New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan has the answer.
“What makes this place tick?” I quizzed the exuberant pastor as he showed me around the parish, renowned for its high rate of Sunday Mass attendance; first-rate school; excellent religious education for kids, teenagers, young adults, and adults; remarkably effective stewardship; and successful initiatives of social justice, pro-life efforts, evangelization, and neighborhood presence.
I wanted the “recipe” so I could bottle it and send it around!
“Follow me, I’ll show you,” Father replied.
Through the school, filled with kids; on to the religious ed office, where catechists were planning the evening session; into the kitchen where people were cooking casseroles for the inner city soup kitchen; then to the senior citizen center where the lunch crowd was breaking-up; through the offices where volunteers were counting the Sunday collection . . . we didn’t stop . . . the pastor kept going . . . until we reached the chapel of the former convent, where, oh, perhaps six to eight people, of diverse ages, were in quiet adoration before Jesus, really and truly present in the Holy Eucharist, there in the monstrance on the altar.
“We’ve had perpetual Eucharistic adoration now for four years,” the pastor whispered. “We started slowly, about seven years ago, first with a day-a-week, then seven days, twelve-hour-a-day, until we had a well-oiled system in place. For the last four years, it’s been 24/7, with at least two people assigned every hour, all volunteers, and with many, many more during the waking hours. Our prayer hotline is legendary. I’m convinced this Eucharistic adoration is the key to the vitality, growth, and effectiveness of our parish.”