Picture courtesy of Come to the Tabernacle
Interview With a Monsignor in Sicily
ROME, NOV. 15, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The archpriest of one of the best-preserved historical centers of Sicily thinks that "the first thing that any parish should engage in is perpetual Eucharistic Adoration."
Monsignor Michele Placido Giordano, archpriest of Mistretta, has always promoted this type of prayer. In fact, the Church of the Most Holy Savior, in Mistretta, is one of only a handful of churches in Italy that has perpetual Eucharistic adoration.
On Nov. 9, Benedict XVI urged a rediscovery of this practice, when he met with participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Committee for the International Eucharistic Congresses.
In this interview, Monsignor Giordano talked about Eucharistic adoration.
Q: Why did you decide at a certain time in your community, which is not very large but is vibrant, to begin perpetual adoration?
Monsignor Giordano: I believe that the first thing that parishes must do is to teach how to pray. Therefore, it is a basic choice, a pillar that sustains everything.
Having made this choice, [I find that] the path is marked out: The people must be given the space where they can encounter themselves.
I was affected when I went around and saw Christians who were going to Buddhist schools of meditation. Then I reflected on the fact that we Catholics did not do enough to teach people to pray.
So I began to promote Eucharistic adoration every week; then every month, prolonged to midnight; on certain occasions the whole day, until we came to the decision, as a gift of Mary right after the Jubilee, to engage in perpetual adoration.
We began on December 13, 2004, precisely on the 17th centenary of St. Lucy. Since then, perpetual Eucharistic adoration has been under way, night and day, which now continues on its own.
Q: Some say that an hour of adoration every now and then is hard work, therefore no thought is given to the possibility of perpetual adoration.
Monsignor Giordano: In Mistretta there was also perplexity in the beginning; now the conviction of the people is absolute. One sees that it is Jesus who leads the community. One must have courage. What is important is to begin.
When actions are carried out in Jesus' name and for him, he then carries them forward. One must have faith. The ways in which works are realized are the most mysterious.
At times, as archpriest, I would like to ask the community for something more, but I don't have the courage; then, it happens that those who go to adoration return with more abundant resources than I could have imagined.
There was a time, for example, when I wanted to close the TeleMistretta television station because I was unable to guarantee the budget. Then a woman of the parish told me not to close it and to trust in the Lord. Sixteen years have gone by since then and the means have always arrived.
Q: What is the minimum number of people needed to ensure perpetual adoration, and how does it unfold?
Monsignor Giordano: At least 24 people are needed during the day to ensure perpetual adoration; one every hour, 168 a week. Obviously it can be the same people who rotate.
We have structured it in four schedules of six hours. There is a captain for every hour who is responsible and who finds solutions when, for different reasons, someone is missing.
During the day, the church where adoration takes place is almost always full. During the night, adoration takes on a special attraction; it is intimate and very beautiful. I see many youths who retire to talk with Jesus.
There are 14 churches that have Eucharistic adoration in Italy, two in Sicily. It is an experience that I recommend to all dioceses and parishes.
Q: What are the fruits of this intensive prayer activity?
Monsignor Giordano: Very many. Now we are about to publish a book with the testimonies of a year of Eucharistic adoration.
There are very many graces. A girl had decided to abort; we prayed and convinced her not to do so. Then, her will began to weaken. We returned to the church to pray and in the end the child was born: He is called Carlo and he and his mother are now supported by the Gemma Project.
Monsignor Ignazio Zambito, bishop of Patti, asked us to pray for vocations at the beginning of adoration. We prayed a lot and the seminary of the Diocese of Patti, which had six seminarians, this year has an additional nine candidates to the priesthood.
Q: Many say there is no time to engage in adoration, that there are many things to do in the parish.
Monsignor Giordano: It is not the case that in engaging in adoration we neglect other activities. We do more. Adoration makes many and more beneficial activities germinate.
In our diocese, for example, along with adoration a new youth center is being launched and now we are on the verge of relaunching the diocesan radio station.
All this benefits much from adoration. Adoration is the root of the plant that, the more prayer it has, the more it grows and develops. We must allow the root to expand. Moreover, prayer gives us the strength and inspiration for the most important ecclesial commitments, those of the defense of life and of the family.