Worldwide synchronized eucharistic adoration this Sunday

A worldwide eucharistic adoration event will take place this Sunday, June 2. The event, anchored by the participation of Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, is supposed to take place simultaneously in churches throughout the world from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm Rome time. The Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, which is spearheading the event, has chosen the theme of “One Lord, One Faith,” “to testify to the deep unity that characterizes” the event.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella notes in the report: “It will be an event occurring for the first time in the history of the Church, which is why we can describe it as ‘historical’. The cathedrals of the world will be synchronized with Rome and will, for an hour, be in communion with the Pope in Eucharistic adoration. There has been an incredible response to this initiative, going beyond the cathedrals and involving episcopal conferences, parishes, lay associations, and religious congregations, especially cloistered ones.”

Says the report: “From the Cook Islands to Chile, Burkina Faso, Taiwan, Iraq, Bangladesh, the United States, and the Philippines, the dioceses will be synchronized with St. Peter’s and will pray for the intentions proposed by the Pope.”

It is, to me, a fascinating and compelling idea. I like it. There’s an interesting conversation about it going on at the Pray Tell blog, focusing mainly on the advisability of the element of synchronicity. Was it wise to call for the observance to happen at the very same time all over the globe, even though that means it happens smack dab in the middle of Sunday morning parish Mass schedules all over the western hemisphere, and in the middle of the night in the far East? I’m inclined to think that it wasn’t. The idea of progressive global “wave” of eucharistic adoration washing across the planet, say at 5:00 pm local time everywhere, is equally compelling and far more practical.

The other problematic element to this is the poor planning and promotion of this. Have you heard of it? Had you heard of it before this week? Fisichella presented the details in a major press conference two days ago. There was a tiny trickle of information available just a bit before that. How are parishes around the globe to learn about, plan for, prepare, and promote events for their people with that kind of short notice?

Given the chance, I’m sure “news outlets” like the National Catholic Register, EWTN, etc, would have made loud noise about this for months, with all sorts of features, interviews, and columns. (As it is, there are 2 articles on the Register website about it, one from 2 weeks ago and one from yesterday.) I have no doubt many American bishops would also have played it up dramatically.Why wasn’t Archbishop Fisichella out giving interviews on this a month or two ago? Where’s the promotional video — or at least video comments from a smiling Fisichella — posted on YouTube? Tweets on the Pope’s Twitter account? This is being directed by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, for heaven’s sake! The best they could do is a press conference less than a week in advance?

Someone might remind them that JP2 defined the new evangelization as “new in ardor, methods, and expression,” and also of the meaning of that other word in their name, promoting.

The other event highlighted at the same press conference by Fisichella — again, poor methodology here: he couldn’t have focused on the adoration event in one press conference a month ago, and highlighted the second event on its own in a separate press conference at another time? — is “Evangelium Vitae Day,” to be observed June 15-16. Another interesting and worthwhile effort. More on that here soon.

Bishop Barber introduces himself

My goodness, be sure to watch the video of Bishop Michael Barber’s beautiful and dramatic comments at the close of his ordination Mass in Oakland on Saturday. They’ll be talking about that one for a while in that diocese. May God give him the grace to live up to the words he spoke.