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Editor’s Note: In an effort to promote eucharistic adoration, we published the following article in our parish bulletin. Feel free to use it in your own parish.

Come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

These familiar words from a Christmas carol remind us of our obligation to offer adoration to the Lord. To be sure, we are also to thank Him, to petition Him for favors, and to make reparation for our own sins and the sins of others. But our principal duty is to adore and worship God, primarily by participating in Holy Mass every weekend, if not every day, and by receiving Jesus worthily in Holy Communion.
However, another way of giving the Lord what is due Him is to take part in eucharistic adoration in a formal setting, or just by making a visit to church at any time. Jesus is really present in the tabernacle 24/7, but how often does He look out on an empty church? It reminds us of a poem we heard long ago: “Whenever I go by a church / I always stop to visit / So when they carry my casket down the aisle / God won’t ask, ‘Who is it?’”
Two events during the Passion of Christ illustrate the importance of spending time before the Lord in adoration. The first occurred in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus, fully aware of the horrible torture and death facing Him in just a few hours, said that “my soul is sorrowful even to death” and pleaded with Peter, James, and John to stay awake and pray with Him. But they fell asleep, prompting Jesus to ask, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?”
He is asking each one of us the same question today, “Can you not keep watch with me for just one hour in adoration of my precious Body and Blood which was given up for you?” Jesus gave His life to save us from our sins. Can we not show our gratitude by spending time in His company, especially during the hours of the night?
The other incident occurred on Good Friday when Jesus said from the cross, “I thirst.” He was certainly experiencing a feverish physical thirst, but He was also expressing His thirst for souls, for people to turn away from sin and to follow Him faithfully all the way to Heaven. He is thirsting for you and me to adore Him today in the Blessed Sacrament in our churches. He gave His life for us. How can we not give Him an hour or more in adoration?
What does one do at adoration? You can ask the assistance of the Virgin Mary by praying the rosary. You can walk the way of the Lord in the Stations of the Cross. You can meditate on readings from the Bible or other spiritual writings. Or you can simply spend time with the Lord, telling Him of your joys and sorrows, of your hopes and dreams, and asking Him to keep you and your loved ones on the road to Heaven.
As we begin this new year, why not pledge to devote more of your time to eucharistic adoration? The Lord will shower amazing graces on you and on your family and friends — and on your parish as well. Imagine how our families, our Church, and our country could be transformed through thousands, if not millions, of hours spent in adoration before the King of Kings.
Come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Q. I recently read about the apparitions to Sr. Mary Ephrem in Ohio, starting in 1956. The apparitions involved the Blessed Virgin calling herself Our Lady of America. What can you tell us about these reported apparitions? — H.G., Wisconsin.
A. There are several websites for “Our Lady of America” on the Internet describing the visions of a nun, Sr. Mary Ephrem (1916-2000). They claim that the Blessed Mother appeared to her in 1956 in Ohio and specifically requested that a designated statue of Our Lady of America be installed in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. If the request is honored, Our Lady promised to perform miracles in this country greater than those at Lourdes and Fatima.
Devotion to Our Lady of America was approved and promoted by the late Archbishop Paul Leibold of Cincinnati and by Raymond Cardinal Burke when he was archbishop of St. Louis.
A statue of Our Lady of America was made, and it was displayed at the USCCB meeting in Baltimore in December 2006, but as far as we know, the statue has not yet been placed at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Cardinal Burke wrote a letter about this to all the bishops in 2007 and, while some wanted to see the statue installed, there were others who were either uninterested or opposed to it. Perhaps our readers could write to their bishop and ask that our Lady’s request be carried out.
Here are some of the things that the Virgin Mary reportedly said to Sr. Mary in 1956-1957:
“It is the United States that is to lead the world to peace, the peace of Christ, the peace that He brought with Him from Heaven. Dear children, unless the United States accepts and carries out faithfully the mandate given to it by Heaven to lead the world to peace, there will come upon it and all nations a great havoc of war and incredible suffering. If, however, the United States is faithful to this mandate from Heaven and yet fails in the pursuit of peace because the rest of the world will not accept or cooperate, then the United States will not be burdened with the punishment about to fall.
“Weep, then, dear children, weep with your mother over the sins of men. Intercede with me before the throne of mercy, for sin is overwhelming the world and punishment is not far away. It is the darkest hour, but if men will come to me, my Immaculate Heart will make it bright again with the mercy which my Son will rain down through my hands. Help me save those who will not save themselves. Help me bring once again the sunshine of God’s peace upon the world.”
In August 1957, our Lady said to Sr. Mary Ephrem: “What am I to do, child of my heart, when my children turn from me? The false peace of this world lures them and in the end will destroy them. They think they have done enough in consecrating themselves to my Immaculate Heart. It is not enough. That which I ask for and is most important many have not given me. What I ask, have asked, and will continue to ask is reformation of life. There must be sanctification from within.
“I will work my miracles of grace only in those who ask for them and empty their souls of the love and attachment to sin and all that is displeasing to my Son. Souls who cling to sin cannot have their hands free to receive the treasures of grace that I hold out to them.”

Q. In a lecture, our deacon referred to the altar as the table of worship and the ambo as the table of the Word. When I checked the Internet, the references to these terms were all Protestant. Where do I find Catholic references? — J.H., via e-mail.
A. You can find Catholic references in the Catechism and in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. For example, the Glossary at the back of the Catechism describes the altar as “the center and focal point of a church, where the sacrifice of Christ on the cross is made present under sacramental signs in the Mass. Among the Israelites, the altar was the place where sacrifices were offered to God. The Christian altar represents two aspects of the mystery of the Eucharist, as the altar of sacrifice where Christ as the sacrificial victim offers himself for our sins and as the table of the Lord where Christ gives himself to us as food from heaven (nn. 1182, 1383).”
There is a more detailed description of the altar in paragraphs 296 to 308 of the GIRM.
In paragraph 309 of the GIRM, it says that the ambo is the “suitable place” from which the Word of God may be proclaimed. It says that “from the ambo only the readings, the Responsorial Psalm, and the Easter Proclamation (Exsultet) are to be proclaimed; likewise it may be used for giving the Homily and for announcing the intentions of the Universal Church. The dignity of the ambo requires that only a minister of the word should stand at it.”
Your deacon was not wrong in what he said, but he understated the meaning and significance of the altar and the ambo.

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