Holy Cross Parish in Winnipeg marks 10 years of perpetual adoration
|Holy Cross perpetual adoration chapel|
In 2008, members of the Holy Cross Roman Catholic Parish in the Archdiocese of St. Boniface had an idea for something new: 24/7 perpetual Eucharistic adoration.
They thought they’d try it just for a month, during Advent, to see if they could do it. Ten years—or 3,650 days and 87,360 hours—later, they are still going strong.
“When the idea came up, lots of people wanted to do it,” says Dawn Kautz, who together with her husband, James, helps coordinate the adoration.
“We were amazed by how quickly the slots filled up.”
For Catholics, perpetual Eucharistic adoration is a tradition that goes back to the 16th century. During adoration, worshipers sit or kneel before an ornate display cabinet, called a monstrance. In the monstrance is a piece of consecrated bread they believe is the actual body of Christ.
While there are many adoration chapels across Canada that welcome worshipers at select times, including 26 in Manitoba, there are only about 30 in the country that do it 24/7—someone is there every hour of every day, all year round.
Currently, only one is located in the province, at Holy Cross, although a second is underway at St. Gianna Beretta Molla Roman Catholic parish.
For Dawn, taking time for adoration is a way to take a break from her busy life and spend time with Christ.
‘As a busy mom of seven kids, it was hard to find time for prayer and reflection with God if I didn’t set a time,” she says.
“There is value in making a commitment, an appointment to ensure it happens.”
Dawn and her family recently moved to St, Malo; before that, she took a regular evening slot at Holy Cross.
While there, she found “peace as I sat and rested in the Lord’s presence.”
John Scatliffe is a Ministry Coordinator at the Holy Cross parish. He takes a slot each Tuesday from 2 to 3 AM.
“Adoration a powerful thing for Catholics,” he says, adding that he finds the early morning hour very peaceful.
“I think I get more out of it at that time,” the retired anesthesiologist shares. “It’s so peaceful there with the Lord.”
For Christopher Robison, retired from the air force, “it’s a marvelous privilege to be part of adoration.”
Robinson takes a one-hour slot one evening a week at midnight. During his time in the chapel, he prays, reads a devotional or meditates. “Sometimes I just sit quietly and be with Jesus,” he says.
Access to both the Holy Cross chapel is guarded by security systems with access cards.
This is to protect the adorers, who can be there late at night, but also to guard the sacrament from being stolen—stories are told of how Satanists have tried to get consecrated sacraments for their rituals.
In addition to Holy Cross, since 2014 St. Gianna Beretta Molla Roman Catholic parish has also offered perpetual adoration.
Unlike at Holy Cross, however, it does not yet operate around the clock; the plan is to get enough volunteers to be able to do that.
For Father Darrin Gurr, the adoration chapel at St. Gianna Beretta Molla is “a prayer ministry for the parish,” along with a special experience for individuals.
“People can send prayer requests that people can pray for while they are doing the Eucharistic adoration.”
Adoration “is a great response to a contemporary need,” Gurr says.
“People are longing for more mindfulness in life, a way to put them in the now, to know what God has in store for them, a break from the chaos and busyness of the world.”
Holy Cross is looking forward to many more years of adoration. They recently updated the security system to accommodate more card holders, and are looking for additional volunteers.
“I still find that many Catholics don’t know it exists in Winnipeg,” says Scatliffe, noting that members of any parish are welcome to participate.
At midnight one November evening, I participated with a friend at the Holy Cross chapel.
As a Protestant, I have to admit I didn’t feel any special spiritual connection through the sacrament—unlike my Catholic friend, who believed he was in the actual presence of Christ.
But I did feel a sense of peace in that quiet and sacred space. And no matter what your belief, that is never a bad thing.