.- To see the image of God in Boston, a passerby need only look up
Two billboards featuring the Eucharist displayed in a monstrance tower over the streets in Brighton and East Boston. The words under the image read, âThe Sonâs rays for your soul.â
These advertisements are meant to get the word out about the return of perpetual adoration to Boston after a 40-year absence. St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine on Boylston Street will mark the start of adoration with a Mass celebrated by Cardinal SeÃ¡n P. OâMalley on Aug. 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption.
From then on, the Eucharist will be exposed in a monstrance all day, every day, apart from regularly scheduled Mass times. Currently, the shrine offers adoration six hours or more daily.
Tim Van Damm, coordinator of the effort, said the grace at the already vibrant St. Clement community will be multiplied.
âAnytime the Lord is present 24-hours a day, seven days a week, people are changed,â he said. âThis is a way to build spiritually and bring people together in prayer.â
Van Damm said that St. Clement, a community he has been active in since 2000, was a natural choice for perpetual adoration because it is a eucharistic shrine.
Cardinal Richard Cushing made St. Clement into a eucharistic shrine, staffed by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, in 1945. The sisters maintained perpetual adoration from 1945 to the late 1960s. The Oblates of the Virgin Mary began staffing the shrine in 1976.
The effort to bring perpetual adoration back to Boston is a direct response to the call of Pope Benedict XVI to have spaces dedicated to prayers for vocations and the sanctity of priests during the Year for Priests which began in June and runs to June 2010. St. Clementâs will be the designated site in the Central Region of the archdiocese.
Van Damm said the inspiration for his involvement came from his own need to adore the Lord in the Eucharist. Van Damm said adoration has âre-ignitedâ his faith and given him much peace.
Marie Baranko, another member of the St. Clementâs community, agreed. Before she came to the shrine, Baranko said she did not believe in Christâs presence in the Eucharist. Raised Catholic, she had never before seen adoration. After being invited to the shrine by a roommate, she attended adoration and recognized Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
âWhen you seek the truth, God honors that,â she said. âHe reveals Himself to you.â
Her experience has also resulted in the discernment of her vocation. She will be entering the Sisters of Life order in September. She will be praying for the success of perpetual adoration at St. Clementâs from New York, she said.
âThe shrine has played a major role in my vocation,â she said. âItâs centered around the Eucharist.â
She hopes that perpetual adoration at St. Clementâs will help others to âfall more in love with the Lord.â
Director of the shrine, Father Peter Grover, OMV said perpetual adoration has a âpowerful effectâ wherever it is instituted.
âAny church that emphasizes prayer is going to affect the Church of Boston as well as the community,â he said. âIt will be a big grace in the city.â
In order to invite everyone to adoration at St. Clementâs, in addition to the billboards organizers are sending e-mails and posting signs in neighboring parishes. Van Damm has been a guest on two national radio shows and will be featured on CatholicTVâs âThis is the Dayâ on Aug. 4 at 10:30 a.m. Organizers also hope to be able to buy advertising space on the MBTAâs Green Line subway trains.
Van Damm said the costly advertisements are âa leap of faith.â
For more information, to download a sign-up sheet or to donate to the effort, visit the Web site at www.adorationboston.org.
Printed with permission from The Boston Pilot.