By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Our Lady of Victory Parish offers eucharistic adoration on the first Friday of each month and recently offered two special opportunities for its youths.
Eucharistic adoration is “time spent in prayer in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist,” said Father Andrew Rauenbuehler, the parish’s parochial vicar. “As you sit, kneel, pray, meditate or read in adoration, you’re doing it in a special way before the eucharistic presence of Christ. The Eucharist is the way Christ remains physically with his disciples up to our own day. It prepares us to encounter him when we receive the Eucharist at Mass. You want to spend time with your friends — Jesus with us and us with Jesus,” he said. In this busy and loud world, adoration “allows us time to focus on the Lord and our need for him in a powerful way.”
On April 20, faith formation students in grades K-8 gathered in the church to experience exposition and benediction, said Kaye Meyers, the parish’s coordinator of K-8 faith formation. This was the first time the entire group gathered as one in the church. In previous years, one class at a time attended adoration in the school library, she said.
Having the entire group together gave everyone the “opportunity to understand the experience from beginning to ending, seeing the consecrated host taken out of the tabernacle and returned to the tabernacle,” she said.
“Our catechists had prepared the students beforehand with information about what happens during adoration and what to do at adoration. In addition, Father Andrew incorporated information about what was happening during the experience. Students were provided with prayer booklets and journals to use during the quiet time.”
In the future, Meyers plans to incorporate adoration into the faith formation program as a family event.
During the IGNITE Sunday events in March, Father Jake Greiner, the parish’s pastor, spoke on the topic of adoration. “Father Jake explained what happens during adoration, detailed reasons for the shape and design of the monstrance and answered questions from participants,” she said.
Father Rauenbuehler encourages people to participate in adoration. “Even if you can just pop in for 5-10 minutes, it can be a great time of prayer.” Often, adoration opens with a holy hour. There is no set way to spend that time in prayer. “The Word itself points us in the direction,” he said, “to focus on the Lord and to offer him our praise and worship. We can do that in a variety of ways. Our Catholic tradition is full of different devotions and prayers (Scripture being primary) that can aid us in that pursuit.”
Our Lady of Victory offers a holy hour Thursdays from 7-8 p.m. and adoration on the first Friday of the month from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. On May 11, high school youths were invited to attend adoration with a holy hour and benediction. They also had the opportunity to participate in the sacrament of reconciliation. “It’s nice to have the opportunity to be with God whenever we want,” Grace McCarty said. “It’s nice to be able to be with him outside Mass (but inside the church).”
Anna Stajack first experienced adoration as a student at the parish’s John F. Kennedy Catholic School. She said she enjoys “feeling God’s presence. I can sit and feel his love,” she said after adoration May 11. She also participates in adoration at Assumption High School in Davenport, where Father Rauenbuehler serves as chaplain.
Assumption offers adoration Tuesdays during class hours. “We make sure that someone is in the chapel at all times by having students in study hall spend their period in the chapel. It isn’t a mandatory thing but a great opportunity for our students to find some rest in the Lord and a reminder that he is at the center of all we do.
Sometimes whole classes will drop in even if only for a few minutes of prayer,” Father Rauenbuehler said. As more people are exposed to “this great facet of our faith, the beauty and attractiveness of it grows. I know of many conversions and vocation stories that began in front of the blessed sacrament in adoration.”