In the Presence of Christ

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I always remember my mom making us go very early to church when I was growing up. My brothers and I thought it was the worst! However, even in our protests and dragging of our feet, my mom always made sure we were there to prepare ourselves for the greatest gift we would receive for that week: the Eucharist. While it did not make sense to us as children, it makes great sense to me now. In those early Sunday mornings, she was teaching the value of prayer, and the importance of time before the Lord in the Tabernacle. 

In a world full of noise and distractions, it can be hard to find the peace and time we need to focus on God. Not only do these distractions wait for us at our homes, but now through computers, tablets and smart phones, they have followed us everywhere we go. Is there a solution to this?

As Catholics, we have the great treasure of Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Here we come before Christ, fully present in His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, and get the opportunity to pray in His True Presence. As we kneel before the monstrance containing our Lord, we have the silence and Presence of Christ we need in our lives.

Before the Eucharistic Congress in Genoa, Italy, in 2016, Pope Francis spoke about the gift of the Eucharist in our lives as Catholics. He wrote, “Moreover, I want to encourage everyone to visit — if possible, every day — especially amid life’s difficulties, the Blessed Sacrament of the infinite love of Christ and his mercy, preserved in our churches, and often abandoned, to speak filially with Him, to listen to Him in silence, and to peacefully entrust yourself to Him.”

Beginning on Nov. 7, we will be starting up again our First Thursday Holy Hours for Vocations at Christ the Good Shepherd Parish in Vineland. At different churches throughout the diocese, we will offer an hour in front of our Lord for the increase of vocations. This is a time to pray not only for our own vocations, but also to pray for more men and women to consider their call from God to serve His Church as priests, and religious brothers and sisters. 

Coming before the Lord is something we are blessed to do each time we walk into our churches. Knowing that Jesus is waiting for us, we can have that time to pray in silence and to listen to how the Lord may be speaking to us. I invite you to join us on these First Thursdays, to gather in His Prsence and to ask for His help. If you are not able to join us, I invite you to take some time before the Blessed Sacrament at your home parish. Use that time of silence and prayer to talk to God and to ask Him to help all those men and women considering a vocation to have that courage and strength they need to say “Yes!” to God’s will.

First Thursday Holy Hours will begin on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. in Christ the Good Shepherd Parish, Vineland. Our following Holy Hour for Vocations will be on Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. in the Church of the Incarnation, Mantua.

Father Adam Cichoski is director of vocations for the Diocese of Camden and parochial vicar at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Lindenwold.