Pope Francis often encourages the faithful to spend more time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Speaking before the 2021 International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, Hungary, the Holy Father said “Let us allow our encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist to transform us, just as it transformed the great and courageous saints you venerate. Let’s make time for adoration… The Eucharist is here to remind us who God is. It does not do so just in words, but in a concrete way, showing us God as bread broken, as love crucified and bestowed.”
For the faithful who attend the First Friday Eucharistic Adoration Holy Hour at St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples, these words are taken to heart in this devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The First Friday Eucharistic Adoration Holy Hour has a dedicated following of people who find beauty and peace during their time in the presence of the Lord.
“It’s absolutely wonderful,” said one devotee. “The power is sometimes overwhelming.”
The monthly Holy Hour includes music, intercessions and a procession, and there are several hundred people who attend with the numbers swelling up to 800 during the winter months.
The importance of a devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is the focus of a three-year National Eucharistic Revival in the United States which began on June 19, 2022, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). The Revival will culminate with a national gathering in Indianapolis in July 2024.
The Diocesan Year of the National Eucharistic Revival is from June 19, 2022, to June 11, 2023. During this year, there will be a series of events and retreats that encourage the renewal of the Church “by rekindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.”
A key part of this effort will be a two-day Diocesan Eucharistic Congress and Youth Rally, March 24-25, 2023, at the Conference Center and Luminary Hotel on the riverfront of downtown Fort Myers. The Youth Rally will take place on March 24 and the Eucharistic Congress on March 25. Details of the Eucharistic Congress and other events planned for this Diocesan Year can be found on the Diocese website www.dioceseofvenice.org. To learn more about the larger National Eucharistic Revival, please visit https://eucharisticrevival.org.
On Sept. 2, 2022, the Holy Hour at St. Peter the Apostle began as people gathered in silent prayer. Several dozen red votive candles were placed on stands on either side of the altar, while many candles were placed on the altar for those who had special prayer intentions for the Holy Hour. These candles sat as silent witness, adding a peaceful serenity to the occasion.
Father Wilian Montalvo Tello, IVE, Parochial Vicar at St. Peter the Apostle, lead the Holy Hour service, which included music and prayers in Spanish, Creole and English to accommodate the multicultural nature of the Parish community.
During the Holy Hour, several hymns were sung, and excerpts from Holy Scriptures were read in the three languages.
After the period of silence there were intercessions, which were prepared in advance and the congregation was encouraged to add to them by calling out.
This was followed by a Eucharistic Procession when Father Montalvo carried the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament among the people, as incense rose from the censer. The procession slowly wound its way down each aisle to allow everyone present to be closer to the Lord. As this took place, the Litany of Saints was sung.
The Benediction was given as the Blessed Sacrament was raised. This was followed by the prayer called the Divine Praises. Then everyone was asked to say in unison: “May the heart of Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be praised, adored, and loved with most grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time. Amen”
At the conclusion of the Holy Hour, Father Montalvo placed the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle and then the closing hymn of “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name” was sung and the service was concluded.
While not every Parish in the Diocese has a First Friday Holy Hour complete with music, adoration at Parishes is typically available on the First Friday or on another designated day each month. Meanwhile, many Parishes, such as Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, St. Raphael in Lehigh Acres, St. John the Evangelist in Naples, St. Charles Borromeo in Port Charlotte, St. Michael in Wauchula, and others, have Adoration Chapels where extended adoration is available. Check with your Parish, or nearby Parishes, for adoration hours. For Parish contact information please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org and click the “Find a Parish” link.