Perpetual Adoration Since 1993: In 1993 at the 45th International Eucharistic Congress in Seville Spain, Pope John Paul II said: “I hope that ... perpetual adoration, with permanent exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, will continue into the future. Specifically, I hope that the fruit of this Congress results in the establishment of perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in all parishes and Christian communities throughout the world.” A number of dioceses took him to heart, including three dioceses which Adoration Servants has supported in their Eucharistic Adoration efforts namely Chicago, New Orleans, and San Antonio.
Before going forward a few terms related to adoration need to be formally defined because depending on whom you talk to, these same terms can mean different things. The USCCB publication Thirty-one Questions on Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is the source of these definitions: Adoration Prayer before the Blessed Sacrament housed within the tabernacle. Exposition The Blessed Sacrament is displayed outside the tabernacle in a monstrance or ciborium for public veneration by the faithful. Perpetual An extended period of time. NOT necessarily 24 hours per day 7 days per week It is important to note the “Perpetual Adoration” does not necessarily mean 24/7 and it does not necessarily mean exposition is taking place.
Note how Pope John Paul II’s statement above says “perpetual adoration, with permanent exposition”. Exposition is key because, as the USCCB tells us, exposition “acknowledge[s] Christ's marvelous presence in the sacrament” and due to this fact we human beings are drawn more to adoration when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed.
Throughout this website, the term “Perpetual Exposition” will be used but it should be realized that, for the most part, the term “Perpetual Adoration” usually means exposition is taking place. According to the USCCB, “Perpetual Exposition” is not necessarily 24/7 but any regularly scheduled period of time.
The chart on this page graphs the Laity per Priest Ratio for four dioceses as well as the number of chapels with various levels of Perpetual Exposition. The Laity per Priest Ratio means how many lay persons are in dioceses for every one priest.
According to the article the Diocese of Orange has 4,472 laypersons for every priest (a high, undesirable ratio) while Chicago has only 1,371 laypersons for each priest (a lower, more desirable ration).
For perspective, if all the Catholics in the diocese of Orange went to confession once a month averaging 5 minutes per confession, the priests of Orange would have to spend 372 hours each month in the confessional which would work out to 86 hours per week. Impossible. If all the Catholics in the archdiocese of Chicago went to confession once a month averaging 5 minutes per confession, the priests of Chicago would have to spend 114 hours each month in the confessional which would work out to 26 hours per week. Difficult but doable.
The Orange County Catholic article is and the data in the chart is several years old. The diocese of Oranges does have at least one 24/7 chapel now. The correlation is noticeable. The dioceses with more perpetual exposition have had an increase in ordinations and have a lower Laity to Priest ratio. That is one answer to the question “Why Adoration?” The purpose of this website is not so much to encourage adoration as to offer help to those engaged in it. As such, other Eucharistic Adoration organizations have more comprehensive answers to “Why Adoration?” You can check our links page for some of their websites.