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“It is amazing how Jesus within us finds the words to say”

Rich Bondar and Ron DeGuire

Being a Eucharistic Minister helps me share my faith and belief in God with others. This is especially true in a hospital setting. Being part of the Beaumont Eucharistic Ministry group has helped me expand spiritually and share my faith with others. 
Prior to leaving the parish, receiving a blessing from the celebrant and congregation helps lift my soul and encourages me to do a good job bringing the Body of Christ to others in need. 
Upon arriving at the hospital, we determine the units that need to be visited and get the lists of patients to see. Before we head out to the different floors, we congregate in the chapel and pray the following prayer: ‘Caring God, Empower us to be your gentle messenger, to reflect your presence, and radiate your concern. Help us to reverence and affirm each person we meet today. Amen.’
Once we arrive at the unit, we stop at the nurses’ station and have them review the list so they can share who may not be able to receive anything orally. If someone can’t receive the Eucharist orally, that doesn’t mean we don’t visit them. We’ll stop by to say a prayer or two. For all the patients we visit, we leave them with a prayer book and church paper. 
As we visit each patient, we greet them with a smile, tell them our name, and ask them if they want to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Most of them give a definite ‘yes.’ We wash our hands and start by saying the Lord’s Prayer with them and may share any other words that bring them comfort. Then we give them the host as we say, ‘receive the Body of Christ,’ and allow Jesus to enter their body. We end with a blessing but before leaving, we ask if they want to pray or even talk more. If family members are present, we ask if they would also like to receive Communion. We’ve learned how to say “Qurbana” for the Chaldean patients, too. 
There are instances when people want or need more than just the Eucharist. Patients may want to talk about their lives, feelings, faith, spirituality, etc. It is amazing how Jesus within us finds the words to say to them. It is definitely a blessing. 
Since the start of the pandemic, we have been limited in which units we can visit.  In addition to the prayer book and bulletin, we have been distributing  Spiritual Communion Prayer cards for patients who cannot attend Mass. For COVID patients, this has been monumental because they can still receive Jesus spiritually and know that we were there praying for them. 
Our parish has many ministries for people to participate in, but we find the Beaumont Ministry to be very uplifting, sometimes challenging, but definitely a privilege to bring Jesus to those who are hospitalized.

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“I have clearly heard the Lord in what seemed to be a voice saying, ‘Be a priest for me!’”

Joseph Lennon

After a year and a half of community college, I found myself in a place where I realized I needed a serious and intimate relationship with the Lord. I had never lost my faith at any point in my life, but at the time I was not fully relying on the Lord and was looking to worldly things to find comfort. I was preparing to start Exodus 90, a fantastic program for Catholic men to help them grow in their relationship with Jesus through prayer and asceticism. The weekend before I was to start Exodus 90, I went on a silent retreat with a religious order called Miles Christi.
One of the evenings we were having Eucharistic adoration and the priest gave a talk. During the talk he asked two key questions. 
The first was, ‘What is something in your life that the Lord is calling you to give up for Him?’ I knew exactly what the Lord was asking me to give up for Him, a worldly comfort which had already been put on my heart to remove from my life. But I asked the Lord, ‘How can I do this; how can I give this up?’ I was completely weeping. I remember specifically telling the Lord, ‘I will do this because you are asking it of me, but I really need your help because I cannot do this on my own.’
The second question proposed by the priest was, ‘What is the Lord calling you to do; what is your vocation?’ Immediately I had a burning in my heart and it is really the only time I have clearly heard the Lord in what seemed to be a voice saying, ‘Be a priest for me!’

This was not the first time I had thought about being a priest. My first desire to be a priest came when I was four years old and my grandma made me vestments and bought me a chalice and paten to ‘play Mass.’ But now, at this silent retreat, I asked the Lord, ‘How can I be a priest? Look at how broken I am… look at what I have done in my life.’ But despite my worries, there was a peace there and again, as with the first question, my reply to the Lord was, ‘I will do this, Lord, if it is your will, but you need to help me because I cannot do this on my own.’
After the retreat my life radically changed. With the aid of the Exodus 90 program, I grew tremendously in my spiritual life. I went on to apply to seminary, but was asked to wait a year in order to work on some things and make sure this was a true calling from the Lord. After that additional year of discernment (during which I lived in the rectory of St. Frances Cabrini and took classes at Sacred Heart Major Seminary) I was accepted to the program of priestly formation at the seminary, studying for the Archdiocese of Detroit.
I have now completed my second year as a seminarian at Sacred Heart and know that I would never be where I am without the encounter with Jesus in Eucharistic adoration at the Miles Christi retreat.

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“I kept thinking in my head, could this be real?”

Donna Obdziejewski

Back at my previous parish, Our Lady of the Woods in Woodhaven, I used to go to adoration every  Wednesday morning after the 9 a.m. mass. One day, as I walked in, I could smell the fragrance of roses. Right away, I figured there must be roses somewhere inside the chapel.

I looked around, but all I saw was a woman who I had never seen before, kneeling in the back. She was deep in prayer, and her face looked radiant. Not in an abnormal way really, but just radiant enough that it struck me. I continued to look around for the roses, but could not find any. Before long, the women got up and genuflected to Jesus. I turned around to take another look at her. She gave me a beautiful smile as she walked out. Immediately, the fragrance was gone. It took a while, but finally it hit me. That woman – did she invoke the Blessed Mother? I tried to get the smell of the roses back, but at first I couldn’t. Then I said to Mary, ‘If that was you, could you please allow me to smell the roses again?’ The aroma returned for just one minute, then was gone again. I felt so blessed. I kept thinking in my head, could this be real that the mother of my Lord was here and allowed me to smell her roses, too?

Well, you can draw your own conclusions. But as for me, I believe.

As for the woman, I never saw her again.

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"He filled the whole room to confirm his presence"

Ifeyinwa Nwaneri

I have so much love for adoration. It is the only place I find peace—where I can lay it down and let it go. It’s a place I’ll go and it’s a place that’s more powerful than any other place I can be. I have experienced so much power from it.

Jesus has given me many gifts through the Blessed Sacrament. One time, he appeared to me in the chapel. He filled the whole room to confirm his presence when I was in doubt.

Another time, I  was very worried I may have had breast cancer and I asked to be healed. The lump I had detected went away after I asked him to heal me when I was in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

Once, during Mass, he allowed me to see heavenly beings. And regarding the Eucharist, he even told me, ‘I reduce myself in this form just for you.’

I came to America from Nigeria several years ago with my family. And when I came I said, ‘God, why am I here? I don’t know what I’m doing.’ He told me to look for a clue. That he would speak to me in a clue. He said ‘Open your eyes. Everything around you speaks.’

I had the inspiration to go to adoration all by myself. Because my friend had the key, I could go to the church and be alone for hours. It gave me peace. They were seeing my need and my taste for it so they allowed me to go to the chapel and it gave me peace.

When I found Corpus Christi Parish, they didn’t have a specific chapel, they just had adoration in the church. But I was still at home with it.

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“Quiero quedarme en silencio más tiempo para sentirlo y escucharlo”

Ramona Gonzalez

La Eucaristía ha hecho una gran diferencia en mi vida, vivo una paz cuando la voy a recibir en la Santa Misa, antes y después.  Mi amor por Jesús crece más cuando lo recibo y quiero quedarme en silencio más tiempo para sentirlo y escucharlo en mis pensamientos y meditaciones.
Cuando ofrezco mi servicio en la sacristía para la misa dominical, es un momento de gozo y agradecimiento, me siento bendecida con mi Señor por su infinita misericordia de poder preparar el altar para su pueblo. Mi mayor experiencia fue cuando por primera vez tuve la Eucaristía en mis manos como ministro extraordinario en mi parroquia.
El tiempo Adoración al Santísimo Sacramento es mi espacio, mi tiempo y momento donde me entrego en una forma total con todas mis debilidades y anhelos.

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"I believe, help my unbelief"

Cecilia Norris

I remember my mom saying that the Eucharist was the reason we went to Mass — not for the homily or our friends, but to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. 
I didn’t really understand that. As a kid I enjoyed singing and sometimes the homily, but the Liturgy of the Eucharist was blasé. To my eyes nothing special was happening and I didn’t get the big deal. I believed that Jesus was present in the Blessed Sacrament because I trusted my parents who told me He was, but I didn’t think too hard about it.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I went to a Steubenville Youth Conference. There in adoration and praise and worship I was caught off guard as God poured His merciful graces over me and somehow, I knew more certainly that Jesus Himself was present in the host displayed in the monstrance and His presence meant something to me. I knew more than ever that God was real, He loved me so deeply and wanted great things for me. This encounter showed me the truth that being whole heartily Catholic and striving to live in union with God’s will is what I am truly made for and the key to lasting joy.
My newfound awe from that encounter propelled me to seek God. This seeking was rooted in the instigator: the Eucharist.
I started to stop by my parish to visit the same Jesus in the tabernacle who wowed me that weekend. 
My encounters there were different from the retreat.
I kept asking God to increase my faith in the true Presence, praying the ‘I believe, help my unbelief’ prayer – and He answered. While the adjustment to quiet personal visits with the Lord instead of enthusiastic, vocal crowds was sometimes disappointing and challenging, I was able to continually encounter and be shaped by my Creator, whether I felt it all the time or not. For me, the Eucharist was becoming a source of tremendous grace and intimate contact with God Himself.
When I went off to MSU for college, my opportunities to pray before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament increased dramatically with adoration and Confession offered each day before the convenient student center Mass times.
As I started to spend more time with the Blessed Sacrament in adoration and Mass, my heart was softened. I noticed I desired God more and was disposed to actually pray and act on my faith. The Eucharist gives me a tangible view of God and helps my prayer to be intimate and focused. 
I know that in every moment I spend with the Eucharist, opening myself to His graces and His will, God is sanctifying me, filling in my many weaknesses, and supplying the grace necessary to live how He desires me to. 
Whether or not I feel it, my soul leaves changed even after a momentary encounter with the Eucharist. 
On the days I didn’t have the time to commit to adoration before Mass, I discovered a few spots in the lobby outside the sanctuary where I could do homework and still see Jesus in the Monstrance. I put myself in the presence of the Eucharist and soaked up His rays of love while I studied and trusted Him to sanctify me while I learned. 
This is a gift, both because I gained more chances to sit in the joyous, perfect Eucharistic glow and because it helped me bring God into my schoolwork and remember that I study to glorify Him. Like Blessed Carlo Acutis said, ‘The Eucharist is my highway to Heaven!’ I hope to cling to the precious gift of the Eucharist for the rest of my life and am thankful the merciful Lord gifted it to us.

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“Why we do what we do”

Russell Joyce

At first we were non-church-going Christians, and then I think when I was around seven or eight my parents became Born-Again, so I guess I became Protestant at that point. When I met my (now wife) Nicole, she was clearly Catholic. When we got married, we agreed we would raise our kids Catholic. I wasn’t active in the church my parents took me to as a kid but I still believed in Jesus, and the Catholic Church seemed fine to me.

I wanted my kids to grow up knowing Jesus, but looking back at it now, I don’t think I even knew him as well as I thought I did. I never really thought much about it, other than trying to be respectful and praying in my own way during the Eucharistic prayer. I respected that’s what Catholics believed, but I guess it didn’t feel like it was something I needed to or wanted to understand. I thought I could be a good Christian without the bells and the rites and the Eucharist. It seemed nice, but not really necessary. I did really like the reverence of Mass. I liked the music, the times when everyone was quiet, and the way you always know what’s coming next because Mass is the same wherever you go.

So we went to Mass every week, we taught the kids to pray, and I learned about being Catholic right next to my kids. When they learned something from Nicole, I learned it too. And when it came to the Eucharist, obviously I couldn't go up and receive, so I would just stay in my chair.

I think it was at my brother-in-law's wedding. The priest said, 'Feel free to come up here.' And he said, 'If you're not Catholic, all you have to do is cross your arms and receive a blessing.' I turned to Nicole and asked, 'Are you serious? Is that a thing?' And she said, 'Oh, yeah, totally a thing.' And I remember being kind of mad that I could have been going up for a blessing all this time instead of sitting in the pew alone.

So, from that point on, I went up every week and crossed my arms and received a blessing just to be able to walk up with my family.

Every once in a while Nicole would share something theological about the Church or the Eucharist with me, and I guess it started to stick. At some point, Nicole had given me a book by the author Scott Hahn called Rome Sweet Home. So seeing everything happen at the Mass and asking Nicole a few questions here and there, it really just enhanced my experience of what I was witnessing. Like when I first learned about the connection between the berakhah, the prayer of thanksgiving that is prayed by the Jewish people, and how they believed that when they said this prayer in celebration of Passover, that their escape from Egypt became present – that’s the prayer Jesus was praying at the Last Supper. He meant what he said when he told them, 'This is my body… do this in memory of me.'

And I think it's in the book of John, the apostles say, 'Hey, Jesus, people are kind of freaking out about what you're saying, you need to tell them what you really mean.” But Jesus says, “They need to eat my flesh or they're not getting to heaven.'
After reading that, we attended Mass that Sunday and I went up with my arms crossed as normal. And the priest, through the grace of God, forgot that I wasn't Catholic even after we had been going there for several years.

And he held the host up for me, and I stared at it for a good 3 or 4 seconds. And, in that moment, I thought, 'I really want that.' I knew Jesus was in there, and I was hungry for him.

It was very powerful.

I'm getting goosebumps now talking about it.

It was like Jesus was saying, 'It's time. You need this.'

I was filled with such a powerful desire. Like, I need, I need, I want that now. I knew I was in the presence of Jesus. And so that's what really put that final piece in the place for me.

Shortly after that, we went to the Cathedral for Mass on Corpus Christi and walked the procession. When we got home that afternoon —Nicole laughs about this now—she was in the living room watching TV, and I was in our bedroom and was kind of thinking about it. And I very casually walked out to the living room and said, 'Yeah, I think I'm going to join RCIA,' and I walked out. And she was like, ‘Wait, I have questions!’ I started RCIA that summer and was received in the Church the next Easter Vigil.

And of course, looking back at it now, I feel foolish for waiting so long.

It’s been eight years, and honestly, the desire I felt the first time I encountered the Eucharist so close to me, it’s still just as intense. If I have to miss Mass for whatever reason, being sick or whatever, I miss it.

He's there. He's present. The Eucharist is why we do what we do and why we believe what we believe. Jesus is waiting for you. Go.

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"I asked myself, ‘Who is this? Who is saying this?’"

Dr. Marlon De La Torre

It was never forethought for me that Jesus Christ was truly present in the Holy Eucharist. Even receiving Him in the Holy Eucharist for the very first time at the age of eleven for my First Holy Communion, it never dawned on me that what I was receiving was Jesus himself in the form of consecrated bread and wine. 

As my journey continued throughout my high school years, my response toward receiving Christ at Mass on Sundays was pass and not extraordinary. However, my entire perception of who Jesus Christ is changed when my theology professor/mentor in Catholic high school (who was also my basketball coach, strength coach, and basically everything to me on how a Christian man should carry himself) asked me if I would give one of the keynote presentations for the Senior Kairos retreat that all seniors at Vincent Memorial Catholic High School had to attend as part of graduation.
When the time came to present my talk, it was well received. A very important component about the Kairos retreat was the presence of a perpetual adoration chapel throughout the entire week of the conference. As I completed my hour-long presentation, I made a straight line to the adoration chapel; it felt as if I was being pulled into the chapel by someone even though there was no one physically pulling me. 
The moment I walked into the chapel, this burst of intense heat immediately hit me. There was only one other person in the chapel, the associate pastor who was part of the retreat team. He appeared to be in a trance and my first thought was, ‘What’s wrong with him?’ Then I began to gaze at the monstrance where Jesus was present and I asked, ‘What is going on?’ as if directed toward someone and I immediately heard a voice: ‘You’ve done well, now relax and just be in my presence.’  
I asked myself, ‘Who is this? Who is saying this?’ Then I began to cry uncontrollably for most likely an hour. I saw myself slowly move into a trance until I blacked out, which I attribute to being slain in the spirit. 
Then I finally woke up, still experiencing an intense heat with my arms outstretched toward Christ in the Holy Eucharist, simply praising him as I’ve never done or experienced before in my life. This entire Eucharistic presence of our Lord continued for over two hours, during which one of my classmates came to check on me. Once I became aware of my surroundings, I asked my classmate how long I had been in the chapel. He said over two hours, which to me had felt like two minutes! 
The significance of this Kairos retreat held at Big Bear Lake in Big Bear California was that it was my first true encounter of Jesus Christ and confirmation that He is real, He is present in the Holy Eucharist, He is my Lord, Savior, and King.H He opened the door for me to have a personal and intimate relationship with Him to this very day! 
This beautiful encounter with Our Lord served as the foundation of discovering my vocation to proclaim and teach well in Jesus’ name, through which He has blessed me in more ways that I can give Him praise for. 
‘Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.’ Jn 6:54-55

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‘The most necessary part of my day’

Paulette Jones

I am an educator, and I experienced the most challenging school year of my career during this past year. Over the course of the school year, I would often be observed asking people to pray for myself and the staff that I worked with. Just a few short months ago, a friend invited me to the adoration chapel at our church and I went for the first time. After my first visit, I felt compelled to go again and visited almost every day the following week. During that time, I decided to commit more of my time during the Lenten season to spending time at the adoration chapel and learning more about Christ's passion. This ended up being the most spiritually impactful experience of my life. During my time spent in adoration, I found the strength and peace that I needed and improved my relationship with God. I found my ‘priorities’ have shifted and realized that I should not have tried to take on the challenges of my life alone. I now seek God through extended time in prayer when I need strength. Now, I find my time spent in eucharistic adoration has become the most necessary part of my day. I finally realized that I cannot do ANYTHING without intercession and intervention. In addition, my time spent in adoration has also increased my love and appreciation for the sacrifice of the Mass and the Eucharist. It has truly changed my life in ways I did not think possible.

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