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Group leader Rene Barahona led a procession of members of La Sociedad de Adoración Nocturna (Nocturnal Adoration Society) during a rotation of adorers as part of an overnight eucharistic adoration at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Ferguson on Feb. 3. Men, women and youth members take shifts throughout the night, concluding with a Rosary and Mass at 6 a.m.
Group leader Rene Barahona led a procession of members of La Sociedad de Adoración Nocturna (Nocturnal Adoration Society) during a rotation of adorers as part of an overnight eucharistic adoration at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Ferguson on Feb. 3. Men, women and youth members take shifts throughout the night, concluding with a Rosary and Mass at 6 a.m.
Photo Credit: Photos by Sid Hastings for the St. Louis Review

The Nocturnal Adoration Society offers a ‘bridge of prayers’ in their late-night eucharistic adoration

Members of the Nocturnal Adoration Society (Sociedad de Adoración Nocturna) dedicate themselves to prayer before the Blessed Sacrament

Amy Camarillo, 6, left, and her sister Mia, 8, led the procession for La Sociedad de Adoración Nocturna (Nocturnal Adoration Society) at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on Feb. 3. Members of the Nocturnal Adoration Society take turns praying before the Blessed Sacrament overnight, usually ending with Benediction and Mass.
Photo Credits: Photo by Sid Hastings for the St. Louis Review
Rogelio Guerrero’s earliest memories of attending late night eucharistic adoration with his father stretch back to when he was about 7 years old.

Guerrero was introduced to the Sociedad de Adoración Nocturna, or Nocturnal Adoration Society, at his childhood parish in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Its members make a commitment to eucharistic devotion, staying with the Blessed Sacrament all through the night, typically once a month. Guerrero officially became part of the society at the age of 11.

Decades later as an adult, Guerrero understands the seed that had been planted as a child that helped foster an appreciation for Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist. He is part of a group of Latino Catholics who have introduced the society to parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis in the past decade.

Father Patrick Hayden, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, led the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament during overnight adoration hosted by the Nocturnal Adoration Society at the church on Feb. 3. The Nocturnal Adoration Society is an archconfraternity founded in Rome in 1810 with chapters worldwide.
Photo Credits: Photo by Sid Hastings for the St. Louis Review
“Having Jesus the Lord (at adoration), there is a presence of Him,” Guerrero said through a translator. “We receive His grace to continue with our lives. Being with the holy sacrament is a strength and a pillar for our Church and also for our faith.”

Keeping watch with Jesus

It’s 7 o’clock on a Saturday evening, and a consistent stream of men, women and children arrive at the cafeteria at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Ferguson for the monthly gathering of the Nocturnal Adoration Society. Upstairs in the church, Jesus waits for them.

Several dozen people, wearing gold shirts with the society’s logo emblazoned on them and some donning medals hanging from gold and white ribbons, take their places as they wait for the evening of prayer to start. Some of them write prayer intentions and place them into a basket, which will later be included in a procession led by the children upstairs to the church.

For the better part of a decade, the Nocturnal Adoration Society has been a mainstay at Our Lady of Guadalupe. The group’s women and children typically pray in the earlier hours of the evening, with small groups of men taking the overnight shifts. Their prayer concludes with Benediction and Rosary at 5 a.m. Sunday, followed by Mass at 6 a.m.

People participated in eucharistic adoration hosted by the La Sociedad de Adoración Nocturna at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Ferguson on Feb. 3.
Photo Credits: Photo by Sid Hastings for the St. Louis Review
Israel Hernandez, current chapter president at Our Lady of Guadalupe, said there is value that comes with the sacrifice of praying in the middle of the night. Members are faithful to Christ’s invitation to keep watch with Him, just like the Garden of Gethsemane, which showed the close relationship that Jesus had with His Father.

“It’s a privilege to be part of adoration and to be present with Him,” Hernandez said through a translator. “We are blessed to have this time with Him.”

History of the society

The Nocturnal Adoration Society began in Rome in 1809, during a time of political upheaval. In the aftermath of the French Revolution, Napoleon had risen to power and made Pope Pius VII his prisoner. A priest in the city of Rome, Father Giacomo Sinibaldi, was inspired to gather together groups of men to pray in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament during the night hours in the churches of Rome, where the Forty Hours devotion already was taking place.

By 1810, ecclesiastical approval was given the first adorers, and the Nocturnal Adoration Society came into existence. The Society was raised to the status of archconfraternity in 1858, meaning that it has the authority to establish nocturnal adoration societies elsewhere.

Since then, the practice of nocturnal adoration, typically held on the first Friday or Saturday or the month, has spread around the world. The Society exists in 36 countries and has more than one million members. The U.S. headquarters is located in Laredo, Texas.

Members follow the prayers in a bilingual Office of the Most Blessed Sacrament book, which is similar to the Liturgy of Hours but with some

Ervin Perez, a member of the Nocturnal Adoration Society at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, placed a prayer intention in a basket. While one group is participating in adoration, other groups have sessions in the church basement including reflection and offering prayer intentions.
Photo Credits: Photo by Sid Hastings for the St. Louis Review
adaptations in keeping with the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy.

In the Archdiocese of St. Louis, St. Charles Borromeo Parish in St. Charles also hosts a chapter of the society, which meets monthly. Catholics there and at Our Lady of Guadalupe are hoping to expand to other parishes here.

The grace of eucharistic prayer

On this particular night in February, the group at Our Lady of Guadalupe offered its prayer intentions for those who are terminally ill. “This night, there are a lot of needs out there,” Raul Camarillo, who will succeed Hernandez as chapter president in March, said through a translator. “We can help our brothers and sisters by praying for them. This night is going to be a bridge of prayers — only with one Jesus, with one God — and with our bridge of prayers we will reach Him.”

Someone once reminded Camarillo that members of the society are not just part of an adoration group once a month, but are an extension of everything they do. “We are an example and have to show that example to others,” he said. “We have to show we are the image of Christ and what kind of effect He’s had in our lives. God has called us for a reason and purpose. The Lord talks to each one of us in a different way, and now it’s time for us to put into practice everything we have learned through this.”

Youth members of the La Sociedad de Adoración Nocturna (Nocturnal Adoration Society) participated in eucharistic adoration at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Ferguson on Feb. 3.
Photo Credits: Photo by Sid Hastings for the St. Louis Review
Father Patrick Hayden, who came to Our Lady of Guadalupe in August as pastor, described the group as having a missionary character that offers graces not just for the parish, but for the entire Church through their prayers.

“It’s the contribution of eucharistic charity that comes from being with the Lord all night long, the contribution of sacrifice and of vigilance,” he said. That Sunday’s readings described Jesus spending time in prayer. The disciples are looking for Him, but He tells them it’s time to move on to other places where He may preach.

“There’s a missionary character to this and that is something that is a grace,” Father Hayden said. The society’s prayers “contribute a prayerfulness to the mission of the parish … and support the people of the community with their prayers.”

As for Guerrero, he hopes that seeds are being planted among the group’s youngest participants. “Nowadays everybody has the internet at the palm of their hands. Young people, teenagers, are becoming interested in things that are not good for their faith,” he said. “Everything changes so quickly, and I hope they have the will to know what it means to be with Jesus Christ.”

>> In their words

Azi Barahona
Azi Barahona, 15

Eucharistic adoration has given Azi a greater attention to the presence of Jesus in her life. Azi helps lead some of the prayers during adoration. “When I see the (host in the monstrance) it draws my attention that I should be praying. I’ve gained a lot more peace and wanting to start coming here more often. I remember this one story in the Bible where Jesus has His disciples with Him and saying I’m going to go pray — stay awake and pray with me. It’s like us doing the same thing and represents staying awake and praying like how God asked His disciples.”

Jennifer Lopez, 11
Jennifer Lopez

“The first time I came here, I was really surprised how I got so into it. This is the first time I have been very into something like this. For me, it’s talking (to God) in my mind and I block everything out. I wish more people knew about Jesus.”

Maria Zamacona
Maria Zamacona, 22

Maria admitted she wasn’t enthused about coming to adoration with her family when she began attending several years ago. “But then I started to learn more and give more to God. I feel so much better coming here every month. It feels so beautiful when I am praying and singing.”

Enrique Vidalez, 13
Enrique Vidalez

Being able to spend time in prayer with Jesus makes Enrique want to know Him more. “I feel just peace and quiet. I’m sitting down or kneeling and thinking about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I pray for my family.”

This is the first in a three-part series on the Lenten aspects of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Here are some ideas for making the most of your time in eucharistic adoration during Lent and beyond:

Don’t make it complicated. Just be silent. Enjoy being in the presence of Jesus. To help prepare your mind for the overwhelmingness of silence, read “The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise,” by Cardinal Robert Sarah.

Do some homework. Before going to adoration, spend some time learning more about Jesus, His life, His works here on earth, His institution of the Eucharist, and His passion and death upon the cross.

Pray the prayers of the Mass, the Psalms, the Jesus Prayer (Lord Jesus, have mercy on me as a sinner).

Stay focused. Keep your eyes on the Eucharist as you talk to Jesus and listen to Him. If it becomes difficult to focus, perhaps bring a journal and write to Jesus. Fixing your eyes on the pattern of the host in the monstrance can help with focus, too.

Explore different types of prayer. Adoration, contrition, supplication, thanksgiving. But as the name implies, eucharistic adoration should primarily be adoration (love and proper worship of God solely because of who He is).

Bring something along. Some go-to suggestions include the Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet, a journal, Scripture readings for a Bible study group, etc.

Letty Camarillo and her daughters Mia, 8, and Amy, 6, recited prayers during eucharistic adoration.
Photo Credits: Photo by Sid Hastings for the St. Louis Review

Nocturnal Adoration Society

There are chapters of the Nocturnal Adoration Society among the Spanish-speaking communities at Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Charles Borromeo Parish in St. Charles. Members would like to expand the society’s presence to other parishes in the archdiocese.

To learn more about the Nocturnal Adoration Society and starting a chapter at your parish, contact Letty Camarillo at (971) 255-2507 or email [email protected]

Para obtener más información sobre la Sociedad de Adoración Nocturna y para iniciar un capítulo en su parroquia, comuníquese con Rogelio Guerrero al (636) 352-5659 o correo electrónico [email protected]

Noctural Adoration Society/Sociedad de Adoración Nocturna: nationalnocturnaladorationsociety.org

Additional eucharistic adoration resources

Real Presence Education Foundation: realpresence-edu.org

National Eucharistic Revival website: www.eucharisticrevival.org

Eucharistic Revival in the Archdiocese of St. Louis: www.archstl.org/eucharistic-revival

The Archbishop’s Committee for Eucharistic Adoration: archstl.org/adoration

“Manual for Eucharistic Adoration,” by the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, St. Joseph, Saint Benedict Press: www.saintbenedictpress.com

Visit Mount Grace Convent and the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters (Pink Sisters) in St. Louis: www.mountgraceconvent.org

Eucharistic devotion from the USCCB: stlreview.com/3uvGW59

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