Students participate in the Calgary Catholic School District’s 45 hours of Eucharistic adoration at St. Francis High School. Photo courtesy CCSD

Adoration focuses on God’s call to serve

  • March 28, 2024

Classrooms, offices and chapels across the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) are animated by the power of prayer this Lenten season.

More than 1,000 students, teachers, administrators and support staff from Alberta’s largest Catholic school division spiritually engaged in 45 non-consecutive hours of Eucharistic adoration from Feb. 26 to March 6. The CCSD took a cue from the Diocese of Calgary, which is hosting 40 hours of veneration at various parishes from February to May. The particular intention at the heart of the respective prayer marathons was for participants to discern their vocational calling from God. 

Michelle Hoogveld, the CCSD’s district chaplain, prepared a booklet filled with devotions, liturgies, Scripture passages and hymns suitable for adoration during the weeks leading up to Easter. Of course, there were also opportunities for silent prayer and meditation.

Hoogveld said the feedback on this new initiative from the 11 participating high schools — each offered over four hours of adoration — was so positive that they called for it to be a CCSD annual tradition, a request that has been officially granted.

“(Students and staff) were very appreciative of the opportunity,” said Hoogveld. “Many found it very prayerful and peaceful; for some, it was a brand new way to pray. The strongest feedback is the questions that came after. (We were asked) ‘when are we doing this again?’ You could see in them a desire for this kind of prayer and a willingness to participate in it.”

Notre Dame High School, located in Calgary’s Country Hills Village neighbourhood, featured the most elaborate worship celebration. Fr. J.P. Luxbacher, the associate pastor at Ascension Parish, guided an indoor Eucharistic procession carrying the Blessed Sacrament around the entire school for its more than 2,000 students.

Other clerics who assisted in this endeavour were Franciscan Friar Fr. Daniel Gurnick, Fr. Eli Canete from St. James Parish, Fr. Dominic Tuan Quoc Ngo of Holy Trinity Parish and Deacon Rob McLean of St. Gerard’s Parish.

Each of these guest priests and the school chaplains spiritually steering the sacred adoration activities did ensure each participant contemplated the traditional question Christians ponder during the 40 days before Holy Week: “how do I fully surrender to Jesus Christ?”

“What we did aligns with the message of our school district to live and learn in their Catholic faith and reach their full potential, of which a spiritual life and holiness is a part of that,” said Hoogveld.

“Eucharistic adoration is really about expressing our thanksgiving to Jesus and inviting Him into our hearts. What we want for our students is a beautiful relationship with Jesus and for them to know they can come to Him at any time, especially when they are carrying heavy burdens as the Scriptures tell us.”

As for nurturing vocations, Hoogveld said this will remain a focus of the CCSD throughout the Easter season via religion class discussions and clergy visits. The school district is also encouraging students and their families to attend the Vocations Rally being hosted at St. Michael’s Parish on April 21 where they will learn about the state of religious vocations in Canada and receive guidance on discerning God’s call.

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.