Night of praise and adoration centers on Eucharistic Lord

CROWN POINT – On a spring evening, warm and inspired feelings washed over more than 200 faithful who gathered at an outdoor kick-off to the Diocese of Gary’s Summer of Eucharistic Revival.
Sacred music radiated into the city streets on May 31 as worshippers adored the Eucharistic Lord presented in a monstrance and listened to words of inspiration from Bishop Robert J. McClory. Hosted in the front yard of the St. Mary parish rectory, True Presence: Night of Praise, Worship and Adoration was an outward facing call to Catholics and others to deepen their faith.
“I’m looking forward to the community coming together to experience this evening of adoration, to kick off all of our Eucharistic Revival events for the summer,” said David Herr, assistant to the diocesan director of worship, who watched the St. John the Evangelist praise and worship group before going on stage to contribute his own vocals and keyboard stylings along with other members of Adam G. and Friends. “What could be better than showing our presence in the broader community?”
As the evening sun shone, the faithful began to arrive with family and friends. Some were dropped off by the local trolley service as the city hosted its annual corn roast festival at nearby Bulldog Park.
“Why are we here? We love Jesus – and that’s what joins us together today,” said Bishop McClory. “What are we doing? Nothing less than praising and adoring Jesus in our very midst in the Blessed Sacrament.”
The diocesan shepherd continued, “What is in the center of this monstrance – (a word) which means ‘to show forth’ – is a consecrated host. This fulfills one of the commands of Jesus – to offer bread and wine and to do this in memory of Him.”
The bishop referenced John 6, stating, “Indeed His flesh is true flesh and the bread of life is given to us in this most beautiful Blessed Sacrament.”
To illustrate the impact that the Eucharist has on people, Bishop McClory spoke of a time when he was pastor of a church that was on a main thoroughfare and had offered perpetual adoration for 34 years.
“For some people, they wouldn’t have understood the depths of what we are experiencing today … they just knew it was a place where you could pray 24/7. I do recall one man who came in and simply wanted a place for quiet prayer and the witness of those adoring the Lord aroused in him not just a deeper curiosity, but a deeper awareness that there was something more going on than just being in a quiet prayer room. It wasn’t something; someone was present.”
Over time, Bishop McClory said this man’s heart was softened and he was formally received into the Catholic Church.
Being outside of St. Mary church, which is undergoing a roof replacement and extensive structural repairs, the bishop made a comparison using the words of Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the U.S. in 2008.
“Stained glass windows flood the interior with mystic light … from the outside the windows are dark,” the bishop quoted. “But once one enters the church, they suddenly become alive, reflecting the light passing through them, and they reveal all their splendor.”
Bishop McClory repeated the words of the late pontiff in reference to entering the Church, “We see the Church for what it is: flooded with grace. It follows that we who live the life of grace within the Church’s communion are called to draw all people into this mystery of light.”

Bishop McClory encouraged those present to help overcome the general public’s lack of understanding of the faith and to invite people who otherwise have been away from the Church into that which Catholics should strive to strengthen.
“My invitation today is for all of us to enter more deeply and to allow your hearts and minds to be consumed into the love of Christ,” said Bishop McClory.
In coming weeks, the diocese will be a crossroads of visible activity related to the Eucharistic Pilgrimage, which enters the region on July 1. National pilgrims and local participants will join at several parish sites, before the perpetual pilgrims continue to the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend on July 5 and on to the National Eucharistic Congress set for July 17-21 in Indianapolis.
Following a Eucharistic procession around the St. Mary campus, guests remained for an ice cream social, complete with live music and games.
Rich and Nicole Bojda of Crown Point joined their teen son Joe Bojda for the evening, with Nicole calling it “fantastic and amazing. It was inspirational.”
Rich Bojda was happy to see the large group of participants, “It’s always an amazing experience to witness Jesus and to see so many people willing to come out on a Friday night to spend it with God,” he said.
For Joe, 16, the experience reminded him of conferences he has attended at Franciscan University of Steubenville (Ohio). “I think it’s really inspirational to see all the younger people, to see that there are that many others who have that deep faith and love for Jesus like I do.”
Cecily Dcruz of St. Mary in Crown Point, invited her friend Sandy Charlebois to enjoy fellowship and adore the Eucharist, knowing that the vibrant music would enhance the liturgical experience. “I think the music was wonderful. I think it’s good to worship with singing, too,” explained Dcruz.
Charlebois added, “I think it’s lovely.”
Herr, who along with other diocesan staff members helped to coordinate aspects of the outdoor adoration and praise event, said the planning and preparation were a labor of love. “If we just keep our minds on the fact that this is all done for the greater honor and glory of God and to bring everybody together to experience the Holy Spirit, it makes it all the more worth it,” he said.


Caption: Bishop Robert J. McClory (center) incenses the monstrance during the True Presence: Night of Praise, Worship and Adoration on May 31 outside St. Mary church in Crown Point. The Eucharistic liturgical event was the kick-off to a summer of Eucharistic Revival events locally, which are connected this year's national Catholic movement. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)