Adorers committed to praising Jesus

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament has been going on non-stop for nearly 10 years at Corpus Christi Chapel on Edmonton's west side.

WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament has been going on non-stop for nearly 10 years at Corpus Christi Chapel on Edmonton's west side.

February 9, 2015
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

For the past decade, Lorraine Kasper has been spending an hour or more each week adoring the Blessed Sacrament at Corpus Christi Chapel adjacent to St. Andrew's Centre on Edmonton's west side.

Even when she moved to Onoway for a time, Kasper kept coming. "This is priority for me. I feel that I must do it," she says matter-of-factly. "I have to come because it's just part of me. It's like air."

If for some reason she is unable to make it, she immediately notices changes in the people in her life. "It's evident that things don't move smoothly, temptations start coming into situations and family. So there is no option."

Praying to the Blessed Sacrament brings her peace and stability. "I can get easily distracted and start just doing things around me, running here and there and everywhere, but the Lord keeps me focused on the goal; and my goal is to be with the Lord in the end."

Kasper, a mother of three who lives in the Westmount area, usually prays for an hour a week. Sometimes, however, she has to stay for two or three hours if someone fails to show up.

As one of the chapel's vice-coordinators, Kasper has to ensure someone is in the chapel during her six-hour time slot. If someone doesn't show up, she has to find a replacement or do it herself.

As soon as she enters the chapel, Kasper tries to quiet down and put herself in the presence of the Lord. Then she says a set of prayers and, if she has extra time, she sits quietly in the presence of the Lord, listening.

Loraine Kasper

Loraine Kasper

"I'm not great at listening so I speak and then I think I listen but I don't know," she laughs. "Sometimes I get the answers later during my work."

Corpus Christi Chapel, 12720-111 Ave., will soon mark 10 years of success, thanks to a dedicated committee that makes sure there is an adorer present every hour of the day, seven days a week.

Archbishop Richard Smith is expected to take part in the chapel's 10th anniversary celebration on the feast of Corpus Christi. It includes a Mass at St. Andrew's Church followed by a reception at St. Andrew's Centre.

Many people are committed to spending at least one hour a week in prayer at the chapel. There are also monthly adorers and numerous individuals who drop in.

Cardinal Thomas Collins, who sparked the establishment of perpetual adoration and the building of the chapel, asked that adorers pray for all of the people of the archdiocese, especially those who have drifted away from the faith, for families and for those whom the Lord is calling to the priesthood and consecrated life.

Adorers can be found in the chapel at all hours. Sometimes it is just one. Other times, several people can be found praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

Adoration coordinator Rose Marie Fowler helped start the chapel almost 10 years ago when she was archdiocesan director of liturgy and has been coordinating it for the past five-and-a-half years. Working with Fowler are four vice-coordinators, one for each six-hour time block.

"We always need more people to sign up for adoration," Fowler observes. "We have a lot of vacant hours, which means that one of the vice-coordinators has to either arrange a substitute or go herself."

There are two or three people for some hours but not for every hour. Due to a lack of adorers at night, some people do three hours of adoration at night.

"The night hours are the hardest to fill," Fowler says. The evening hours are the easiest to fill because many people drop in after work.

For Fowler, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is the most fulfilling time of the day after Mass. She lives in the St. Andrew's complex so she visits the chapel often for prayer, sometimes twice a day.

"It's a big blessing in my life and I think it's a big blessing for the archdiocese too," she says. When she visits the chapel in the morning, she prays the Liturgy of the Hours or meditates on Scripture. In the evenings, she prays the rosary and other favourite prayers.

What's the attraction? "The Lord is the attraction," Fowler replies. "If we love our Lord, we want to be with him and we want to be in his presence. It's normal; you want to be with the one you love."

Fowler's prayer is usually quiet and uneventful. "It's a question of faith," she explains. "Even when you don't feel the Lord's presence, you know he is there."

Archbishop Richard Smith has asked adorers to pray for respect for life and for vocations; there are prayer cards in the chapel for those intentions.

Gus Bendoritis and his wife Adele have been coming to adoration ever since they moved to St. Andrew's Centre more than two years ago. "For me, the adoration chapel is my favourite spot in the entire complex," he says. "I feel real peace and calm in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament."

Bendoritis, a retired meat marketer, says the time he spends is the chapel is the "most precious" of all. "I'm sorry I didn't start when I was young."

'JESUS WANTS THIS'

Andre LeBlanc, an advertising consultant who lives in the Calder area, has been coming to the chapel on and off for seven years. He was out of the country for four years, and the first thing he did when he returned was to get back on the roster for adoration. He prays 9 to 10 a.m. on Thursdays.

Rose Marie Fowler has been coordinator of perpetual adoration for more than 5 years

WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ

Rose Marie Fowler has been coordinator of perpetual adoration for more than 5 years

"I'm well aware that it benefits me greatly in a number of ways to have this holy hour with our Lord every week," LeBlanc says.

"But the reason I come is not because of what I get out of it; the reason that I started coming is because I understand that Jesus wants this. He wants us to come and see him and to spend time with him."

As far as LeBlanc is concerned, praying for an hour a week is a small thing he can do to bring the Lord a little bit of happiness.

"The blessings that Jesus delivers from the Blessed Sacrament are something that everybody should be taking advantage of," he says. "There is no question that I feel his presence. He is there not just in spirit but physically in all his divinity."

It will be five years in February that Tracie Sissons began coming to the chapel. She is on the roster Monday nights from 9 to 10 p.m. "I continue because it's a very humbling experience and is also very joyful," she says. "I do feel closer to the Lord when I am in there."

INTIMATE CHAPEL

Sissons appreciates the intimacy of the chapel and its small size. "It feels like it's just for me," she laughs. "It feels like I'm having a one-on-one conversation with the Lord and that's what gives me joy."

Over the past five years Sissons has had many epiphanies in the chapel. When she has been troubled or distracted, she has found peace and calm. "It's such a good way of silencing, of calming or quieting yourself," she says.

Praying at the chapel becomes a routine, but it is "one that you look forward to," Sissons says. "My Monday night (hour) at the chapel is solid."