With faithful reverence and humility, parishioners of St. John the Evangelist and Our Lady of Peace and employees of the New York Catholic Center prayed, sang and reflected before the Blessed Sacrament during the first monthly archdiocesan Holy Hour.
The prayers and reflections were sometimes in unison while all were standing, and sometimes in silence while they were sitting or kneeling—with the Blessed Sacrament set in a monstrance on the partially purple-draped altar, and a large lighted candle at each corner.
The gatherings, designed to promote the spiritual renewal of the archdiocese, are offered on First Fridays at the church, located on the ground floor of the Catholic Center on East 55th Street at First Avenue in Manhattan. Other parishes have been invited by Cardinal Dolan to pray for the renewal of the archdiocese at their own First Friday Adoration. (The Holy Hour at St. John the Evangelist took place during the parish’s First Friday Adoration.)
The first Holy Hour was held on the World Day of Prayer, March 6. Msgr. Joseph LaMorte, the archdiocese’s vicar general and moderator of the curia, led the Holy Hour.
“On behalf of the entire Catholic Center, thank you for coming—those from the offices, those from the neighborhood,” Msgr. LaMorte told the faithful at the end of the Holy Hour. “It’s a good opportunity for us as God’s people to be united in prayer— praying for our renewal of mind and heart, which we need so badly, so desperately.”
The singing of hymns was led by the cantor who also served as organist. The hymns included “The King of Love,” “Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All” and “Abide With Me.”
The monthly gathering is called “Holy Hour For The Renewal of Our Prayer Life and An Increase in Our Faith.” The March program cited Colossians 4:2, “Persevere in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
At the start of the Holy Hour, Msgr.
LaMorte, reading from the program, led a reflection on St. Patrick, patron saint of the Archdiocese of New York. Msgr. LaMorte said, “One of these saints was St. Patrick, who was given the mission to evangelize an entire nation by guiding men and women back to the Truth…In the words taken from his ‘Confessio,’ we proclaim: Let every tongue confess that Jesus Christ, in Whom we believe and Whom we await to come back to us in the near future, is Lord and God.”
Catherine Campisi, finance office administrator at the archdiocesan Metropolitan Tribunal in the Catholic Center, was among the faithful attending the Holy Hour, which took place from 1 to 2 p.m.
“Having the quiet and the prayer and the music brought me to a deeper place,” Ms. Campisi told Catholic New York after the Holy Hour. “All of us praying together and sitting quietly together with the Lord and the Blessed Sacrament, it was very powerful; it did really deepen my prayer, being close to the Lord.”
Ms. Campisi, a parishioner of Immaculate Conception on East 14th Street in Manhattan, said she prays before the Blessed Sacrament regularly, but doing so in unison with other members of the faithful, with the quietude and the organ music, made the prayerful experience even stronger and more profound.
“It was beautiful, to be able to pray with other people from the offices and the people of the parish together,” Elizabeth Guevara de Gonzalez, director of the archdiocesan Adult Faith Formation Office, told CNY after the Holy Hour.
“It was a very united effort and we felt it. The power of Jesus’ presence is truly felt.
“I hope that it really helps people in their spiritual life. I hope it helps deepen their prayer life.”
Ms. Gonzalez said she also hopes word of the monthly Holy Hour continues to spread, and that more and more people attend each month.
The next archdiocesan Holy Hour is scheduled for Friday, April 3. Bishop Peter Byrne, episcopal vicar of the Bronx, Sound Shore and Yonkers, will be the celebrant.
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