Under the patronage of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Pope St. John Paul II once said: “During a Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration we contribute to the radical transformation of the world”.
For this reason, and in response to Pope Francis’ call to the faithful to offer special prayers over the course of this year for the crucial Synod on the Family in October 2015, a worldwide novena of Eucharistic Adoration is being launched to bring the Church, the Pope, the Synod Fathers, and all families to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
The Eucharistic Adoration Society for the Synod on the Family 2015, a lay initiative which began last year in Rome, is inviting clergy, religious and faithful worldwide to take part.
Co-founded by Christine McCarthy, wife and mother of 6 and author of a book of prayers and meditations for Eucharistic Adoration, entitled ‘I Am With You Always’, together with myself, the Eucharistic Adoration Society is seeking to devote the first Thursday of each month, for nine consecutive months, to worldwide Eucharistic Adoration, beginning on February 5th and ending on October 1st, the Feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, three days before the opening of the Synod.
McCarthy said she was inspired to launch the initiative after the 2014 Synod on the Family in Rome. “There was much discussion amongst the hierarchy, curial officials, young priests, seminarians, religious students and laity, not only in Rome but in many parts of the world,” she said. “I believe it is fair to say that many were and remain confused as to the direction in which the Church is going over the issue of marriage and the Holy Eucharist.”
She continued: “Whilst Pope Francis has welcomed discussion, he has also asked for prayer for the Synod on the Family, which is to take place nine months from now. The worldwide novena of Eucharistic Adoration was born out of the Holy Father’s request for prayers for the Church and the Synod Fathers.”
The complete list of dates of the Eucharistic Adoration novena are as follows:
• Thursday, February 5 (St. Agatha)
• Thursday, March 5 (II Thursday of Lent)
• Thursday, April 2 (Holy Thursday)*
• Thursday, May 7 (V Thursday of Easter)
• Thursday, June 4 (Corpus Christi)
• Thursday, July 2 (XIII Thursday in Ordinary Time)
• Thursday, August 6 (Transfiguration)
• Thursday, September 3 (Pope St. Gregory the Great)
• Thursday, October 1 (St. Thérèse of Lisieux)
* Note that as this date falls on Holy Thursday, the faithful are asked simply to follow the normal liturgical rites of the Church for that day, which include adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at the altar of repose following the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
Faithful in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, and Europe have already committed themselves to the initiative. And in an effort to spread the novena across the globe, the Eucharistic Adoration Society is inviting clergy, religious, parishes, families and all lay Catholics to organize a day of Eucharistic adoration on the dates above, according to their own possibilities and circumstances.
For example, a religious community of cloistered nuns might dedicate their daily Holy Hour to the intention; a parish priest might organize a special day or evening of Eucharistic adoration (and possibly Confession) for his parishioners and neighboring parishes; a family might make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament together to pray the Rosary and spend time quietly with the Lord, a layman or laywoman might commit to offering an hour of Eucharistic Adoration at their local Adoration Chapel or Church, for the Pope, the Synod Fathers, and the Church.
Clergy and faithful alike are also invited to visit a dedicated
website and to like the novena’s Facebook page. Regular updates on the initiative, themes for each month, and pertinent quotes on Eucharistic Adoration and marriage and family life from the Church’s Magisterium will be posted on Facebook. Faithful interested in taking part in the initiative may post the details of their participation — including name (optional), city and country, and commitment you are making to the novena — on the Facebook page or the Twitter hashtag #adore4synod.
All of the faithful are also invited to spread the novena across the globe via social media.
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier OFM, Archbishop of Durban, South Africa and one of the four Council Presidents of the Synod, has endorsed the novena, describing the initiative as “one of the best preparations the Church could make for the second session of the Synod on the Family.”
“The Church is a merciful mother,” said McCarthy who comes from Sydney, Australia. “She is also faithful to her own teaching, that of Christ her spouse. ‘Mercy and faithfulness have met,’ as we read in the Psalms. With this Novena of Adoration for the upcoming Synod on the Family, our hopes and prayers are that mercy and faithfulness embrace: that the Church continues to preserve the great reverence due to the Holy Eucharist as well as the indissolubility of marriage between one woman and one man, whilst at the same time respecting all men and women, irrespective of their situations, respecting their dignity as children of God and continuing, as always, to pardon and sanctify those who wish to grow in grace.”
Some groups or individuals may be concerned that they’ll miss the first day of the novena on February 5th, but there’s no cause for concern. In fact, it is hoped that the number of priests, religious, laity and even children who respond to the novena will continue to grow as the Synod approaches.
The important thing is to pray and participate. You are therefore encouraged to put social media at the service of the Lord, and to unite in worldwide Eucharistic Adoration for the Synod on the Family. As the saints teach us, Eucharistic Adoration is one of the most powerful forms of prayer, for in the Holy Eucharist we find the very fount and wellspring of grace, the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Our Patroness, St. Thérèse of Lisieux
St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Doctor of the Church, is our patroness of the Eucharistic Adoration novena for the 2015 Synod. We have chosen St. Thérèse for several reasons.
First, because as providence would have it, the final day of the novena falls on October 1st, which is her feast day in the new calendar.
Secondly, St. Thérèse shows us how one soul adoring the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament can change the world. Although as a Carmelite she never left her convent in France, still the Church has named her co-patroness of missions (together with the great Jesuit missionary, St. Francis Xavier) in order to keep before us the truth that all of the Church’s missionary fruitfulness is accomplished by grace obtained through prayer.
Thirdly, St. Therese’s mother and father were both recently beatified — on October 19th, 2008 — and are a shining example of marriage and family life. They show us that marriage and family life lived according to God’s plan is a vocation and call to holiness, and a source of joy.
And finally, Pope Francis seems to be very fond of St. Thérèse, and quotes her quite frequently. In fact, most recently, in his beautiful 2015 Message for Lent, he cited one of her letters, written shortly before her death, in which she makes bold to declare: “I trust fully that I shall not remain idle in heaven; my desire is to continue to work for the Church and for souls” (Letter 254, July 14, 1897). In the same message Pope Francis also said that “in order to receive what God gives us and to make it bear abundant fruit, we need to press beyond the boundaries of the visible Church … by uniting ourselves in prayer with the Church in heaven.” We are therefore inviting St. Thérése to work and to intercede for the Church, the Pope and the Synod Fathers, confident in her powerful and unfailing help!
We invoke the powerful intercession of the Most Holy Virgin, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church. As Pope Francis said of the synod at his weekly general audience on Dec. 10: “Let us entrust it to the protection of the Virgin, our Mother: that she may help us to follow the will of God, taking pastoral decisions which may help the family more and better. I ask you to accompany this synodal path with prayer until the next Synod. May the Lord illuminate us, enable us to move toward the maturity of what we, as a Synod, must say to all the Churches. Your prayer is very important for this.”
To share this article and post your commitment, visit:
Follow on Twitter: @adore4synod2015
Diane Montagna is Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.