DECIDING the future of the Catholic Church in Australia will only be possible if the devotion to perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament increases, Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge said.
Archbishop Coleridge made his comments during a visit to adorers who have prayed almost non-stop for eight years before the Blessed Sacrament inside the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration Chapel at Villa Maria in Spring Hill.
Both lay and religious co-adorers have joined in unending adoration before the Eucharist with their host Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, who started the devotion in Brisbane 137 years ago.
Brisbane couples Kieran and Kate Hobbs and Roy and Fiona Pires have taken responsibility of the roster since the ministry was opened to the public in 2009.
The most important task is ensuring there are always two adorers before the Blessed Sacrament at any time.
A full chapel of adorers gathered at Villa Maria on Ascension Sunday to pray before the Blessed Sacrament with Archbishop Coleridge and the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.
Mrs Hobbs said it was the first time the adorers gathered without their founding chaplain, Jesuit Father Gregory Jordan, who was faithful to a Holy Hour every Tuesday at 11pm.
During an address before Benediction, Archbishop Coleridge said the witness of Catholics, including the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, who have sat before the Lord almost non-stop for nearly 137 was a precious gift to Brisbane.
“All of you have been part of this phenomenon that came up from nowhere, of the co-adorers, because you recognise how precious this witness is, and how impoverished, pathetically impoverished, Brisbane would be if this witness were ever to die,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
With the Church facing “challenging and complex times” where decision about the future need to be made the Archbishop said “in a new and deeper way we have to keep our eye and ear on the only one who does know the way into the future”.
Archbishop Coleridge said this meant the Church needed to “become a more deeply contemplative Church”, a task already undertaken by the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration since their move to Spring Hill in 1881.
“But what was done by God at that time was that in the heart of the city there was set this hearth of contemplation, in other words a celebration of the presence of the risen Christ in a world where he seems and seemed so often absent,” he said.
Archbishop Coleridge recalled the famous story of Elijah who, while taking shelter in a cave on Mount Horeb, was told to listen for the voice of God.
Great threats passed by the cave – a great earthquake, a great fire and a great wind and storm – and “then there came, the Hebrew says, the voice of a thin silence”.
“There is a silence but the silence of God is far more eloquent and powerful than all the words of human beings,” he said.
This silence, the Archbishop said, was at the heart of Eucharistic adoration.
“You might seem to waste time and a lot of people out there in the city would say you’re wasting your time, but this is no waste of time,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
“It’s looking at Jesus and listening to him in a way that opens our eye and our ear to see and hear the one who is simply everywhere.
“Thank you for the witness that you give to the Archdiocese of witness, absolutely essential in this time of uncertainty and challenge.
“This we must hold on to; this is in a sense our anchor in the midst of turbulent seas.”
Mrs Hobbs said more daytime adorers during business hours were required.
For information about becoming an adorer email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Chapel during public hours via the main doors on 23 Warren Street, Fortitude Valley.