,” Kehoe said. “They are all very reverent and mindful of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.”

Catholic schools place renewed emphasis on adoration

Kehoe said students in the school’s fifth, sixth and seventh grades go to adoration once a week. The school’s younger students also participate regularly in adoration — or time spent in prayer before a consecrated host displayed in a monstrance.

“The whole school goes together about twice a year,” she added.

St. Francis-St. Stephen students are in good company. This year, Catholic schools throughout the Diocese of Rochester have placed renewed emphasis on giving students opportunities to participate in eucharistic adoration. The initiative was undertaken in conjunction with the National Eucharistic Revival, according to James Tauzel, diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called for this revival, which began in June 2022, to renew Catholics’ belief in and devotion to the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Parishes and dioceses throughout the country have launched initiatives intended to help Catholics refocus and re-center themselves on the Eucharist.

Locally, the Diocese of Rochester’s Department of Catholic Schools is encouraging all of its schools to bring students to adoration once a month, Tauzel said.

“We are recommending monthly adoration, with 15 minutes for grades 2 and below, 30 minutes for grades three through five and six, and an hour for middle school, if possible,” he explained.

Diocese supports educators in efforts to encourage adoration

Teachers and principals are supported in this endeavor, Tauzel added. He and his staff offered professional-development sessions and a retreat for teachers and principals early in the school year to ensure educators were comfortable helping students understand and participate in adoration.

“We put together some guides and resources with prayers, playlists and guided meditations for the teachers as well. There are monthly themes as well to guide the teachers if they need more support,” he said.

Many teachers already were quite familiar with adoration. For several years, Kehoe had been bringing her seventh-graders to adoration weekly, but this year she started bringing her other classes weekly as well.

Teachers at St. Lawrence School in Greece began bringing students to adoration on an occasional basis three years ago. This year most of the school’s students participate in adoration monthly, according to Father Lee Chase, pastor at St. Lawrence Parish.

Students are eager to learn about the Blessed Sacrament

Early in the year Father Chase led a teaching session, and students were eager to learn, he said.

“We talked about what the monstrance is and let them see it up close. We talked about what the tabernacle is and let them peek inside the tabernacle,” he explained. “They are extremely inquisitive, very much wanting to know what this is all about and very much open to engaging in contemplative prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.”

Father Chase said he’s noticed a difference in the students since they started participating in adoration more often.

“It changes how they’re coming to Mass. I’ve seen the connection. It’s really been wonderful,” he remarked.

Adoration transforms lives of students, families

Providing students with an opportunity to spend time in adoration is the most important thing she does each week, Kehoe said.

“As teachers, we know that there is always so much content to cover in a limited amount of time. … Dedicating 10, 20, 30 minutes of eucharistic adoration a week will transform their lives. Nothing I say or teach will ever have that same effect,” she said.

The schools’ renewed emphasis on eucharistic adoration may even have a ripple effect in the wider Catholic community, Father Chase noted.

“I hope (students) will go home and talk about their experience and what we’re all about as church. … I have seen more of our parents coming to Masses with their children, so that’s very helpful and hopeful,” he said.

Tags: Catholic Schools, Eucharistic Revival, Monroe County West, Ontario County News, USCCB
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