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The Eucharist Part V

The Eucharist is the source and summit of all that we are a Catholics. Everything flows from or flows towards the Eucharist. You’ve heard me say at mass, when speaking on how to pray at Mass, bring everything of your prior week and upcoming week and offer it to the Lord before Mass begins. Then, as the deacon dismisses us, as a Eucharistic People, take Christ, who you’ve consumed into the world and give the world what it desperately needs, the person of Jesus Christ. Our lives are groaning to receive the Eucharist and then when we do, we empty ourselves out in giving him away until we are brought back to the Eucharist. So, it’s no wonder the Church places so much emphasis on the weekly Mass celebrated together as a community of believers. We need each other and the graces that flows from the Eucharist.
And at the same time, there is a need to stay close to Jesus in private prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Catholics often get asked if we have a personal relationship with Jesus. How can we say anything but “yes” when we receive him body blood soul and divinity and then can sit with him in prayer and gaze upon him, the person of Jesus Christ? Before the pandemic our Adoration Chapel at Sacred Heart was open from 11am-6pm on Sundays, Monday through Thursday 9am-9pm and Fridays 9am-5:45pm. Since the end of the pandemic we are open Tuesdays and Thursdays 9-9pm and Friday’s 9-5:45pm. Do you think our spiritual warfare and attacks from Satan have decreased since the end of the pandemic? I don’t. However, we’ve certainly diminished one of the most powerful weapons in our parish arsenal by not having enough adorers of the Eucharist so our adoration chapel can be open 6 days a week. Let’s remind each other what can happen in a Holy Hour so that more may return or experience this beautiful prayer for the first time. First, there is no way to pray incorrectly in front of the Blessed Sacrament, so whatever you do for prayer, do it in the adoration chapel with the exposed Blessed Sacrament. Second, when you enter the chapel, make sure you are there to pray. Catholic literature including the Catholic Missourian and periodicals may be good, but if it is used as a reading or study, then it is not prayer and this is not the place. Third, you can always stop in to pray a Holy Hour, but remember, a “Holy Hour” is not 60 minutes; it’s as long as you make it. From 10 minutes to 90 minutes, it’s all a “Holy Hour.” We do ask that if you sign up for an Hour or substitute for someone that you stay for 60 minutes so that we know there is at least one person with our Lord the whole time of exposition. It is not right to leave the Blessed Sacrament exposed without an adorer.

So, what could a person do once they arrive in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel to pray? Spend 5 minutes transitioning to prayer: close your eyes, ask the Lord to help you know you are in his presence and allow your thoughts to come. As they come, offer each thought to the Lord. Begin paying attention to your breathing. Pay attention to each of your muscle groups from head to feet and relax each part of yourself within the first five minutes. If you are new to this, it may take bit longer to quiet yourself, but stay with it and eventually, you will notice a physical change of more relaxed. Over the next five minutes look over your past day or so and speak to the Lord about what has happened, the good, the bad, the normal. Ask for prayers and blessings for these events and people within them. On each of the following, spend a few minutes on each one: what are you grateful for; what are you sorry for; what do you bring before the Lord today; who needs prayers and for what? Then, spend time in traditional prayers of the Church: pray the rosary; pray the divine mercy chaplet, use a prayer book and pray the prayers from there; pray over the Sunday or weekday Scripture readings. I like to pray with scriptures after I’ve prayed a different traditional prayer of the Church. When you turn to scripture this becomes the “listening” part of the Holy Hour. And, a good amount of time should be spent listening since you’ve spent time talking. As you open your Bible (or phone app) to the particular scripture you will pray, ask the Lord to fill you with his words and allow him to speak to you. Then, prayerfully read the scripture passage. I believe the best scripture passages are the ones assigned for that day (at Mass) or for the upcoming weekend (Mass.) It’s the scripture the whole Church around the world is praying, so it automatically joins you to the world wide (Universal) community. Then, ask the Lord to give you the graces and strength to be who He is calling you to be and to do his will until you return to prayer.

And now, I want to share with you two opportunities for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the form of Eucharistic Processions. First, June 2, the Feast of Corpus Christi, God willing, Father Christopher Hoffmann, who is ordained a priest on June 1, will be offering his Masses of Thanksgiving here. (More on that later; we need more formal information before we can share details.) The plan is for him to process with the Blessed Sacrament from St. Patrick to Sacred Heart and lead us in Benediction at Sacred Heart. We normally have a Corpus Christi Procession on Corpus Christi Sunday; so we will continue with that; we pray that we will be doing so this year with a brand new priest.

Second, there is a National Eucharistic procession July 1-5 crossing our diocese on the Junipero Serra Route where the procession begins in the state of California and processes to Indianapolis, Indiana for the Eucharistic Congress. July 1 we, the parish of St Vincent de Paul at the chapel of Sacred Heart receive the Eucharist from the Diocese of Kansas City/St. Joseph at 6pm. We will have dinner, a bi-lingual catechetical presentation, and a formal procession from Sacred Heart to St. Patrick. We will have overnight Adoration at St Patrick until our 6:30am Mass. After the Mass, we will process back to Sacred Heart. At that time, the Procession will caravan by vehicle to Pilot Grove where the procession will be on the Katy Trail until they arrive at St Peter and Paul in Boonville. More on the rest of the events across the diocese as it gets closer. I know there is a video of this being presented to the diocese on February 27 and I write about it here so you know about it prior to the release of the video. So, please be willing to assist us in both of these processions and spend time with the Lord in the Adoration Chapel. Call the parish office to volunteer to take a holy hour each week.