By TARA CONNOLLY Staff writer
Family Holy Hours, aimed to help families step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, sparked the interest of an estimated 1,850 faithful seeking to reconnect with one another through prayer and Eucharistic adoration.
“The Culture of Encounter: Family Hours” were offered in all regions of the Diocese of Allentown to give families respite from youth sports and activities, school, work, meetings, and technology.
The last four parishes hosting the holy hours were: Immaculate Conception, Jim Thorpe on Oct. 13; Assumption BVM, Bethlehem and St. Catharine of Siena, Reading on Oct. 14; and Sacred Heart, Bethlehem on Oct. 28.
Thea Aclo, director of the diocesan Office of Youth, Young Adult and Family Ministry (OYYAFM), said the holy hours were initiated to help the practice of adoring and honoring the Eucharistic presence of Jesus Christ become more available.
“Families are so busy today that it can be difficult to set aside time for family prayer, so we tried to specifically promote and create opportunities for families to pray together. We provided a ‘how-to’ guide for adoration for both parents and children, in English and Spanish, to offer a resource for parents to teach their children how,” she said.
“We wanted to create more opportunities for family prayer. Often times adoration is offered during a weekday, and it may be difficult to bring the whole family during the day while kids are at school and parents are at work, so we scheduled times of adoration for Sundays.”
At St. Catharine of Siena, Father John Rother, assistant pastor, presided at the Holy Hour that drew an estimated 50 faithful and centered on the Gospel passage of Mary Magdalene “encountering” Jesus.
“You’re never too young to have a real encounter with God’s love,” he told the families.
“That is how we experience holiness, in the everyday, in our ordinary lives,” he said.
St. Anthony of Padua, Easton also hosted a Family Holy Hour that was led by Father Stanley Moczydlowski, pastor, who explained the ritual of adoration to the faithful and encouraged them to frequent Eucharistic Adoration at other parishes.
“It is not an overburden at all,” he said.
One of the parishes with a larger turnout was Assumption BVM, Bethlehem, where approximately 100 faithful gathered to pray the rosary and reflect on the Scriptures.
Deacon Donald Elliott, assigned to the parish, said the service was a huge success and drew faithful from 10 months old to a parishioner who turned 100 this year.
“Doing the rosary was very special as members of various parish ministries led different decades, which consisted of lectors, Eucharistic ministers, confirmation candidates, Knights of Columbus, and pro-life and hospice ministries,” he said.
OYYAFM assisted with the Holy Hours beginning last November. Each deanery devised their schedule for parishes that took turns offering a holy hour each month.