Venice | The first Friday of September was a spiritually emotional day for Bonnie Coyle, as it was the first time since March that she participated in Eucharistic Adoration.
Coyle has been a devotee of adoration for many years, finding great comfort in spending quiet time with the Lord in addition to attending Mass. The COVID-19 Pandemic physically separated her, and many others, from the Lord for an extended period and this distressed her greatly.
“I love coming to Mass, but adoration has always been special for me,” Coyle explained. “I just never realized how special it was and how much I would miss it when it wasn’t available. I was worried about coming back for health reasons, so I stayed away even longer. But I am back, and I feel a great relief to again be able to quietly pray before the Lord.”
Coyle was not alone, as many stayed for adoration Sept. 4, 2020, following the Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice.
While public Mass resumed in the Diocese of Venice in late May, adoration followed more slowly as Parishes figured out the best way to do so while still ensuring health and safety protocols were being followed.
Instead of taking place in the Parish Chapel, the Mass and adoration at Our Lady of Lourdes took place in the main church, thus allowing the 100 or so present plenty of space to participate in both without concern.
At Parishes throughout the Diocese, the offering of Eucharistic Adoration has required some changes. Most parishes have designated days and times for adoration with many including first Fridays. When possible, Parishes with small adoration chapels have created a reservation system for adorers.
The occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel at St. Michael Parish in Wauchula during the ongoing Pandemic led to a celebration Aug. 29, 2020.
Parish Administrator Father Oscar Mendoza Moya led a procession of vehicles, while riding in the bed of a pickup truck with the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance. The procession went from the Parish to Holy Child Mission in Bowling Green, then on to San Alfonso Mission in Zolfo Springs, before returning to the Parish. At each location, Father Moya offered a special blessing. The celebration concluded with a Mass of Thanksgiving in the main church.
Lucinda Perez described the entire evening as amazing. “What a beautiful way to honor Jesus Christ and celebrate the adoration chapel and for the Parish and Missions to come together.
Bishop Frank J. Dewane encouraged the expansion and availability of adoration in an Aug. 5, 2020 letter to the priests of the Diocese. “This will be of great help and consolation to the Faithful during these turbulent times, when the People of God long to be close to the Lord,” Bishop Dewane wrote.
Pope Francis is a strong proponent of participating in Eucharistic Adoration, describing it as a way of putting the Lord at the center of one’s life. The Holy Father includes adoration in many public celebrations. Most notably, March 27, 2020 Pope Francis presided over the Eucharistic Adoration before he imparted the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing from outside St. Peter’s Basilica, before the empty square where he usually has the general audience.