Each night of Advent, a different parish throughout the archdiocese is scheduled to host an I AM HERE holy hour at 7 p.m.
DETROIT — Throughout Advent 2022, the faithful in the Archdiocese of Detroit can rely on something constant: that on every night of the Advent season, a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament will begin at 7 p.m.
The holy hours, hosted at a different parish each night, 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.
At Old St. Mary's Parish in downtown Detroit's Greektown, Deacon Mike Van Dyke led a holy hour following Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8. Many of the faithful who attended the holy hour were coming from work, tired and ready to close out the day, Deacon Van Dyke said.
“After a full day of work, I was thinking about how tired I’d be this evening, but then I think about our Blessed Mother and the time she spent at the foot of the cross, and my tiredness sort of goes away,” Deacon Van Dyke said in his reflection.
When people look at the monstrance, some might just see a piece of bread, the deacon said. It's only with the eyes of faith that the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ are revealed to the faithful, he added.
Reflecting on his own encounters with Christ through Eucharistic adoration, Deacon Van Dyke shared a story about being asked to lead adoration during his final year before ordination to the diaconate at his parish, St. Fabian in Farmington Hills.
Afraid of messing things up for those present for adoration, Deacon Van Dyke was shaking and nervous. That evening, when he returned home, the deacon withdrew to his prayer room and reflected on the events of the evening.
“When I got to the part when I had gone to the tabernacle to get the luna that had the body of Christ (in it), I had a vision, and I don’t have visions,” Deacon Van Dyke said. “It wasn’t my imagination, but the vision was our Blessed Mother handing me the infant Jesus.“
Deacon Van Dyke said his eyes opened in surprise — he doesn’t consider himself to have the imagination to associate the retrievement of the Eucharist with our Blessed Mother offering him Jesus.
“As I got to the part where we finish adoration and I was returning the Eucharist to the tabernacle, (I had) another vision,” Deacon Van Dyke continued. “It was me handing the body of Christ back to his Blessed Mother. I may never have a vision again, but it doesn’t matter. Those two are forever in my heart, and forever will I have no doubt that this is Jesus, this is our Lord and Savior, the word of God incarnate.”
As the faithful at Old St. Mary's sat before the Blessed Sacrament in silent adoration, Deacon Van Dyke encouraged those present to open their hearts to Christ.
“Be open to what Christ can say to you in your heart,” Deacon Van Dyke said. “Bring to him your concerns, your needs, or just be silent and let his presence be part of your evening here tonight and as you get ready to continue your Advent in preparation to celebrate his birth.”
Shelly Propson Tyshka drove in from the suburbs to spend an evening in adoration at Old St. Mary’s, the parish where her mother was baptized and her grandparents were married.
Tyshka told Detroit Catholic she had already gone to another holy hour at Divine Child in Dearborn and felt compelled to attend another.
“Adoration is one of those things that has always meant a lot to me,” Tyshka said. “Those times when Jesus has touched me have been during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.”
The ability to spend a quiet moment with Jesus while also in communion with other members of the faithful is something that is unique and special about the Catholic Church, Tyshka added.
“You are never going to regret taking that hour to spend with Jesus,” Tyshka said. “Spending that time with Jesus is the most important time you are going to spend.”
The Advent holy hours have also been an opportunity to experience churches outside of her parish, St. John Fisher Chapel in Auburn Hills, Tyshka added.
For Tom Carson, a parishioner at Old St. Mary’s for 40 years, the environment and beauty of the church make it the perfect place to encounter Christ in Eucharistic adoration.
“An experience in this church is really something,” Carson said of the cavernous, basilica-like church. “The beauty of architecture does bring people closer to God; it always has. Some people say it leads to conversion. People come and are attracted to the beauty, and that opens them up to the beauty of God.”
Carson encourages everyone to give Eucharistic adoration a chance, especially during Advent, when it is more often readily available.
“It has a quiet, silent effect — St. John Vianney used to have a parishioner who would just sit before the Blessed Sacrament a couple of hours a day,” Carson said. “ St. John Vianney asked him one time, ‘What do you do?’ and (the man) said, ‘I look at him, and he looks back at me.’
“There is a strength and a peace, and on days that I am not able to spend some time in Eucharistic adoration, I feel it — there is a loss. It is kind of an intangible thing, but it is there.”
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. The remaining holy hours are below.
Tuesday, Dec. 13
Wednesday, Dec. 14
Thursday, Dec. 15
Friday, Dec. 16
Saturday, Dec. 17
Sunday, Dec. 18
Monday, Dec. 19
Tuesday, Dec. 20
Wednesday, Dec. 21
Thursday, Dec. 22
Friday, Dec. 23
Prayer and spirituality