40 hours of Adoration reminds faithful to slow down, spend time with the Lord
WICHITA FALLS — Our Lady Queen of Peace parishioners in Wichita Falls, joined by many faithful of the Northwest Deanery, felt the Advent invitation to slow down and spend time with the Lord during the Mass on Dec. 8 that initiated 40 hours of Eucharistic Adoration in honor of the Fort Worth Diocese’s 50th Anniversary.
“The Lord has called us here this evening in union with the whole Church throughout the world to celebrate the second Sunday of Advent,” said Bishop Michael Olson at the beginning of Mass.
“The season moves so rapidly because of the joy and hope we celebrate,” he said. “We come together also for 40 hours of devotion to pray for renewal of our Church, a renewal of vocations anchored in our baptismal call, renewal of family life and marriage, and for God’s blessing and peace that we will be [in] communion with each other through challenging times — the times the Lord has entrusted us with to bring the Gospel of truth and light.”
In his homily, the bishop noted how the “fear of the Lord” and true reverence addressed in the Scripture readings bring us to “recognition that God fully loves us by giving His only Son who saved us.”
That sacrifice of love, the bishop added, “continues and is made present again and again in the sacrifice of the Eucharist, which transforms us into from a people discouraged to a people of hope. From a people enraged to a people prophetic. From a people of selfishness to a people of love and sacrifice.”
At the end of the Mass, Father Alexander Ambrose, HGN, explained the significance of kneeling and worshipping the Blessed Sacrament during an indoor Eucharistic procession down the aisles of the church.
“You all will be kneeling down,” the pastor said. “It’s the most beautiful, special moment in our lives, you know, Jesus passing by you. Pray. Pray for the most important thing in your life as He passes through and most importantly, pray for vocations to the priesthood.”
The Mass and 40 hours of Adoration was scheduled on the same night that Our Lady Queen of Peace (OLQP) hosted the Northwest Deanery Youth Mass, so many youth from local parishes also attended the Mass, the procession, and Adoration.
“Adoration is a beautiful thing,” said Joey Villeda, a volunteer with the Holy Family Parish’s youth group, adding that leaders impressed upon the youth the beauty of spending time “with Jesus in [His] bodily form.”
Grayson Cuba, a member of OLQP’s youth group, said the Eucharistic procession helped her and everyone in attendance feel Jesus’ presence and grow closer to God.
Fr. Ambrose told the NTC that because the priest’s first and most valuable role is to celebrate the sacrifice of the Eucharist, and without priests there can be no Eucharist, it’s important to pray for religious vocations during Adoration.
“It is through the power of prayer that those seeking the priesthood and the consecrated life are sustained and nurtured,” Fr. Ambrose said. “It is through the grace of daily prayer that you will partake in the work of building the culture of vocations.”
Teresa Wallace, an OLQP parishioner, said she and her husband both wanted to participate in the 40 hours of Adoration in order to spend some quiet time with Jesus and to pray for the vocation of marriage as well.
“We feel that in this time of convenience and having all you want, the sanctity of marriage is being left behind,” Wallace said. “Everybody wants to think only about what they want, and not about commitment and the love of the sacrament of marriage.”
JoAnn and Jim Brennan, who became parishioners of OLQP more than 40 years ago, said they both feel honored and proud that the bishop is celebrating the diocese’s 50th anniversary in this way. They spend time in Adoration on Monday Dec. 9.
“JoAnn and I both felt so honored that our church was selected [as one of three parishes chosen to host 40 hours of Adoration] and it gave us the opportunity to say, ‘OK, let’s participate,’” he said.
The final 40-hour Adoration to close the diocese’s 50th anniversary celebration will begin Thursday, June 11, 2020, the Feast of Corpus Christi at St. Peter Parish in Lindsay. Mass will start at 5 p.m. followed by perpetual Adoration through Saturday, June 13.