Online Edition: May 2010
Vol. XVI, No. 3
Eucharistic Adoration and Liturgy of the Hours
— Survey Results
by Adoremus Staff
A survey of AB readers on Eucharistic Adoration and the Liturgy of the Hours was included in the October 2009 issue of the Adoremus Bulletin.
The first part of the survey asked readers about the availability of Eucharistic Adoration in their parishes, if they participated in formal observances of Eucharistic Adoration in their parish or another place; if Benediction was included; if their parish church is open during the day for private adoration; and whether the increased frequency of Eucharistic Adoration outside of Mass has led to greater reverence in the celebration of Mass.
The second part of the survey concerned the Liturgy of the Hours. Readers were asked if they regularly pray any of the Hours, and if the parish offers regular opportunities for group prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours.
A large majority of the 803 responses to the survey were from lay people; only about 11% were from priests. One interesting result was that priests who responded were, on average, younger than the lay respondents, with 25% of priests (versus 9% of all respondents) under fifty; almost half of the priests (45%) were under sixty, compared to about 25% of all respondents.
Most responses were from the United States and came from 164 dioceses and one Melkite eparchy. Two dioceses in Ireland and one in Canada were represented. The largest number of responses from a single diocese was 31 from Arlington, followed by 20 from Chicago, 18 each from Cleveland and Cincinnati and 17 from New York. (Two Episcopalians also sent responses.)
Ninety percent of respondents reported that Eucharistic Adoration was held in their parishes. It had been held for at least a year in 83% of parishes and for more than five years in 63%. In several cases it was reported that adoration had been held in the parish for 25 years or more. It is most common to have Eucharistic Adoration services once a week (35%). About 23% report perpetual adoration and about the same number have monthly observances. Adoration services are held more than one day a week in 17% of locations; and 86% of churches are open at least part of the time for private adoration.
Most of those who participate in Eucharistic Adoration do so at their own parishes (83%), but almost half (49%) participate outside their parish. (The percentages here add up to more than 100% because quite a few people participate in more than one location.)
The majority (67%) of those who participate in Eucharistic Adoration outside their own parish do so in another parish, but 19% participate at a convent or monastery and 14% go to a chapel associated with a Catholic hospital, school, college or other institution. Over half (64%) participate at least weekly and another 27% monthly or occasionally.
Adoration almost always (97%) includes Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. In almost half (48%) of parishes the service also includes Benediction. Less frequently it includes the Rosary (27%), Scripture reading (12%), or Liturgy of the Hours (12%). About 2% of respondents reported other devotions in connection with Eucharistic Adoration, such as the Divine Mercy Chaplet or a novena.
Opinions on whether Eucharistic Adoration led to more reverent celebration of Mass were about evenly divided: 33% said it did, 39% said it didn’t and 29% said they didn’t know. Those who didn’t see a connection between adoration and reverence at Mass generally cited noise and talking before and after Mass as evidence of irreverence, as did this man from Arlington, Virginia:
Despite perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in our parish, at the conclusion of any Sunday Mass I have attended since joining our parish in 2005 it sounds like a circus in the church with all the lively conversations.
Priests were more likely to say adoration led to more reverence at Mass, with 44% saying that it did. A priest from Tennessee hopes to experience this effect in his new parish:
I have just been assigned to this parish. I am trying to increase sacredness and reverence. I believe Eucharistic Adoration is the answer!!
A priest from Connecticut commented that one also could see a change in people’s lives as a result of adoration. Some said that adoration increases daily Mass attendance. A couple from North Carolina see an increase in priestly vocations:
Since our diocese started perpetual adoration we’ve seen an increase in priestly vocations and we now have around 17 seminarians plus plans to build a seminary.
A woman from Indiana said:
We have had perpetual adoration for three years. I think people who probably never read religious books are reading them now and growing in their faith. It’s wonderful.
Although many parishes hold Eucharistic Adoration, a large number of respondents commented that the numbers attending are small and that it is hard to get more people to attend. Several, including this woman from California, believe catechesis is lacking about the reason for Eucharistic Adoration.
We need more instruction on the reasons for adoration or exposition. Most people don’t have a clue. For some reason priests don’t talk about it from the pulpit even though we have asked.
Liturgy of the Hours
A majority of respondents (65%) pray at least some part of the Liturgy of the Hours, most frequently Morning (36%) and/or Evening (30%) Prayer. Most (64%) said they pray the Hours privately only, 11% only with a group and 25% both privately and with a group.
Those who pray with a group are most likely to do this in their own parish (48%). But only 32% of respondents report that such a group exists in their parish, and only 61% of these groups are regularly scheduled. A group outside the parish is most likely to be at a monastery or convent (22%), though 14% are at another parish. A little more than 5% mentioned specifically that they pray the Liturgy of the Hours with a third order group associated with a religious order. Carmelites were mentioned most frequently.
Sung celebrations of the Liturgy of the Hours in parishes is uncommon — reported by only 11% of respondents. Of those reporting sung celebrations in their parish, 65% indicated that Vespers (evening prayer) was the Hour celebrated.
Several of those surveyed commented that they had some interest in praying the Liturgy of he Hours, but that they needed instruction on how to do this.
A very large majority of those who responded to the survey wanted more opportunity for Eucharistic Adoration (90%) or Liturgy of the Hours (91%) in their parishes. Many of those who answered “no” to either of these questions indicated either that they would not be able to take advantage of additional opportunities for some reason, or that adding such services would overburden the pastor (especially pastors serving multiple parishes).