ORLANDO | In an age where churches are closing and chapels are often empty as Jesus rests in the tabernacle alone, Pope Francis calls for all to revive their “awe” for Jesus’ true presence in the Blessed Sacrament. In this second year of Eucharistic Revival focused on parish life in the Eucharist, Diocese of Orlando faithful seek Him in Adoration and find others joining them.
Eucharistic Adoration, also known as the Blessed Sacrament, is the adoration of Jesus Christ present in the Holy Eucharist — outside the Mass. The consecrated host is displayed in a monstrance, and people come to pray and worship Jesus in silence, drawing them deeper into a relationship with Him.
At St. Isaac Jogues Parish in Orlando, pastor Father José Bautista offers Eucharistic Adoration 72 hours a week, with the hopes of growing the ministry to enable Perpetual Adoration, meaning 24/7. When he arrived at the parish in 2021, the chapel was closed because of the COVID pandemic. Yet he found parishioners kneeling before the chapel window, peering in at the Blessed Sacrament, in adoration.
This summer, in response to this Eucharistic Revival Year of the Parish which calls for clergy to instruct parishioners on the Eucharist, Father Bautista offered a week-long Eucharistic Mission. It included informative evening sessions, Mass and Adoration.
“The Eucharist is everything,” he said. “(Eucharistic Adoration) is a blessing. It’s a way to experience God more strongly, more powerfully, more tangibly.”
Noting Eucharistic Adoration does not replace Sunday Mass, he explains, “From the Mass comes Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, His body, soul and divinity. Some saints have told us He is waiting there for us to let ourselves be loved by Him, and to love Him back.”
Recognizing Catholics are a Eucharistic people he says, “We have to realize part of being Eucharistic is to revive, renew and continue toward the center of our faith – through Eucharistic Adoration.”
He believes parishes that offer Eucharistic Adoration receive an abundance of graces. “I believe it because I believe in the power of Jesus in the Eucharist, His presence and how He wants us to have a relationship with Him,” he said.
Our Saviour parishioner Kate Scott testifies to this experience. For her Eucharistic Adoration began 15 years ago with an invitation from a friend to spend an hour with her in Adoration. “It changed my whole life for the better,” she exclaimed. “Because our Lord is just waiting there, day and night, to bestow His beautiful graces on whoever comes.”
She said she sees so many miracles taking place – one seminarian Cody Abbott who said it was there he “fell in love with God”, to Scott’s own daughters for whom Christ provided healing, strength and restoration.
“This is a mystery of love,” explains Maricela Garcia of St. Isaac Jogues who assists with coordination of the ministry. “Adorer means to adore, to love. And that is what we do. We spend time adoring and loving, seeking reparation, petitioning, and giving gratitude. This is why we spend time with Him.”
Once describing herself as a “cultural Catholic through tradition, not conviction”, the wife of Deacon Nelson Garcia finds the rediscovery of her faith as an adult led her to rediscover the beauty of the Eucharist.
“For me, the Eucharist is my powerhouse. It’s the spiritual food that sustains me,” she said recalling difficult struggles endured through prayer in Adoration and to the Blessed Mother.
Yet she assured, “This ministry requires prayer and fasting. It is Jesus’ hour and we invite others. We are His mouthpiece. But in reality, the invitation that disposes the heart comes from Him.”
Rose Ocaña is a Most Precious Blood, Oviedo parishioner who received such an invitation in her 20s. It was the priest at her church who welcomed daily Mass-goers to stay a few minutes after the celebration to spend time with the Lord. Ocaña found herself staying a few minutes more every time.
“I didn’t know much about it. It was very casual,” she recalled. The memory brought her to tears even now, years later, as a new grandmother. “I experienced an intense sense of peace just by being there, looking at the host, though I didn’t know what to do,” she said. Now she goes because she “needs it”.
“Honestly, I’ve never found someone I can speak to with the confidence and peace I feel when I am there. Someone who won’t judge me or respond sharply. When I’m happy, I go there. When I struggle, I go there.” She quotes John 6:68 and Peter’s response to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go?”
“I end up there and I am never disappointed,” she said noting she often gets answers and resolutions that come to mind in His presence. “Once you’re there, your body relaxes and ideas flow. You see situations from a different perspective.”
Recently, Pope Francis told members of the committees organizing the 2024 National Eucharistic Revival and the National Eucharistic Congress in the United States, “Indeed, the Eucharist is God’s response to the deepest hunger of the human heart, the hunger for authentic life because in the Eucharist, Christ himself is truly in our midst to nourish, console and sustain us on our journey.” He called Eucharistic Adoration, “the hope of the Church.”
Ocaña agrees and extends a welcome to all who hunger for a deeper relationship with Christ. “(In Eucharistic Adoration) you can expect things out of the ordinary,” she said. “Give yourself the chance and prove it for yourself. He speaks to all of us in different ways. ‘Come and see’. He does not disappoint.”
Click here to view opportunities to visit the Blessed Sacrament in our diocese.
By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic Staff, August 24, 2023