Young adults find quiet, peaceful moments in front of the Blessed Sacrament
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 4:28 AM
Ninoska Moratin said she couldn't quite understand Eucharistic Adoration until she had a "reversion" in the middle of her sophomore year of college.
In photos from 2007, a young adult participates in Eucharistic Adoration at the Catholic Student Center at the University of Maryland at College Park.
CS PHOTO BY RAFAEL CRISOSTOMO
Moratin, a senior at the University of Maryland in College Park studying material science and engineering, said after her reversion she "dove into the faith," and Eucharistic Adoration has been a spiritual anchor ever since.
Last semester, she signed up for a weekly half-hour time slot to sit in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The experience helped deepen her faith, she said.
"I feel like sometimes you pray during Adoration, and you can't focus. But sometimes even if you're distracted, He's (Jesus) left you a little message. When you pray, God places things in your heart," she said.
She added that going to Adoration regularly helped her "put a time out every week for Jesus, a date with Jesus."
Even if she becomes stressed out or worried about exams, she always has "Adoration time" to relax in prayerful meditation, Moratin said.
This Lent, Archbishop Donald Wuerl issued a new pastoral letter, God's Mercy and Loving Presence to the clergy, religious and laity of the Archdiocese of Washington. The letter notes that the archdiocese's popular Lenten campaign, "The Light is On for You" has been expanded this year to encourage Catholics to go to Confession and to participate in Eucharistic Adoration.
In an earlier interview with the Catholic Standard, the archbishop said he hopes this Lent will be a special time for Catholics to experience "the wonder of the quiet beauty of sitting in the presence of the Lord in the Eucharist, and reminding us that He is present."
He added that among young people their is an increased popularity of Eucharistic devotions, including Eucharistic Adoration.
This is "the result of a growing appreciation and appropriation of faith by young people. Many young adults today are finding that the real answers to life are given to us by Christ, and our secular and material society simply can't respond to all the needs of the human spirit. Young people are realizing this, and finding renewed strength and vitality in their faith," the archbishop said.
Victor Nwaneri, a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, said he attends Adoration semi-regularly, and he has always found it to be a "stress reliever to come in and pray the rosary before the Blessed Sacrament."
Nwaneri said he attended Eucharistic Adoration when he was younger with his family, and he continued going in college where it "became part of my routine."
"It gives me time to build my one-on-one relationship with God, outside of the social scene of college," he said. "It makes you a lot more cognizant of your daily actions, your daily activities."
Father Kyle Ingels, chaplain of the Catholic Student Center at the University of Maryland, College Park, said about 50 young adults come to Adoration every week, and they are hoping to increase these numbers during Lent.
"It's an important way for people to slow down and pray in the midst of a very busy academic life ... many are drawn to the peacefulness of Adoration," he said.
Laura Ferstl, the archdiocese's coordinator for young adult ministry, said the Christ in the City program - held at St. Patrick's Church in Washington - hosts a young adult holy hour with Eucharistic Adoration at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of every month. On March 11, Msgr. Edward Filardi, the pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes in Bethesda, will preside at the Christ in the City gathering at St. Patrick's and speak on "True Peace, True Presence." St. Peter's Church in Washington holds Eucharistic Adoration for young adults from 6-7 p.m. on Mondays and St. Mary of the Mills Church in Laurel holds one on Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. St. Raphael's Parish in Rockville will hold a holy hour with Eucharistic Adoration on Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. for the people of Haiti.
Ferstl said God is calling everyone to "some kind of conversion during Lent," and the time spent in peace and quiet before the Blessed Sacrament will help young adults discover this calling.
She said a psalm she recently read describes how she views Adoration, "Look up at the Lord with gladness and smile; your face will never be ashamed," (Psalms 34:6).