Catholic Herald Staff
For parishioners in the Spooner parish cluster, the one-year anniversary of Eucharistic adoration is also a celebration of spiritual rebirth.
“I see our faithfulness growing and being kindled by the Holy Spirit,” said Fr. Ed Anderson, pastor of St. Francis de Sales, Spooner; St. Catherine, Sarona; and St. Joseph, Shell Lake.
“Proof would be in the large numbers we have that come to confession,” he said. “People are coming forward to see that the children are being educated in the faith. Parents are insisting, in the school now, but perhaps more in the religious ed program, too, that their children receive a foundation for a strong faith.
“The children themselves are asking for more ways to express their faith,” the priest continued. “To that end, there is a certain element of patience and kindness that seems to be enveloping everyone. We are more tolerant, willing to forgive, not so quick to chastise or point fingers. All of this leads to peace brought about and nourished by the Holy Spirit.”
“More people have stepped up to be catechists this year,” added Abbie Schmidt, religious education coordinator. “Many of our catechists are adorers or have asked about adoration.”
Schmidt, too, has witnessed the effect on youth.
“Even if our children are not yet attending the adoration chapel, they are being blessed by it,” she said. “I have noticed the change in the spirituality of the students.”
The adoration chapel opened a year ago with the support of about 170 parishioners from all three churches, said Jacene Silvis, a lay Servite who, with Servite Sr. Dominica Effertz, serves as head coordinator of the program.
Adorers can visit the Blessed Sacrament from 6 a.m. Monday to midnight Thursday; they hope to expand the week into Friday, according to Silvis.
To mark the chapel’s first anniversary, adorers gave personal testimonies before Mass at each of the three churches the last weekend in March.
Some spoke of overcoming difficulties, praying to mend broken relationships or discernment of a major decision. One fourth-grader said adoration “was like heaven, like sitting in heaven,” Silvis said.
“It’s just a whole gamut of reasons why people go to adoration,” she added. Some go simply “to give thanks to God … a God who is very personal to them.”
About 100 people attended a reception to commemorate the anniversary after the 10 a.m. Mass March 30.
A frequent adorer herself, Silvis credits others for their dedication.
“The real powerhouses that generate the ideas and share their joy and love for the Eucharist stems from the four division leaders and 24 hourly captains,” she said. “They help make sure the present adorers stay informed and are continuously reaching out and praying for future adorers.”
Fr. Anderson, too, provides “incredible support,” she said. “I think he adores more than he signs the sheet for.”
Generally, Silvis feels the parish, and the chapel, are moving in the right direction with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
“We just feel like there’s more awareness,” she added. “It takes some time to bring about more devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Our hope is to offer a perpetual adoration chapel for our community. I don’t think that’s unrealistic at all.”