Students seek peace, relationship in Eucharistic Adoration

Mar 28, 2024
Melbourne Central Catholic High School junior, Matthew A., receives a Benediction from Deacon Darrell Buono. (COURTESY)

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic staff, March 28, 2024

MELBOURNE | Emerging from a throng of students headed to lunch, Daniel A. makes his way to the Sullivan Ministry Center chapel to spend some quiet time with the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration.

The Melbourne Central Catholic High School junior described the activity as moving. He said he feels drawn to the Blessed Sacrament because he had a “profound experience” before the Eucharist two summers ago. He has been
striving to deepen his faith every day ever since then. “It’s amazing that we’re given the opportunity to spend time
with Jesus Christ, who is God, and have a time to be separate from the world and experience peace,” Daniel said. “When I’m with Jesus, I feel at peace, and often I feel that by spending time with Him, I’m being drawn closer to Him.”

Daniel is one of more than a dozen students committed to being adorers during part of their lunch break on Wednesdays. Katherine T., a fellow junior, also spoke about feeling peace. I chose to become a Eucharistic ‘Watcher’ (as the students call it) because I wanted a strong relationship with Jesus and knew this was a great opportunity to do so,” she said. “Setting aside time for Jesus in the day is important.”

She credited her parents for inspiring her to grow in her relationship with the Lord by showing her the beauty and significance of the Blessed Sacrament. “I always feel at complete peace before the Lord. Knowing that Jesus is there eases my mind and I feel calm in His presence,” she said.

The Blessed Sacrament is exposed at Melbourne Central Catholic, Wednesdays from 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Any students and staff arriving at noon can receive a Benediction — a blessing given by the priest through the exposed consecrated host in the monstrance. Many students and staff stop in for a few minutes throughout the day to find peace, to refuel, and to spend time with Jesus.

Deacon Darrell Buono, a school theology teacher, said the idea of establishing a day to make the Blessed Sacrament available for Eucharistic Adoration at the school came to him during the Corpus Christi Mass at his parish, Blessed Trinity in Orlando. The priest spoke about the National Eucharistic Revival.

“In my prayer I thought, ‘If this is going to really ignite our Church, we have to start it with young people,’” Deacon Buono said. “I felt God was saying I need to do something at MCC.”

The campus ministry team agreed, so they began in fall 2023. At first there were a few students and staff here and there. Then the team approached certain students they thought might want to be committed adorers, and more students seized the opportunity. The deacon explained the idea is they’re praying, not just for themselves, but for the entire school community.

“Making it available is key,” he said. “So many have lost the sense of the Real Presence, but there’s still a hunger for God. That’s the irony in it. We have this great gift of the Eucharist that God gave us, the gift of Himself, and I think people lose the sense of it because they don’t experience it. Our goal here is to give the young people, and everyone in our school community, the experience and hopefully that stays with them throughout their lives.”

“I hope that people, when they take a look at this, are reaffirmed in their own desire for the Eucharist and their own understanding and faith in the Real Presence,” he said. “It’s such an important gift from Christ Himself. For there to be Eucharistic Revival we need to be encouraging each other as well as opening our hearts to the Lord.
That’s my prayer.” And his prayer is being answered, one student at a time. Matthew A. said he made a commitment to himself to spend more time before the Lord that brings him to his knees in prayer.

“The fact that on the altar is the actual Living Body of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior” is what he finds so attractive. “When I am there before Jesus, I feel like I am actually having a conversation with Him.” London M. said she knows how
important it is “to show up for Jesus” because Christ’s sacrifice for the salvation of the world.

“Jesus has always been there for all of us and the least we can do is to take some time out of our day to be with Him,” she said. “Just looking at the monstrance and having a true understanding of what (the consecrated host) truly is, gives
you an incredible sense of gratitude that you are able to experience it. Every time I stand before Jesus, I feel a sense of worth and love.”

Sophomore Nicolas A. chose to be a Eucharistic “Watcher” because he needed a moment to step away from school, studying and homework. “And what better way to take a break than by spending some time in the presence of
our Lord and Savior,” he stated. Nicolas said he is drawn to the Blessed Sacrament by the thought of Jesus’s humility and the fact that He would be so humble as to become present in a small piece of consecrated bread.

“His love for us is always there and always inviting us back to Him,” he said. “Kneeling before Jesus, I feel His love. I praise him for all the blessings He’s given me, ask Him to help me, and then pray for others that need prayers.”