Members of the Fairfield community are welcome to participate in Eucharistic Adoration at the Egan Chapel of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. The practice, referred to as “Holy Hour,” takes place from 8 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday evenings.
Father Nicholas Colalella, a Jesuit novice, shared that the concept of Eucharistic Adoration dates back to the fifth century. It was first alluded to by St. Augustine, who stated “‘no one eats [Christ’s] flesh without first adoring it.’”
According to Colalella, St. Augustine is referring to the Catholic belief that “at Mass, the bread and wine become the real body and blood of the Risen Jesus.”
“The consecrated host, though it still looks like bread, has been substantially changed into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ,” Colalella continued.
“At Mass, we consume the host, with the hope that we will become more like Jesus. During Eucharistic Adoration, a consecrated host is placed in an elaborate stand called a ‘monstrance’ and is set on the altar for all to see. This reminds us that Jesus keeps his promise to be with us for all ages (Matthew 28:20).”
Colalella expressed that the tradition has evolved, “as the more elaborate ceremonies that we have now, with the monstrance and incense, took shape sometime during the Middle Ages.”
The mass offers attendees a rare opportunity to spend a prolonged period of time in silence. The tranquil atmosphere, paired with warm lighting and an inviting aroma of incense, is ideal for thoughtful reflection and prayer.
Angelo Corsini, a sophomore at Fairfield, meditated on the essence of serenity he experienced during Eucharistic Adoration.
“During the ‘Holy Hour’ we were given the chance to meet with Jesus through Adoration of the Eucharist, engage in prayer and confess our sins,” Corsini illustrated. “It gave me a chance to drop everything else going on in my life, examine my conscience, and spend some time with the Lord.”
Corsini admitted, “I thought an hour of adoration would drag on, but I was so focused on introspection that it ended up flying by [and] I walked out of the chapel feeling as if a burden had been lifted off my shoulders.”
Notably, the ceremony’s silence is broken by a selection of traditional Latin hymns. These hymns, as Colalella explained, were composed in the thirteenth century by St. Thomas Aquinas. The compositions were created at the request of Pope Urban IV and Colalella reiterated that their texts capture “the Catholic belief in Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist.”
In these moments, the Egan Chapel is filled with the song and instrumentation of Fairfield’s Music Ministry group, The Grace Notes.
First-year Charlotte Lignowski is a member of the choir who recently “gained a new appreciation for song as a form of prayer.”
Lignowski revealed that her involvement in “Holy Hour” has “truly deepened that appreciation” and she loves “using this time not only as a break from [her] busy schedule but also to come together with friends and worship God through sacred music.”
The Music Ministry is student-driven. The Grace Notes are led by Nicholas Stampone ‘24. Stampone’s responsibilities are multifaceted, as he holds the title of Director and organist.
“All of us in Music Ministry love making music for Sunday masses and guiding others to God,” Stampone voiced.
Stampone observed that “members [of The Grace Notes] wanted to find additional outlets to serve the community, and Adoration is a truly special way to do just that.”
The worship concludes with “Benediction”. Colalella described that the priest, cloaked in golden vestments, “blesses the congregation with the consecrated host.”
Colalella summarized the solemn ritual as “a great way to escape the busyness of the day, recollect, and reconnect with God, self and others.”
The Egan Chapel of Saint Ignatius of Loyola is located on Bellarmine Road, in the heart of Fairfield’s campus. Confessions are available during the hour and students may stay for the duration, or stop by for a short visit. Students are encouraged to volunteer as singers or servers. If interested, please contact Father Nicholas Colalella (firstname.lastname@example.org).