Sydney’s first perpetual Adoration chapel was opened at St Joachim’s in Lidcombe on 8 December, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary and the beginning of the Church’s global Year of Mercy.
Parish priest Fr Eduardo Orilla led a celebration befitting the occasion, placing the sacred Host in the monstrance at the end of Mass.
Fr Eduardo held the Blessed Sacrament aloft, followed by a Marian procession, as he made his way out of the church and back around to its main entrance where the monstrance was then placed on an altar in the recently-amended side chapel.
Perpetual adoration is the practice of the continuous exposition and adoration of the Eucharist, 24 hours a day.
A roster of volunteers will ensure there will always be someone keeping watch with Christ in sacramental form.
The parish’s perpetual adoration co-ordinator, Trevor Brewty, expressed his joy at the opening of the chapel and of the parish amassing 160 volunteers to spend time in adoration before the Lord.
“The opportunity to visit Our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament is an invaluable resource, not only to my family, but to our parish and the whole city of Sydney,” Mr Brewty said.
“Perpetual Eucharist Adoration gives each of us the opportunity to stay online and connected with our Divine Majesty [who] said, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’ (Mt 11:28).”
St Joachim’s benefited from a retreat given by Fr Doug Harris of the Perth-based Apostles of Perpetual Adoration in September who, with Fr Eduardo’s blessing, encouraged people to consider giving up one hour a week, receiving more than 200 expressions of interest.
There are nine perpetual adoration chapels in Australia: four in Perth, two in Brisbane, one in Victoria, and one in Coffs Harbour.
The practice has been championed by recent popes, with Pope John Paul II known to have spent long periods in silent adoration each day.
The Church teaches that exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is an important practice which “stimulates the faithful to an awareness of the marvellous presence of Christ and is an invitation to spiritual communion with Him” (Eucharisticum Mysterium, n. 60).
Eucharistic practices exploded in Europe from the late 11th century after the denial by Berengar of Tours that Christ was truly present in the Blessed Sacrament and the subsequent retraction demanded by Pope Gregory VII.
With Michael Soh.