TAYLORS — The parishioners of Prince of Peace Church ended a Forty Hours devotion on Dec. 14 and began a new ministry at the same time. The Upstate parish became the fifth in the Diocese of Charleston to offer perpetual adoration.
“Perpetual adoration is a great thing,” said Deacon Gary Walczak. “It shows the devotion the parish and the community have to the Lord and to the Eucharist.”
Deacon Walczak called the response to the concept of adoring the exposed Eucharist every hour of every day a tremendous success, saying that more than 400 people signed up for at least one hour each week.
The person responsible for recruiting volunteer adorers is the head coordinator of the Prince of Peace adorers association, the Guild of St. Thomas Aquinas. Nancy H. Mohlman and her committee worked for a year to organize the new ministry. It was a monumental task, Mohlman said, but reception to the effort made the work easier.
“It’s been such a blessing for me and for the entire parish,” she said. “People actually thanked us for calling them. They were thrilled to be a part of it.”
Father Louis Guardiola, mission coordinator for the Forty Hours devotion, pre-dicted an explosion of faith from perpetual adoration, and Mohlman said the explosion had already started. Some of it was the devotion itself.
More than 200 people participated in the three-day mission, which culminated with a solemn benediction and procession that led to the new Blessed Sacrament Chapel where the adoration will take place.
Father Steven L. Brovey, pastor of Prince of Peace and vicar forane of the Piedmont Deanery, carried a spectacular monstrance with the body of Christ under a silken canopy held aloft by four fourth-degree Knights of Columbus in full dress uniforms.
Two altar servers alternated walking backward and venerating the host with incense. The congregation, led by music director Alan Reed, sang “Tantum Ergo Sacramentum.”
Father Guardiola preached at the end of vespers. It was the 15th mission the Father of Mercy has directed in the past 15 months, and he was impressed.
“This was a movement of the Holy Spirit,” he said. “It was one of the very best Forty Hours I’ve ever preached.”
During his talk, Father Guardiola told the parishioners of Prince of Peace that they would see many benefits from their devotion to the Holy Eucharist.
He said, “You will reap a tremendous bounty of conversions and reconversions. If every Catholic spent one hour in the Eucharistic presence of the Lord, in his real presence, all the ills of the world would be healed.”
Father Chris Smith of St. Mary Church said that the benefits should spread beyond the boundaries of Prince of Peace.
“This adoration will call down graces on all Catholics in the Upstate as well,” Father Smith said.
One adorer, Bob Smith (no relation), realized that his contract to pray in the presence of the Eucharist in the new chapel from 11 p.m. to midnight every Tuesday was not something that could be made lightly.
“It’s a lifetime commitment, but to spend an hour each week with Jesus is awesome,” Smith said.
Father Brovey said that the parish perpetual adoration ministry came into being with the final impetus from one of Pope John Paul II’s initiatives.
“This is really the flowering of the fruit of the Year of the Eucharist,” he said. “It’s an historic week for us.”