When Father James Billinger finished talking to Bishop Michael O. Jackels last year about his reassignment to Holy Savior Parish in Wichita, Kansas, Fr. Billinger left the Bishop’s office, drove over to Holy Savior Church – and found the church locked. "I promised myself that at some point we would work it out where people could come and pray during the day," he said.
Father Billinger said he reaped great spiritual benefits from the adoration chapels at parishes where he was previously assigned. "And I wanted that for Holy Savior," he said.
So Father Billinger went back to Bishop Jackels for permission and floated the idea to parishioners.
Today the parish has 40-hour adoration, from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday in a location that needed little renovation.
The adoration chapel is housed in a bedroom used by the housekeeper when the house was constructed. Because it has its own entrance, it was perfect for the chapel.
"It didn’t need much renovation," the pastor said. "It just worked out beautifully, like it was designed for that someday."
Pews found through the diocesan Clergy News Notes were trimmed to fit the chapel and parishioners renovated the bedroom. "One very gifted carpenter made the tabernacle," Father Billinger said.
The parish has responded beautifully, Father added.
"Everything flows from the Eucharist, our faith, our moral life, our life of service – everything flows from the Eucharist, Jesus in the Eucharist," he said, "and so that’s why we see it as a great benefit for the parish."
Anita Guidry, a Holy Savior parishioner for nearly 50 years, is coordinating the adoration chapel.
"When Father Billinger first mentioned it, I couldn’t believe we were going to have an adoration chapel," she said. "We’ve never had anything like that – it’s so lovely, so peaceful."
Guidry said the parish works hard to educate the children of Holy Savior Catholic Academy but that the chapel is something to help the adult parishioners further their Christian journey.
"I feel reverent in church but in the adoration chapel it’s you and Jesus, you’re kind of taking care of him," she said. "It’s such a powerful feeling."
She said anyone is welcome to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament at Holy Savior’s adoration chapel, including nearby college students.
Guidry said students at nearby Wichita State University have discovered the benefits of adoration.
It has benefited the parish, too. One student volunteered to be an adoration chapel "captain" during one day of the week, Guidry said, and then transferred his parish membership to Holy Savior.
Printed with permission from the Catholic Advance, newspaper for the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas.