Increase in Student Desire for the Eucharist at Boston College

Adoration at Cushing Chapel Boston College
Adoration at Cushing Chapel

by Mathieu Ronayne

 

Boston College has witnessed an increase in opportunities to engage with the sacraments and develop personal prayer life this semester, and particularly over the month of February. Access to many of the Church’s foundational sacraments are already well-established on campus and nearby: daily Masses at St. Mary’s, Candlelight Mass at St. Joe’s, confession, Latin Mass organized by Una Voce, (Boston College's Latin Mass Society), and various other activities. Through primarily student-led initiatives, access to other forms of worship has grown through Adoration, Taize prayer, and other informal prayer groups.

One of the most substantial developments has been the increased desire for and access to Eucharistic Adoration, and now the campus sees several opportunities each week. Through the St. Thomas More Society, Adoration occurs in St. Mary’s Chapel most Monday evenings from 6:00pm-6:45pm, accompanied by a chance for Confession and closed with Benediction. Furthermore, student-organized Adoration is available nearly every Tuesday from 9:00am-4:00pm in the chapel in the third floor of Cushing Hall. Students volunteer to fill 45-minute blocks of time so that the Blessed Sacrament is never left alone, and others may come and go as they please. Recently, students have been organizing Praise and Worship Adoration on various evenings in St. Joseph’s Chapel from 9:00pm-9:50pm, preceding Candlelight Mass at 10:00pm. While Adoration at St. Mary’s and the Cushing Chapel is almost entirely silent, Praise and Worship is distinguished by the accompaniment of various contemporary worship songs sung by students.

As for other opportunities for worship, Taizé prayer has been coordinated primarily by the Christian Life Community (CLC) on various Monday evenings from 8:00pm-8:30pm in St. Ignatius Church. In a previous issue of The Torch, Jeffrey Lindholm described Taizé Prayer as he writing, “The scene is a dark church, with candles as the only source of light. Students, adults, and clergy members surround an altar formed by lit candles and a San Damiano crucifix. Prayer is quite simple, with one or two-line chants.” The practice originated in France during World War II, and has continued to spread through Catholic and Protestant groups alike—among them, young adults at Boston College.

Beyond such events coordinated with Campus Ministry, students have also informally extended their practices of spiritual development. Following Candlelight Mass, a group often meets to chant Night Prayer, the final hour of the Divine Office. It includes an opening prayer, an examination of conscience, a hymn, the singing of Psalms and Canticles, a reading from Scripture, a responsory and concluding prayer, and an antiphon to the Blessed Mother. Additionally, students on the Newton campus have begun to organize a group to say the rosary together in evenings at Trinity Chapel. They are looking to formalize and expand this group to include other prayers and practices, such as the Stations of the Cross and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

 

As the Church moves into the Lenten season, the Jesuit charism of Boston College encourages students to explore such opportunities, and develop their own informal practices of spiritual growth. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church's penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).” Reach out to Campus Ministry or student members and leaders of faith-based clubs on campus to find ways to engage more deeply in the sacramental life.


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