By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T
NEWTOWN – It was Jesus who told us, “Let the children come to me, do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
At St. Andrew Parish in Newtown, Bucks County, parents are bringing their children to Jesus for Eucharistic Adoration through a special Holy Hour for children on the first Tuesday of the month. It started in October during the parish Forty Hours celebration and is now continuing as a monthly day of Adoration.
“This is specifically for families with children,” said Theresa Kern, one of the organizers, and the parent of Emma, 11, and Cecilia, 4. “For me, through Adoration, I feel a connection with my faith and with Jesus. I hope my girls are learning about Adoration as I did as a child.”
There are parents volunteering to be captains for the hour, and some, depending on the restlessness of a child, might stay a few minutes, others for the full hour.
Because many of the children are young, child-friendly devotional material is supplied, including religious coloring books. Although so far, it has not been necessary.
Jeanine Belcher, also a mother of two, Madeleine, 10, and Maura, 8, estimated about 100 parents and children attended the first Holy Hour. “It’s a great opportunity for children to learn about the Blessed Sacrament,” she said.
“I liked it; it was quiet and peaceful,” said Abbey Deegan, 10, who attended with her mother Christine and brother, Shane, 8. The family brought along rosaries and a Bible and definitely would do it again, Christine Deegan said.
For Shannon Perry, 11, it was her first time at Adoration. “There were a lot of people there and a couple of my friends. I liked it, I’ll do it again,” she said.
That’s fine with her mother Bridgitte Perry, who sometimes fills in for her own mother at the Perpetual Adoration Chapel at St. Ignatius Parish, Yardley, and often just pops in herself. “I go when I can. I wish we had a Perpetual Adoration Chapel here,” she said.
Lori Rawski, one of the captains for the November children’s Eucharistic Adoration, estimated there were 30 to 40 children and about 15 adults. “Most stayed,” she said. “It was amazing how reverent and prayerful it was. Even the little ones were quiet.”
“It was nice and quiet, spiritual and prayerful,” said her 14-year-old son, Luke. “I learned a lot about Adoration, and I would do it again.”
His brother, Patrick, 11, brought along a friend, James, who isn’t Catholic. James was staying with the family because his mother was in the hospital with cancer, and they both prayed the rosary for her.
Overall, the organizers observed, the children’s Holy Hour has a good mix of children from the parish school and public school children in PREP classes, which fosters a greater sense of community among the young people of the parish.
Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.