Holy Helper: Josephine Crane encourages others to join her in adoring the Blessed Sacrament
Josephine Crane had just retired from a career in banking in 2007 when she was pegged as coordinator for the Adoration program at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Grapevine. She came armed with a profound devotion to the Eucharist, developed as a child in her native Philippines.
Now, 16 years later, the 83-year-old joined her fellow parishioners Sept. 15 to celebrate a significant milestone for the growing ministry, the blessing of the new Holy Family Perpetual Adoration Oratory at the Grapevine parish.
The Adoration oratory seats 40 to 50 adorers in a bright space with high ceilings, white stone walls, and strategic wood paneling, to be accented in the future by stained glass windows.
But, of course, it’s Who is adored within those four walls that’s at the heart of the parish’s plans to deepen reverence for the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Many are answering that call at St. Francis of Assisi. Crane said single-day attendance for Adoration, even before the oratory opened, reached 50 to 75 parishioners.
A love for the Eucharist was embedded in Crane from childhood. The youngest of 10 children, she lost her father when she was 1 and her mother when she was 5.
“Growing up, my Aunt Segunda and I attended Holy Mass daily at our parish,” Crane said. “Eucharistic Adoration flows in and out of the Mass. And during Holy Week on Maundy Thursday when the Eucharist is exposed for Adoration, we adored until midnight, when it is reposed.”
Crane said there were also other activities that cultivated her love for the Eucharist.
“The Solemnity of Corpus Christi is highly celebrated in our hometown in the Philippines,” she said. “The streets are decorated with white flowers for the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament and the four altars set up for Benediction.”
“First Holy Communion is the most celebrated occasion with my family,” Crane said. “My brother John and I had our first Holy Communion together. All my family, neighbors, and close friends of my Aunt Segunda came. The priest who celebrated the Mass also came. There was lots of delicious food all day long.”
After growing up in the Philippines, Crane went on to earn a degree in business administration, majoring in banking at a college in Manila. She came to Dallas to work for Mercantile Bank.
All are called
Father Sojan George, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi, said Crane has been essential to the local ministry, a “full-time volunteer” who helps with setting up Eucharistic Adoration and scheduling adorers.
She also recruits new faces, encouraging them to make a Holy Hour.
“I tell them to have faith in the real presence of our Lord in the Eucharist,” Crane said, “and also to come regularly every week. Who knows? You might have an encounter with the Lord during Adoration.
“The Mass and Eucharistic Adoration are complementary,” Crane said. “At Mass, the sacrificial and communal aspects of the Eucharist are emphasized. In Eucharistic Adoration, the real presence is emphasized. St. John Paul II said our communal worship at Mass must go together with our personal worship of Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration in order that our love may be complete.
“God is calling everyone to Eucharistic Adoration,” she said.
With the new oratory, the ministry expects to expand its Adoration schedule.
Fr. George said, “We have a lot of committed adorers at St. Francis. Our goal is to make Eucharistic Adoration available 24-7. We strongly believe this will truly transform our parish community.”
The pastor reminds his congregation of St. Teresa of Calcutta’s words: “The time you spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the best time you will spend on earth. Each moment you spend with Jesus will deepen your union with Him and make your soul everlastingly more glorious and beautiful in heaven and will help bring about everlasting peace on earth.”
Not sure what to do? Fr. George recommended, “When doing a Holy Hour, we can always pray the Psalms or the Liturgy of the Hours. We can also meditate using sacred Scripture.
Read a passage from Scripture and let the word of God speak to your heart.
“We can intercede for others and ask for forgiveness for our own sins. We can pour out our heart to Christ in prayer and adore Him or we can sit quietly in His presence and try to listen to Him in our heart,” he concluded.
Speaking to the heart
Crane can be found praying before the Blessed Sacrament at St. Francis of Assisi on a regular basis.
“During Monday, Wednesday, or Friday Adoration, my personal Holy Hour is spread out as I monitor attendance,” she said. “But when attendance is low, then I use the time to focus my attention to the Blessed Sacrament and pray, which could be for guidance and wisdom, reparation and thanksgiving, safety and protection.”
Crane said she offers thanksgiving for her health; for family, friends, her Catholic faith; for St. Francis Parish, its clergy, staff, and her fellow parishioners. She also prays for those who ask for her prayers, as well as “those who have no one to pray for them.”
Crane also says several traditional prayers while in Eucharistic Adoration.
“Eucharistic Adoration is important for building up the life of the Church and seeking God's help in the many trials of our times. The Eucharist is the heart of the Church. St. John Paul II said in 1980, ‘Where Eucharistic life flourishes, there the life of the Church will blossom.’”
Written by Mary Rampellini, NTC staff writer.