Although the groundhog may have predicted that spring would come early, frigid temperatures plagued the Midwest until late last week. While many desired to relax under a warm blanket, some hardy Catholics in the Fort Wayne area continued to make uncomfortably cold journeys to the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament at St. Jude Parish’s Perpetual Adoration Chapel.
As someone must always be present before the exposed sacrament, even when temperatures dropped into the negative double digits and road conditions were treacherous, the adoration chapel remained a place of active prayer.
Dan Fogarty, a regular adorer at the chapel, considered the cold weather only a minor inconvenience to fulfilling his holy hour, a commitment he has honored for the past few years. “We hear much about having a relationship with our Lord,” he said. “As with any relationship, a relationship with Jesus is built on time together, and my time with Him is important to building and maintaining that relationship. I can pray to Jesus anywhere, and I do, but there is something very special about being in His presence in the adoration chapel.”
Fogarty added that he went through the Called and Gifted program at his parish, St. Vincent de Paul, Fort Wayne. Through this parish program, he learned that his primary charism is intercessory prayer.
“A special role I have in the Body of Christ, His Church, is to pray for the needs of others — individuals, the Church, groups, Church organizations, and so on. I take that role seriously and pray for those intentions daily, and on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. I bring them with me to the adoration chapel and present them in person to Jesus.”
Another Catholic who braved record-breaking cold temperatures to visit the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament recently was Thomas Koehl, a senior at Bishop Dwenger High School, Fort Wayne. Koehl recently began making occasional visits to the adoration chapel to pray the rosary for his friends, after study sessions at Purdue Fort Wayne.
“As of recent, I have begun to study and do homework at the Walb Student Union at PFW” Koehl said. “At the same time, I also have been trying to get in a daily rosary, because I want to strengthen my devotion to Mary. I also want to pray for my friends, who I love so much. I’ve been trying to get in my daily rosary in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and thankfully, because of the close proximity of the chapel to PFW, I can do just that. Despite the cold, it’s been worth it to make the trip.”
Perpetual eucharistic adoration has been available at St. Jude since 1984, when parishioners approached the parish pastor with the idea. A chapel used by the Sisters of Notre Dame was remodeled and, on Oct. 28, 1984, the feast day of St. Jude, the Perpetual Adoration Chapel opened.
Almost 25 years later, the faithful of Fort Wayne seem undeterred by the frigid weather in fulfilling their scheduled holy hours, like Dan Fogarty, or simply visiting the Lord on occasion, like Thomas Koehl. Even when the chapel’s heating system stopped working for a number of days this past January, the exposed Eucharist was never alone — despite the fact that adorers could see their breath. Their witness to the faith, even in below-freezing temperatures, was, in their words, a small sacrifice.
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