LIMA, Peru (ChurchMilitant.com) - Not waiting for their shepherds to lead the way, full-of-faith Peruvian parishioners have come up with a way to keep hope alive during these dark hours and are using the rooftop of their church to proclaim a message of hope.
It was the flock at Lima's St. Anthony of Padua parish who came up with the idea. When they went to their priest, Fr. Enrique Díaz, and asked if they could create a lighted exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on the rooftop of their church, he was 100% behind them.
The idea was to have a Holy Hour display of the monstrance after dusk on Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22, accompanied by lights and Peruvian music so people could pray for victims of the communist-created Wuhan virus as well as give thanks for their own good health.
Why the rooftop?
St. Anthony of Padua is located in Lima's Jesus Maria district, an area home to lower-to-upper-middle class families. Because of its proximity to the downtown area, the district is currently experiencing an economic resurgence, including a boom of high-rise apartments and condominiums. Placing the Blessed Sacrament exposition on the rooftop allowed high-rise apartment dwellers to look down on the display and experience it as a community.
As reported in National Catholic Register, a nearby restaurant supported the idea and provided the lighting and the necessary equipment so all the neighbors in the high rises could experience the hour of adoration.
Father Díaz said that "it was beautiful, and it was very well received by all the people in the neighboring buildings."
The priest drew attention to the evangelistic dimension of the display when he mentioned that the parish's neighbors, "not all of them Catholic," came to their windows and balconies and many knelt before the Blessed Sacrament.
In his statement, he said, "You see the need for God in the world, you see the need for all the neighbors who are here to be able to have the presence of Jesus."
Eucharistic adoration is a powerful, spiritual tool that has fallen out of favor. One expert notes that "During the first part of the 20th century, it was common for Catholics, young and old, on their way home from work or school, en route to the grocery store or a sports practice, to 'stop in for a visit' to the Blessed Sacrament in their local church. Most times the Eucharist was not exposed, but a red candle — then, as now — showed the Presence in the tabernacle."
That level of devotion to the Real Presence of Our Lord is rarely seen in the 21st century and runs counter to prevailing trends. In February, for example, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA), based in La Crosse, Wisconsin, ended their perpetual adoration after almost a century and a half. Church Militant reported, "The sisters, who have been adoring Christ non-stop for 142 years, have announced they will cease the devotion."
Similar to the adoration in Lima, a light was kept lit atop the sisters' chapel domes as a visible sign of the uninterrupted prayer going out for the city of La Crosse and for the world.
Reflecting on the initiative at St. Anthony of Padua, Fr. Díaz remarked, "For those who have faith, however difficult it may be, you always have the consolation and hope that the world doesn't slip out of God's hands, that he is always in control of everything."