This is Nora’s story (not her real name) I have been praying during my weekly hour of Adoration, over many years, for my husband to return to Mass and the Sacraments as he has been away from them for 26 years. He didn’t even enter the church when our children were making their first Holy Communions and Confirmations. On a wet and very cold winter’s day he dropped me down to the Adoration Chapel for my holy hour and asked me to hurry out after the hour as he wanted to go to an important meeting. After the hour he came to collect me and waited outside in the car. After waiting for an extra twenty minutes, he lost patience and ran into the Adoration Chapel to hurry me out. I pretended not to see him and he sat down very impatiently for some minutes. Finally I got up and left and he came speedily after me. I was expecting a lot of anger and complaints because I stayed longer than the hour and kept him waiting. Having got into the car he turned to me, and said, calmly and quietly, ‘I am not going to that meeting I mentioned but instead I am going the priest in the Parochial house and going to ask him to hear my confession. Something came over me as I entered that Adoration Chapel, and I feel God calling me back again’. He got confession that day and became a daily mass goer and a weekly Adorer for the very first time. I put this down to the power of prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
My name is Michael (not my real name) a married man in my thirties with two children. Christmas Eve 2012 I was in town alone, feeling very lonely, sad and at times suicidal and wanted someone to talk to. I was very low and didn’t want to go home and let my family see me like this. I had an old religious card in my wallet and there was a number on it. I rang this number not having a clue whose number it was. I told Jim (not his real name) who answered the phone promptly that I was suicidal and wanted to talk. I asked him to come in and meet me. Jim kept talking to me trying to calm me down and said he couldn’t meet me but that he knew who could. He asked me where exactly I was and then went on to explain to me where I could go to talk to the person he had in mind. I didn’t listen very much to what he was saying and got a bit annoyed that he wouldn’t come in to talk to me. He emphasised that help was quite near where I was standing, in fact just 50 metres down the street. Jim said that help was in a room around the side of the Church and that I would see a light on in this room window and to just go in and sit down quietly and to tell him all you told me. Who is this him I asked. It is Jesus, the one who can do great things for you. I got a bit hyper and loud and cross, when he said this to me, thinking he was having me on. However after arguing and listening to Jim for half an hour I set off to get this help. I went into this room and saw three other people there sitting on chairs. I did likewise and watched what others were doing. They were all looking in the one direction. (later I was to discover that it was the Blesssed Sacrament in a Monstrance that they were looking at) I did the same. I started thinking what Jim had said and suddenly found myself talking silently and pouring out all my troubles and problems. About an hour or more passed and I felt a lot better and much calmer. I went outside and rang Jim again. I just said thanks, and I feel better now and I put down the phone. Finally I went home. That encounter with Jesus that night has changed my life. I won’t say all my problems are solved but I am in a much better place now. I visit this Chapel of Adoration regularly now and I get great peace and contentment there. Thank you Jim, thank you Jesus.
It was a wet and windy Sunday morning and I was standing inside the Church door, out of the rain, waiting for a lift to do some study in the University as exams were on the horizon. Mass was not something that interested me much, since my Confirmation. Mass was going on as I stood in from the rain. During the Mass a man was invited by the priest to speak to the congregation. He kept talking about Adoration. At one point during the talk he pointed at the Tabernacle and said very slowly ‘He is there. Jesus is there’, quoting some saint. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My lift never arrived and I waited until Mass was over to challenge the speaker. I felt he was just saying ‘He is there’ for effect and to get the people to listen.
I went straight up to the speaker and blurted out ‘did you do that for effect, to get the people to listen when you said and pointing to the tabernacle ‘He is there’. The reply with a smile was calm and definite. I meant everything I said and Jesus is there. Come around to the Adoration Chapel and I will show you Jesus, true God and true man, in the Monstrance, the same Jesus who walked the Holy Land just over 2000 years ago, the same Jesus that performed all the amazing miracles there.
I was gobsmacked and got a bit emotional at this point. I asked him if he would be speaking at the evening Mass and saying the same thing, as my parents usually go to that mass. He said, why do you ask me that? Well I feel that my parents don’t know that Jesus is there in the Tabernacle or in the Monstrance, and that it is really Him. Why do you say that? He asked. Because my parents never told my brother or myself. If they knew I feel they would have told us. I found myself going back to that evening Mass with my parents and from then on Mass has become a must for me. I really enjoy telling others about my journey back to my faith again. I now understand why people love to go to Adoration. I now drop in when passing to the Adoration Chapel.
Jack (not his real name) had just retired a few months previously and was looking forward to golf, gardening and travelling. If after all his favourite activities, he had a few spare moments, he decided that he would do something small for the Church to thank God for all the graces and blessings experienced by him and his family over the years. Jack was diagnosed with cancer, some 4 months later and ended up having a major operation. When he was returned to a room after a week in intensive care, he asked the nurse to turn on the television. To his amazement the Monstrance appeared on the channel that she pressed. That channel had a link to the Oratory and Adoration was in progress. Jack took this as a definite sign as to what he should do for the Church and promised the Lord that, if he got better, he would do something to promote or make known Eucharistic Adoration. Months later, having recovered, he joined his local Adoration Parish Committee and so began his active involvement in the promotion of Eucharistic Adoration. Jack never had a relapse and is a devoted adorer and promoter of Adoration to this day.
In recent times I had a feeling I wanted to do more than go to Mass each week. I felt in recent times, as if the Lord was calling me to do a little more. Then one Sunday a few months ago, a speaker from the Apostolate of Eucharistic Adoration was speaking at all the Masses in our Parish. During his talk he invited people to think in terms of a weekly commitment to Eucharistic Adoration. Weekly Adoration for at least two days a week was about to begin in our Parish. There was emphasis on the need for commitment of an hour a week and that the spiritual benefits to individuals, families and the parish were enormous. A card was given to us as we entered the Church and the speaker invited us to fill out that card. I did so quite reluctantly as I was afraid of not been able to keep the weekly commitment. But since I have started weekly Adoration I look forward so much to my hour with the Lord. It is now, even after a short time, a real priority in my life. I continue to pray that other members of my family will follow. I keep telling them how much it means to me and that you have to experience it to appreciate it.
I am from St Mary’s on The Hill Parish in Glengormley, North Belfast. One of our 3 parish churches was burned to the ground in a devastating sectarian attack almost 14 years ago in June 2001. A beautiful new church was built on the site and reopened just over 2 years later in October 2003.The Parish priest, Fr Dan Whyte, immediately established daily Eucharistic Adoration from 9.00am to 6.00pm. Parishioners quickly committed to specific weekly Holy Hours. In the past 10 years our parish has flourished. We now have many new initiatives, such as Adult Faith Catechesis programs, a lively youth group, flourishing cell groups, a brand new parish pastoral centre, 2 young men studying for the priesthood and, in fact, the joy of one of them being ordained in the newly rebuilt church.God’s ways are mysterious, but for me it provides great food for thought that the church in our parish, which was once the victim of a sectarian attack, has in recent years become the flagship for the spread of Eucharistic Adoration throughout our diocese; the Diocesan Adoration Apostolate, to which I belong, was formed and trained in our new parish church nearly 5 years ago. We have, so far, worked successfully in two thirds of our parishes, spreading Eucharistic Adoration throughout the diocese, and are now well on our way to completing this task.Our newly rebuilt church has a 40 foot high steel cross, which stands alone outside the church. Through effective use of lighting, this cross is dramatically reflected in the clear night sky across the entire local area, of mixed population, even stretching as far as Belfast Lough. It is also thought provoking to note that there is a small river running behind the church, which forms the exact border between Down and Connor and means that St Bernard’s Church is geographically located right in the centre of the diocese, the best possible position for our Apostolate in travelling to all parishes.
This, for me, is another wonderful example of the triumph of the cross and of how God enacts his marvellous plans, out of an apparent disaster, and from the charred ruins of our beloved parish church.
“In all your ways acknowledge Him, lean not on your own understanding”