A group that sponsored 140 Eucharistic Processions nationwide since mid-August is calling for all-day Eucharistic Adoration at more than 1,000 parishes on Election Day, to implore God’s help in electing just leaders who foster a culture of life.
Unite Our Nation, which began with one Eucharistic Procession on the riot-scarred streets of Wisconsin’s capital city on August 15, has since completed 140 such processions in places including San Diego, Calif.; Bothell, Wash.; Tyler, Texas; Gainesville, Va.; and Breezy Point, N.Y. Organizers now plan to arrange all-day Eucharistic Adoration at more than 1,000 churches while voters across America go to the polls for the presidential election.
“Can you imagine having a thousand parishes or more up and running with Eucharistic Adoration all day, begging God, asking God to open up the hearts and minds of people that they vote in a well-formed way, and that God send us holy and just leaders?” said Kevin O’Brien, co-founder of Unite Our Nation and the leader of the Men of Christ apostolate. “What a unifying thing.”
O’Brien said with so much anxiety over the country’s future, continuing violence in the streets and a bitter presidential election campaign, the group wanted to give people something positive to do on top of casting their vote on Election Day.
“When you work you eliminate worry. Action relieves anxiety,” O’Brien said. “This is a spiritual battle we’re in. We need spiritual weapons to fight this battle. That’s why we’re so hyper focused on Christ, glorifying God in everything we do, begging Him for mercy to heal our nation. This upcoming election is so important. We have nowhere else to go but to God.”
Unite Our Nation is asking parishes to offer Adoration after morning Mass and continuing until the polls close, followed by Benediction. The goal is to have 1,000 participating churches. So far, 645 have signed up based on very little publicity. As the group has done for the processions, Unite Our Nation has a web site offering pre-designed publicity materials, bulletin announcements and posters.
“We wanted to make it as easy as possible,” O’Brien said. “We took the same model that we used for the processions and said, ‘what do they need?’ They need a flyer that allows them to put their information in, they need an adoration sign-up sheet. They need to know what are the steps they need to go through? They need a bulletin insert.”
Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament is the perfect answer for the anger and violence that has plagued America for much of 2020, O’Brien said. “What does the devil do? He divides. He causes you to be full of anxiety. He’s driving destruction,” he said. “What does Christ do? He unites, he brings us together, he teaches us to forgive. It’s ringing in a culture of life versus ringing in a culture of death. Liberty and freedom versus tyranny and destruction.”
O’Brien said some of his own prayers on Election Day will be that more Catholics and other people of goodwill be shown the truth by the Holy Spirit of what is really happening in society.
“Let’s ask God to open up hearts and minds, because there are good people out there who really don’t understand what is really taking place,” O’Brien said. “How can somebody decide abortion is okay and call themselves a Catholic? It can’t be done. It just absolutely can’t be done.”
“We are interceding for those who have been blinded whether they’re living in mortal sin or cut off from that grace of God. We’re begging God to open up their hearts and minds, to show them the truth so they can see reality for what reality is.”
Fr. Richard Heilman, pastor of St. Mary of Pine Bluff Catholic Church near Madison, was already planning for all-day adoration when he heard about Unite Our Nation’s program. He adjusted the hours to match what the national program suggested. Fr. Heilman said he sensed entering 2020 that prayer would be very important with a presidential election on the horizon. Adoration has been offered frequently at St. Mary, even during the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fr. Heilman organized a Eucharistic Procession to the Wisconsin Capitol Building on June 14, the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.
“Adoration is extremely powerful,” Fr. Heilman said. “Here’s just how powerful it is. In my 32 years of priesthood, the vast majority of conversion stories I have heard revolved around someone finding their way before the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration, and that changed everything.”
In mid-January, Fr. Heilman announced he would lead a Rosary procession with the Blessed Sacrament around the Wisconsin Capitol Building. The procession took place on Jan. 31, the feast of St. John Bosco. It also ended up being the day President Trump announced a travel ban from China due to the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.
“I thought we needed to pray going into this year,” he said. “I called upon the faithful to do what was called the two-pillars march around the state Capitol. That meant St. John Bosco’s two pillars. To march the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Mother around the state Capitol as we’re going into this brutal year.”
St. John Bosco (1815-1888), founder of the Salesian Society, once told of a dream he had involving a great majestic ship that was buffeted by waves and attacked by many smaller ships. He saw two giant columns rise from the waves, one bearing a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary with a sign that read Auxilium Christianorum (Help of Christians), the other a great Host with a sign that said, Salus Credentium (Salvation of Believers). The captain steered the ship between the pillars and secured it with chains hooked to anchors atop each pillar. The ship signified the Church and the captain represented the Holy Father.
“There remain only two means to save ourselves in the midst of so much danger and confusion,” Bosco said when recounting the dream in 1862. “Devotion to Mary Immaculate, frequent Confession and Communion. It is necessary to use every means and try our best to practice them and have them practiced everywhere and by all.”
Fr. Heilman said he has often thought of St. John Bosco during this troubled year. “Here we are now, understanding by way of the Holy Spirit, that the way out of this, to heal our land, to seek God’s supernatural power and strength, is exactly through those two columns,” he said.
Parishes wishing to participate in the Unite Our Nation program can register on the group’s web site, which also contains downloadable publicity templates. O’Brien said he believes the effort will yield great fruit. “We all have friends and family that are full of anxiety right now,” he said. “Bring them to the Prince of Peace and they will find that peace and God will bless our efforts. I have complete confidence that God will answer our prayers.”
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