January 27, 2024 // Diocese

Adoration Gives Students a ‘Special Time with Christ’

The Gospel of St. Matthew tells the story of Jesus traveling to Judea, where he preached to large crowds and performed healings. While answering questions from the Pharisees, “children were brought to Him that He might lay His hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to Me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’” (Mt 19:13-15).

Following this Gospel call, leaders at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Warsaw are making sure students are able to come to Jesus on a regular basis and be in His presence at Eucharistic adoration.

On the first Friday of every month while school is in session, older students are partnered with younger students to help little ones better understand the importance and sacredness of truly being in the presence of God.

Photos by Katie Owens
Students and staff at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Warsaw kneel before the Blessed Sacrament during Eucharistic adoration.

“Our faith is meant to be experienced in the community,” Sacred Heart Principal Mike McClain told Today’s Catholic. “Eucharistic adoration is another chance for our student population to get together with their classroom and school community and interact with the living God through the sacrament. It’s also nice the way we do it – pairing older and younger grades together. The older grades can serve as models for the younger grades.”

McClain said staff members, including preschool teacher Jill Lopez, make a point to vary the adoration experience for the children “to give our scholars a slightly different environment every time,” McClain said. “Sometimes we’re with the whole school, sometimes just a class or two. Sometimes there are more candles than others. Sometimes there is a hymn, sometimes simply ‘holy silence.’ By varying it, we’re helping kids start to form their own preferences for how to spend their time in adoration.”

Lopez, who teaches Pre-K 3, told Today’s Catholic that she prays with the themes and format each month. “Children’s adoration is truly a group effort,” she said. “So many wonderful people come to me with thoughts and ideas, and I’m like a funnel for all these amazing ideas. I organize classes and times, and when Friday morning rolls around, we set everything up for a special time with Christ.”

Lopez added: “It’s such a blessing to be Catholic and to have access to the Eucharist to share with our kids. We get to have the Creator of heaven and earth right there with us, to look at and pray with. Every time we have children’s adoration, the Holy Spirit just sweeps through the room and touches the hearts of our children. It’s a beautiful and heartwarming thing to witness. And our school is lucky to have two fantastic priests [Father Jonathon Norton and Father David Langford] who bring us closer to Jesus during these quiet times of adoration. I can’t express how honored I am to share this sacred space with our Lord and Savior and all the wonderful children I’ve come to love.”

Along with time spent in adoration, students at Sacred Heart attend daily Mass twice a week during the school year. Father Norton, Pastor at Sacred Heart and Director of Seminarians in the diocese’s Office of Vocations, said he is “grateful to watch how the Lord is moving in the lives of these children by way of the sacraments.” Because of these opportunities, Father Norton said, students at Sacred Heart are “excited about the Eucharist.” But also, he said, some are having their eyes opened to a possible vocation in the future. “We have a growing number of boys asking to serve at Mass, and some are expressing interest in becoming priests,” Father Norton said. “I am excited to see which of them enter seminary when they get older. I was in second grade when I first felt a call to the priesthood, so I know there’s a good chance some of these boys will become priests, too. On the same note, we have a couple of girls who have mentioned that they are interested in religious life. This is so exciting, because I know our Eucharistic Lord is working on their hearts.”

“I am honored to be the pastor of a parish and school,” Father Norton said ahead of National Catholic Schools Week, which will be celebrated across the country from Sunday, January 28, through Saturday, February 3. “Our school brings so much life to the parish just by the presence of the students each day but also by their presence as a school during Mass twice a week. The school also helps families to bond, which improves the experience of community at Sacred Heart. I’m moved by the opportunity to provide the sacraments for them in a way that I never had while attending public schools.”

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