Christopher Lushis
Freelance Writer
March 21, 2023 // Diocese

Adoration by Candlelight Proves to be Powerful Experience for Faithful in Attendance

Christopher Lushis
Freelance Writer

When Jesus encountered the Samaritan woman at the well, He said, “give me a drink” (John 4:7). His desire was not for well water, but for the outpouring and trust of her heart. When she realized that she was conversing with the true Messiah and that He knew and loved her beyond anything she had ever experienced, she was overwhelmed with joy, left her water jar behind, and ran to tell others.

A recent Lenten prayer service at Our Lady of Good Hope, Fort Wayne, invited local faithful to have a similar “outpouring” experience of encounter with the Lord.

For this, Father Daniel Whelan, Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Good Hope, organized a special “Adoration by Candlelight” event on the evening of Sunday, March 12, with the musical accompaniment of the “Ecce” choir, directed by Jessica Schuster.

Photos by Joe Romie
The Ecce Choir, directed by Jessica Schuster, performs the singing of sacred music by candlelight during a Lenten prayer service of Adoration by Candlelight.

In the darkened church, illuminated only by numerous candles surrounding the Eucharist, Father Whelan read a personal reflection from the perspective of the woman at the well, whose story had been recounted that weekend at Mass.

Father Whelan shared about how Jesus had thirsted for her heart in that first encounter and how it changed her. He explained that by letting go and setting down the things of her life that had previously held her back, she began to follow Christ with authentic and passionate faith. He suggested that we could even imagine she was present with Him among the crowds at the crucifixion, hearing Him repeat those words of loving desire, this time directed toward all humanity, when He cried out from the cross, “I thirst.”

Father Whelan emphasized that even now, in the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus thirsts for us and continues to desire the outpouring of hearts, for all to trust and follow Him. Father Whelan invited those present to consider “pouring out” whatever they felt Jesus was calling them to give Him and to pray about it with sincerity of heart.

The experience was noticeably moving for those present, some afterwards declined to speak about the event because they were so touched and overwhelmed by the love of God.

Father Daniel Whelan uses incense to bless the Monstrance at a special Adoration by Candlelight event at Our Lady of Good Hope in Fort Wayne on Sunday, March 12.

Others enthusiastically shared their appreciation, especially about the candles and sacred music. Dylan Arrango, a parishioner from St. Vincent de Paul, Fort Wayne, exclaimed, “by candlelight is my favorite way to experience Our Lord in adoration. The Ecce choir was absolutely phenomenal, they elevated the whole experience, helping facilitate reverence and prayer. I’d tell anyone who desires to have an encounter with Jesus to come spend time in prayer in this way, it’s a game changer.”

Joe Romie, a parishioner from St. Charles Borromeo, Fort Wayne, said when he heard about this, “it sounded very appealing, as a chance to slow down during Lent, adore Christ in the monstrance, and perhaps make some nice photos in the candlelight. What I didn’t expect was the high quality of sacred music — the foursome of singers was incredible; they really enhanced the whole prayerful experience for me. I had not heard that superior level of Catholic choir singing since watching the Daily Mass on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).”

Another local parishioner, who asked to remain anonymous stated, “the opportunity to share in the woman at the well’s activity of leaving behind her water jar was unexpectedly powerful. Having practical ways of entering into the Gospel accounts can be transformative and deeply moving. Jesus asked her for the gift of her heart, He does the same with us today. He is calling us to trust and follow Him with everything we have.”

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