Extraordinary series is part of archdiocese's I AM HERE campaign, which seeks to rekindle faith in the Blessed Sacrament
DETROIT — This Advent season, the faithful in the Archdiocese of Detroit have the opportunity to step out of the suffocating commercial hustle of the holidays and spend time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
This Friday, Nov. 18, Detroit-area Catholics are invited to a special prayer gathering at St. Scholastica Parish in Detroit led by Fr. Mathias Thelen, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Brighton and cofounder and president of Encounter Ministries.
Fr. Thelen, one of 50 preachers handpicked by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to enkindle the flame of Eucharistic faith as part of the National Eucharistic Revival, will speak on the healing power of Jesus in the Eucharist, followed by Eucharistic adoration and healing prayer ministry. The evening begins at 7 p.m.
"There is no revival or renewal of faith without a deeper union with Jesus, and that’s what we get in Communion," Fr. Thelen told Detroit Catholic. "That's what the Eucharist is about: it is Jesus's presence in the Church, and it’s his love poured out, and it’s our participation in that love."
Then, starting Nov. 27, Catholics have an extraordinary chance to spend time before the Blessed Sacrament every evening of Advent. Each night at 7 p.m., a different parish in the archdiocese will host an Advent holy hour.
The first holy hour will take place Nov. 27 at the archdiocese's mother church, the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit, and the final holy hour will take place at Ste. Anne de Detroit on Friday, Dec. 23.
The Advent holy hours are an extension of the I AM HERE campaign, launched in June as a partnership between the Archdiocese of Detroit and the Hallow app, as part of the U.S. bishops' three-year National Eucharistic Revival meant to inspire people to encounter Jesus in the Eucharist and experience his transformative power.
Leah Butalid, content coordinator and parish liaison for the archdiocese's communication department, has been working with parishes to partner in the holy hours. Butalid said a total of 30 parishes are participating, and there are at least three evenings where two parishes will simultaneously host holy hours.
Every parish has the ability to make its holy hour unique, Butalid explained.
“Our Lady of the Rosary (in Detroit) is doing a Detroit Rising event with their holy hour; they're going to have praise and worship and a brief talk,” Butalid told Detroit Catholic. “St. Juan Diego (in Detroit) is hosting their Advent holy hour on the feast of St. Juan Diego (Dec. 9). From parish to parish, there's going to be a bit of variety. They have a lot of freedom to make these holy hours unique to their community.
“Really, the goal is that anyone who pops into one of these holy hours would be able to encounter Jesus in a space that is welcoming and comfortable,” Butalid added.
Butalid said Advent is a fitting time to increase the availability of Eucharistic adoration.
“This is the time of year when we're preparing our hearts to receive Jesus in the incarnation that we celebrate at Christmas,” Butalid said. “It's a very fitting way for the faithful in the archdiocese to intentionally carve out some time to be before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and ask for his presence to affect them, to change their lives, to bring whatever burden they have to Jesus; to bring their joys to Jesus and allow him to be present to them in anticipation of what we celebrate at Christmas, his eternal presence with us.”
With 30 parishes hosting Advent holy hours all over the archdiocese, the goal is that anyone who wants to spend time in adoration can do so — even if a particular time or location doesn't work out, Butalid said.
“If there's a date that works well for you, but it doesn't happen to be at your parish, you have an opportunity to go and check out adoration at another parish and see what their community is like. We're surrounded here in Detroit by many different parishes and different communities,” Butalid said.
Lives are being changed by the Eucharist, Butalid said, and many of those stories are captured on the website of the I AM HERE campaign, where anyone from around the country can submit personal testimonies of encounters with Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
The campaign is being shared with dioceses around the country, Butalid added, in the hopes of spreading Eucharistic joy to all who need it.
“I really do believe that when people go and seek him out and spend time with him, he does work in our hearts. He changes our lives,” Butalid said. “Spending time with Jesus for an hour in the Blessed Sacrament isn't just sitting in front of a piece of bread or sitting in an empty church. We are actually getting to sit before the King of Kings. And when we do that, that affects us as individuals.
“That's where we actually see revival," Butalid continued. "When people are spending time to encounter him, their lives are being changed because of it.”
I AM HERE Advent holy hours
All I AM HERE Advent holy hours begin at 7 p.m. For more information, or to read personal testimonies of encounters with Christ in the Eucharist, visit iamhere.org.
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