Family Holy Hours

I’ve been thinking about ways to make devotion to the Eucharist more accessible as we enter into the 3-year National Eucharistic Revival. I’m sure you’ve read the background and the reasons why the Bishops have begun this effort – to help Catholics understand and make real The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This isn’t a ‘nice thing’ we have in the Church or ‘one of many possible devotions to choose from’ – rather it’s a central tenant of our faith. So I think we need to focus on ways we can invite everyone in our parish to experience Jesus in the Eucharist.

Most parishes have Eucharistic Adoration for at least 1 hour a month. I’m going to challenge you this year to increase that by 4, 5, 6, 7 fold at least. Provide many opportunities at different times of the day. I once worked with a parish who told me they “already had Adoration” when I suggested we increase it. I asked the group, which included the pastor, the associate, a deacon, and the entire parish council, “when is it?” And they all fumbled, thought really hard, and then one of the staff members said “I think it’s the first of the month after the 7 am Mass for an hour.”

I recommended they at least choose a day of the month that it could be the first of – and maybe change the time. They were lamenting the fact that not many people came. I suggested that there might be two causes no one was coming that didn’t have anything to do with the level of devotion in the parish and was probably more likely because 1.) no one knew when it was and 2.) it was from 7:30 to 8:30 am.

It wasn’t accessible, so it wasn’t accessed by the parish. What makes it accessible?

  1. Happens at a time when people can join.
  2. Is advertised and talked about so people know when and where it is.
  3. Education is provided to help people enter in.

We mistakenly assume that our parishioners now HOW to make a Holy Hour, that they understand all aspects of the Mass, or even that they understand what we mean by “The Real Presence.”

Now that we have the basic things in place to make Eucharistic Adoration accessible in your parish, let’s talk about families.

One of the trademark characteristics of Eucharistic Adoration is silence. While I don’t have any little ones, one of their trademark characteristics is the opposite of silence. So how can we make Eucharistic Adoration more accessible for families?

One idea is to have a “Family Holy Hour” – this time would be known to all that noise was expected, children being wiggly were the norm, teaching and talking about Jesus was encouraged. My godson’s mother is quite good at this – taking her boys to stop by for a visit at the parish to say hello to Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and any Saint represented with a statue. The boys love saying hello and telling Jesus about their day, and they are as reverent as 3 and 5 year old boys can be – they are not silent though.

A previous parish of mine used to do this from 3 to 4 one day during the week during their time of Perpetual Adoration. Families were invited to come, asked to be reverent and respectful, but not expected to be silent. It was heavily frequented by families, many of the parents who had their own hour at another time during the week.

I recently saw this story about children and the Eucharist, it’s not to be missed.

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