The Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln, Nebraska will mark 50 years of perpetual Eucharistic Adoration with a celebratory Mass on Sunday evening.
More than 436,000 consecutive hours of prayerful Eucharistic Adoration have been logged dating back to October 1, 1959, Southern Nebraska Register reports.
After Sunday’s 6 p.m. Mass at the cathedral, a special 40 Hours devotion will begin with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The following day, Msgr. Adrian Herbek will be the homilist for Benediction at 7 p.m. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz will celebrate the closing Mass Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 5:30 p.m.
Mrs. Cassie Chandler, one of the adoration team captains, explained the inspiration behind perpetual adoration by quoting the Gospel of Mark: "Will you not watch one hour with me?" As Mrs. Chandler told the Southern Nebraska Register, "These words of Jesus on the night before His crucifixion embody the spirit of perpetual adoration."
"The unbroken chain of devotion is recorded in a collection of register books, which show hour by hour, the names of those who have watched and prayed with Jesus at their appointed hour," Mrs. Chandler said.
The idea for the devotion took hold in the Fall of 1959 because of the advocacy of a local priest. The cathedral’s predecessor, Holy Family Church, put the idea into practice.
Because the church was small, schedulers relied on non-Catholic spouses and and priests from other parishes to maintain a constant presence before the tabernacle. Men and couples were encouraged to take the nighttime hours, while women took daytime hours.
In 1965 the church was replaced by Cathedral of the Risen Christ, which was built on the same grounds.
One scheduler, the late Katherine Easley, would welcome new priests to the parish by asking them which late night hour they would take, recalled Msgr. Robert Tucker, the pastor of the Cathedral.
He told the Lincoln Star of another scheduler, the late Barb Miller, who was always concerned about finding volunteers for the overnight hours.
Whenever an hour became unfilled, she would pray to the Blessed Virgin: “Mary, you don't want your son to be alone tonight. Help me find somebody.”
“Then she would call and someone would say yes. She never worried about finding people, she always prayed about it,” the monsignor said.
When she was asked about finding adorers for the night hours, Mrs. Chandler explained,"There is a mystical aspect in perpetual adoration which is not present in partial adoration. In parishes that have abandoned the overnight hours, adoration had degenerated. Adorers sign up for daytime hours, but many never keep their hours."
While it might seem difficult – or even unfulfilling – to devote a weekly hour before the Blessed Sacrament, the Cathedral perpetual adoration team would be the first to say that a person receives far more than he or she gives during that one hour.
"The benefits to each person are immeasurable and the graces showered on our parish are the greatest gift of this program," Mrs. Chandler said.
A dinner for perpetual adorers and substitutes, past and present, will follow the close of 40 Hours. Among the honored guests will be adorers who have been part of the program since its inception: Lou Keady, Dolores Young, and Raymond and Mary Zink.