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Posted on 05/28/2005 9:22:08 PM PDT by Coleus
Knights of the Eucharist
by Marilyn Korpalski
Knights attest to the value of eucharistic adoration for themselves, their families, their councils and parishes
|In this article:|
|Faithful to Our Lord|
|A Message for Young People|
|A Year of the Eucharist Initiative|
Some respond with their time and others with their brawn. But every Knight committed to eucharistic adoration is motivated from his heart and his love for the Lord.
Devotion to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is not a new initiative for many Knights. During this Year of the Eucharist, however, the spiritual riches for Knights, their councils, their parishes and their families promise to be greater.
Lou Bonadies, charter grand knight of St. Mark Council 13491 in Clarkesville, Ga., first joined an adoration society more than 40 years ago.
"Were so darn busy," he said. "An hour of prayer is nothing. Once in a while, we have to get off of the treadmill and spend time with Christ." Bonadies, 70, believes goodness begets goodness. When he was looking for 30 men to start a council at St. Marks Church, he was not surprised to find them in the parishs perpetual adoration chapel.
The roots of eucharistic adoration also run deep in the life of George Bellas of Thomas D. Reilley Sr. Council 10668 in Hilton Head Island, S.C. "I used to go to Benediction as a kid," he recalled. As his councils Church activities director, eight years ago he began a night of adoration prior to an annual All Souls Day memorial Mass for deceased Knights. Four Knights adore during the hours up to 2 a.m., then two men thereafter, to remember the souls and families of the deceased.
His parish, St. Francis by the Sea, undertook perpetual adoration to coincide with the Year of the Eucharist, and more than 20 Knights responded by becoming regular adorers or substitutes. "I think of all the kings and prominent people, even the pope, and I cant get two feet from them," said Bellas. "And then theres the Lord of all, and I can kneel down right in front of him."
|Parish Renewal||Back to Top|
John "Pete" McNeaney of St. Joseph Council 11379 in Charlton, Mass., began coordinating a perpetual adoration program at St. Joseph Church, at the request of Father Robert A. Grattaroti, pastor and council chaplain.
"At that time," said McNeaney, "our old church was small and needed refurbishing. Father Bob said that if we could just start eucharistic adoration, we could build a new church. When we started adoration, we prayed for a helper for Father Bob, who thought that with the shortage of vocations, wed never be able to get another priest. Then knocking at his door came a retired priest looking for work. We were overwhelmed!"
Today, a new St. Joseph Church stands in Charlton. "After adoration began, a committee was formed, we purchased land and built a new church that holds 600 people," McNeaney said. "Its the church that Jesus built, and its wonderful to be there."
On a personal level, McNeaney calls adoration "a love affair with Jesus."
"Ive been blessed," he said. "I dropped out of school at 16 and have no other education. I was moved from foster home to home. Our Lord helped me all the way."
|Faithful to Our Lord||Back to Top|
Father James P. Dunning, pastor of St. Kilian Church in Mission Viejo, Calif., and chaplain of Monsignor Hayes Council 6322 in Placerville, asked the Knights to assume responsibility for keeping at least one man before the Blessed Sacrament throughout the night every first Friday. Since 1993, council members have responded faithfully.
John Jannell of Pope Paul VI Council 7312, in Chatham, Mass., and his wife, Jane, have been coordinators of Our Lady of Life perpetual adoration chapel at Holy Trinity Church in West Harwich since 1997. It is the only such chapel serving Cape Cod, Marthas Vineyard and Nantucket.
Jannell recalled attending nocturnal adoration as a youth with his father. His wife took part in adoration in high school. A strong desire to continue the devotion as adults led them to consult their pastor. Adoration began in the parish in 1995 on the first Friday of every month. It was a good start to a program that took on a life of its own.
"We sat in the car to make sure people showed up," she said. "It was only one Friday a month, so people would forget. I suggested making it every Friday, and so it went."
To assure that the Blessed Sacrament would be accompanied during severe winter storms, Jannell created SWAT (Severe Weather Adoration Team) and supplied them with custom sweatshirts. "Members own four-wheel drive vehicles and are on call when the snow gets too deep and the roads arent plowed," he said. "These individuals might spend three or four hours at the chapel."
|A Message for Young People||Back to Top|
Pope John Paul II addressed part of his Year of the Eucharist message to young people. "I would like the young people to gather around the Eucharist as the vital source which nourishes their faith and enthusiasm," the pope wrote in his apostolic letter Mane Nobiscum Domine (Stay with us, Lord).
Adam Stanislawski, chancellor of James Madison University Council 9286 in Harrisonburg, Va., anticipated the popes request.
The 21-year-old junior majoring in physical education heads up the adoration program for his council. Since the nearest parish offered a limited adoration schedule, he found a church some 25 miles away where he could attend nocturnal adoration. "Every other week a couple of guys go with me for the Saturday 2 a.m. hour," he said. "The talks during the drive are also very beneficial."
Stanislawski credits his parents for taking him to adoration during his middle-school years. "I wanted help with all the changes and challenges of college," he said. "Its a bit of a culture shock, coming to a place where everyone is age 18 to 22. Id never been away from home for so long. Adoration was one of the most familiar things I could come to. It was like having a best friend there."
Ben Kessler, a seminarian and junior at St. John Vianney Seminary of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., had never experienced adoration growing up in Janesville, Wis. He is grand knight of Council 11949 on campus.
"It was really key for me to start small," he said, explaining that he began with 15 minutes, then expanded to a half hour. He also tried a half hour in the morning and at night.
"Adoration in the morning gives you a new outlook on life, a bigger heart," said Kessler. "If you dont go, youre more likely to be grouchy and tired in class. What keeps me ticking and sane is that time with the Lord."
Benedictine Father Meinrad Miller, chaplain of St. Benedicts College Council 4708 at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., has seen a significant change in collegians over the last 10 years. "Eleven years ago, there was no adoration on campus," he said. "I started a holy hour after World Youth Day in Denver. Now there are 18 hours of adoration on campus.
Father Miller credits the Knights for organizing an outdoor eucharistic procession on campus, the first in 30 years. "This was a student initiative promoted by Grand Knight Jon Baxa," he explained. "We had the monstrance under a canopy, torches, incense, and a Fourth Degree honor guard. We walked up the hill, stopping at dorms."
Baxa was coordinating committee chairman of the 2004 College Conference in New Haven last September.
Father Millers personal experience with adoration began before his seminary days. "Being a priest has its challenges," he said. "Being in adoration is like Peter before Jesus on the water: in seeing Jesus, there is a calmness. Thats what the Eucharist does for me. In this age of skepticism, we need time to be with Christ who loves us."
Father Grattaroti also relies on time in adoration. "Its a time to rest in the Lord and have him put everything in perspective for me," said the Massachusetts pastor. "Its like the need to eat or to sleep." Occasionally, he fails to set aside time. "The busyness is challenging," he admitted. "I say, 'Its your church, Jesus. Youre the divine shepherd'."
He sees a profound connection between eucharistic adoration and vocations. "I have two men currently in the seminary and several others thinking about it, and three girls interested in religious life," he reported. " cant help but be impressed by this gift. As we honor and cherish the Eucharist, he showers us with blessings."
|A Year of the Eucharist Initiative||Back to Top|
For Knights considering adding eucharistic adoration to their devotions, experienced Knights offer the following advice for getting started.
Ken Smith of Dover (Del.) Council 4182 reads from the monthly paperback prayer book Magnificat during his Monday 5 a.m. hour. Although he is occasionally tempted to change the time he has observed since 1995, he finds adoration a great way to start the week.
Richard Matt, a member of Rev. Father Zachary Kucin Council 2230 in Ames, Iowa, reads devotional literature before praying the rosary during his Wednesday 6 a.m. hour at St. Cecilia Church. Forty of his brother Knights participate in perpetual adoration there.
Paradoxically, the lack of good catechesis has drawn some Knights into a desire for eucharistic adoration. "I grew up in a time when we didnt learn anything about the faith," said Kevin OBrien of St. Augustine Council 5724 in Northboro, Mass. "I didnt know the truth of the faith." After listening to audiotapes about adoration, he became inspired three years ago to do something to honor Jesus. His pastor at St. Bernadette Parish referred him to Sister of St. Anne Muriel Audette, a pastoral assistant.
"Her prayer," said OBrien, "was that someone would come forward." Together they co-chair the parish adoration program, which began with one day a month and has extended to five days a week. He thinks adoration has had a significant impact on the men of his parish. "Before adoration, six men from our parish went to the annual Worcester Diocesan Catholic Mens Conference. After one year of adoration, 50 guys went. I think adoration did this."
OBrien, 34, a former linebacker for the New England Patriots, spends Wednesdays from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. in adoration. "Sometimes I stay for the next hour if the next guy doesnt show up," he said. "Then I have to go to work. I could think: Woe is me. But Ive just spent two hours with Jesus. What better use of my time is there?"
Myron Lipinski, 39, said he is still discovering his faith. "The Church is full of spiritual adolescents not matured because of the lack of good teaching," said Lipinski, past grand knight of Berkshire Hills Council 314 in Lee, Mass. When his pastor described his wishes for an adoration chapel about five years ago, he thought, "This guy must be cracked. Id never heard of it. I was a cradle Catholic and had served in the Air Force, but had never seen perpetual adoration."
Lipinski and fellow council members responded to their pastors desires by contributing funds and labor to add an adoration chapel to the 150-year-old St. Mary, Mother of the Church. The chapels centerpiece is a stained-glass window depicting a monstrance, a gift from Council 314.
"I didnt experience the humanness of Jesus until adoration," Lipinski said. "Here was this intimate, friendly experience." When his business as an aircraft broker suffered a crippling blow four years ago, he sought solace in adoration. "I found the strength to go on. I knew the Lord was with us and would take care of us."
Marilyn Korpalski is a freelance writer in Glen Ellyn, Ill. She is the widow of a Fourth Degree Knight and mother of two.