On Sunday, cathedrals and dioceses all over the world will join simultaneously with the Holy Father in Rome for the Worldwide Eucharistic Adoration. Dioceses across the globe will be synchronized with the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament led by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square at 5pm local time, a first in the history of the Catholic Church.
During a press conference detailing the event, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, noted the overall response from the Catholic Church around the world. “There has been an incredible response to this initiative, going beyond the cathedrals and involving episcopal conferences, parishes, lay associations, and religious congregations, especially cloistered ones,” he said.
The Archdiocese of Boston in Massachusetts, under the leadership of Cardinal Sean O’Malley, have been preparing for this historical event, mobilizing parishes in Boston to join the Holy Father in adoring the Blessed Sacrament. ZENIT had a chance to discuss with Cardinal O’Malley on the importance of this upcoming Year of Faith event for all Catholics.
ZENIT: Will the Archdiocese of Boston be participating in this year’s Worldwide Eucharistic Adoration? How has the Archdiocese prepared the faithful for this event?
Cardinal O’Malley: The Archdiocese of Boston will be participating in this year’s Worldwide Eucharistic Adoration in a number of different ways. At the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, I have invited families from throughout the Archdiocese to join me for the 11:30 morning Mass on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. In a particular way, married couples who are celebrating their 25th and 50th wedding anniversaries will be present for the Mass, and will renew their vows to one another within the context of the Mass. At the conclusion of the Mass and following communion, we will all pray together before the Eucharistic Lord on the Altar and will unite our prayers to those of Pope Francis and of Catholics throughout the world in thanksgiving for the gift of the most Blessed Sacrament.
In addition to the celebration of the Eucharist at the Cathedral on the morning of the Solemnity, we have invited the faithful to participate in Holy Hours throughout the Archdiocese, in particular at the Eucharistic Shrine in the center of the city, St. Clement’s Shrine. There Bishop Arthur Kennedy, an Auxiliary Bishop of Boston and Episcopal Vicar for the New Evangelization, will lead the faithful in a holy hour in union with the Holy Father and for his intentions.
ZENIT: This is the first time in the history of the Church that the cathedrals and dioceses of the world will be united with Rome during the Eucharistic adoration. Why is this event so important for Catholics today?
Cardinal O’Malley: It’s important for Catholics today to know that they belong to a universal Church, that the Church exists on all the continents of the earth. We come in all shapes and sizes, speaking different languages and experiencing differences in culture, but despite all our diversity we are one in our faith and in our hope in Jesus Christ, who is the salvation of the world. The Eucharist is the real presence of Christ, the Lamb of God, who remains in our midst to nourish us and strengthen us in our faith. In an age where we are so connected to one another through technology and social media, it’s also very important to remember that prayer and especially the Eucharist is real bond of connection not only to the Lord, but also to one another. It helps us to see each other as brothers and sisters.
ZENIT: There are many Catholics who have gone astray and also many who doubt the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Do you believe that this Year of Faith event can help bring them back and rediscover their faith?
Cardinal O’Malley: The events organized in conjunction with the Year of Faith should all be oriented toward our own personal rediscovery of the person of Christ in our lives, and an invitation to deeper conversion and faith in Him. For those whose faith is weak and lukewarm, the practice of Eucharistic Adoration helps to rekindle a Eucharistic amazement and deep appreciation for the Lord’s gift to us in the Blessed Sacrament. He is always here for us, waiting for us, waiting to give us courage and to strengthen our faith.
ZENIT: Your Eminence, how has Eucharistic Adoration helped you in your life?
Cardinal O’Malley: I have found tremendous strength and help through a daily holy hour. At the end of the day when the work is done, I go to the chapel in my residence and I spend time with the Lord in Adoration. There are times when I am preoccupied with the issues of governing a large Archdiocese, and sometimes it’s not easy to keep my eyes open due to the long work day! But in the end, I know the Lord is there with me, He does not abandon me. He wants to help me with my decisions and give me strength to follow through and to be faithful to Him and to the needs of the Church. In the end, I would say the most important thing about my time in Eucharistic Adoration is that I am spending time with the Lord, and He with me. Like any good friendship or relationship, you need to spend time with one another, getting to know one another. This is the purpose of Eucharistic Adoration – to spend time with God and to get to know Him as a real friend.
ZENIT: We have many readers around the world who will be following this major event. What word of encouragement can you give them in participating and inviting others to this Worldwide Eucharistic Adoration.
Cardinal O’Malley: I would only say this: don’t be afraid to invite others to join you. What’s the worse they can say? No? If we follow the example of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and do what he’s been asking us to do, we won’t be afraid to go the outskirts and to welcome people to the open doors of the Church, where the heart of God is waiting for us in the Tabernacle and on our Altars in the Eucharist.