10th Anniversary of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel

30 June 2023

Perpetual Adoration Chapel Turns Ten

On Friday 30 June 2023, it was ten years since Bishop Barry Jones opened the Perpetual Adoration Chapel at St Gregory's Church in Bishopdale. At the time, Bishop Jones said that the chapel was a great gift to the Diocese. It was opened to help people to deepen their encounter with Jesus and let him transform their lives. It is a place to bring all your worries, concerns, and fears to Jesus and bring all the other people you carry in your heart to Him.

St Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, "the time you spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the best time you will spend on earth. Each moment that you spend with Jesus will deepen your union with Him and ... will help bring about everlasting peace on earth."

The Perpetual Adoration chapel has borne abundant fruits in the lives of many people over the past ten years.

"To commit myself to spend one hour a week in the presence of Jesus was one of the best commitments I have made of recent times. A time of stillness, contemplation, peace, and reflection has made a difference to my life. I have grown more in closeness to Jesus. I feel more at peace in my life".

Perpetual Adoration

To mark this significant anniversary, past and present adorers gathered with our Bishop for Mass at St Gregory's on Friday 30 June.

I wish to thank all the adorers who committed so generously to an hour (or more) of Adoration each week. It is interesting to note that 83 people who signed up on the first Sunday still adore at the chapel, and 59 of those people still have the same weekly hour. Well over 600 people have, at one time, committed to an hour a week, with hundreds more visiting our Lord. I especially wish to thank those who have been day leaders over the years. Your support has been much appreciated!

If you wish to sign up for an hour, please contact me on chchadoration@gmail.com.

The Story of how Perpetual Adoration came about in the Diocese of Christchurch

The story starts many years ago. There have, of course, been many people praying for Perpetual Adoration in the Diocese for a number of years. I was introduced to Adoration at the Hearts Aflame national Catholic summer school in January 2000, where it was offered every day. I quickly became devoted to it and often tried to make a holy hour. I had already become used to praying before the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle. Each time I went into a Church (often the small chapel in Chancery Lane), I experienced peace and hope. I slowly grew in my relationship with Jesus.

In August 2001, I entered a Franciscan Monastery for a year as a volunteer. This Monastery, which was also a retreat centre and shrine, was the centre for Perpetual Adoration for the Archdiocese of Chicago, and had offered Perpetual Adoration for many years. There were 30 Franciscan Friars who lived in the Monastery and they committed to adoring between the hours of 11pm-7am every day. As a volunteer, I often covered these hours for them while they were away, busy, or tired. It was inspiring to see these men get up, night after night, to adore Our Lord. On returning to New Zealand, I continued to make holy hours. While Young Adults Coordinator for the Catholic Youth Time (CYT), I ensured I gave all those young adults attending retreats and camps the opportunity for Adoration.

At one of my last events for CYT in late 2011, Bishop Jones gave a talk. At its conclusion, during questions and answers, I thought I would be a bit cheeky and asked him when he was going to start Perpetual Adoration in the Diocese. He responded by challenging me to write him a proposal for it. I responded to his challenge, drafting up a proposal and referring it to him in April 2012. Bishop Jones read it and asked me to form a committee to write a fully detailed proposal with all questions answered and make recommendations for its implementation.

This committee was formed and met for the first time at the end of August 2012. The next four months saw us meeting regularly to pray, discuss, research, and investigate all the options. Our proposal was presented to Bishop Jones on 15 January 2013. The Bishop took the proposal to his Consulters who read it, discussed it, and fully approved it in April 2013. The proposed starting date was to be two months later on Sunday 23 June. This day was the eve of our Diocesan Patronal feast day, that of St John the Baptist, on 24 June.

Bishop Jones wrote a pastoral letter to his diocese, encouraging people to sign up one week later at Sunday Mass throughout all of Christchurch. Meetings were held, the chapel was prepared, and we were all ready to go for “Sign up Sunday.” The response was outstanding, with over 400 people signing up to commit to one hour per week. We delayed the opening by one week to get every hour covered.

Perpetual Adoration in the Diocese of Christchurch commenced at 6pm on Sunday 30 June at St Gregory's in Bishopdale, immediately following the 5pm Mass which was offered by the Bishop. Perpetual Adoration has continued ever since. As Bishop Jones said, "this project is one of extraordinary grace. All the glory and honour goes to Him who is our all."

Matt O’Connell

Published in Inform Issue 137