I don’t usually complain or even raise an eyebrow at what churches do, but I had an experience this evening that seemed odd at the local Adoration chapel.
A couple of the churches around here have Adoration one or more days per week in a chapel that is basically a smaller worship space for Mass and is used for weekday Masses, other special small Masses, and group prayers/ Holy Hours. As would be expected, Jesus is not exposed during any of the Masses. He is sometimes exposed during the group prayers and Holy Hours, which might have different elements like an approved hymn being played, someone reading a reflection, time for silent Adoration, and a group saying the Rosary, the Divine Mercy chaplet, and other prayers together.
Tonight I went by the chapel that usually has Wednesday Adoration, and all was as usual, except I noticed a group coming in for the last hour of Adoration and I figured it was some retreat group or other group going to have a Holy Hour followed by Benediction at the end of the Adoration time. I was a bit surprised when the priest and altar server came in, we sang a hymn, and then the priest and server sat down while another priest got up and delivered a “faith formation” lecture for 45 minutes with the host exposed. The topic didn’t have much of anything to do with what I consider “faith formation” (it was a parenting topic dealing with an aspect of our culture; most of the people there were so old their kids were probably middle-aged) but the lecture was good, well researched, well planned, and well delivered. However, I was a bit weirded out by the fact that Jesus was sitting on the altar in a monstrance while the people were listening to a lecture on a topic not particularly tied to scripture or prayer.
As I was not particularly interested in the lecture topic, but didn’t really want to get up and walk out on Jesus and had more prayers to say, I discreetly prayed for the 45 minutes. Then we had a short (about 10 minutes) silent Adoration time, followed by Benediction and reposing of the Host.
Some thoughts that crossed my mind were that the presence of Jesus no doubt confers some grace to those who were trying to get insights by attending the lecture, that Jesus likely blessed this effort as the parish is genuinely trying to inform people on a timely topic, that perhaps Jesus enjoyed hearing an engaging lecture, and that He had probably 50 people in the chapel visiting Him who wouldn’t have been there on a normal night when all that was going on was prayers and Benediction (when attendance is normally more like 5 to 15 people). However, I would have thought that they would have reposed the Host before the lecture, or had the lecture on a night that wasn’t Adoration night.
Is this type of thing done in anyone else’s parish? Do you often have lectures, or something other than a Holy Hour, in the presence of the exposed Eucharist?