May 6, 2022

Youth’s goal to ‘Make Heaven Crowded’ begins with her love of eucharistic adoration

Wearing her sweatshirt stitched with the phrase, “Make Heaven Crowded,” 18-year-old Celia Boring has made it a goal during her senior year at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis to spend more time in eucharistic adoration—and invite others to do the same. Here, she poses in front of a stained-glass window featuring Jesus and the Eucharist in the school’s chapel. (Photo by John Shaughnessy)

Wearing her sweatshirt stitched with the phrase, “Make Heaven Crowded,” 18-year-old Celia Boring has made it a goal during her senior year at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis to spend more time in eucharistic adoration—and invite others to do the same. Here, she poses in front of a stained-glass window featuring Jesus and the Eucharist in the school’s chapel. (Photo by John Shaughnessy)

(Editor’s note: The Criterion invited people to share their stories of how their participation in eucharistic adoration has touched their lives and deepened their relationship with Jesus. Here are three of their stories.)
 

By John Shaughnessy

The power of an invitation sank in for Celia Boring, moving the 18-year-old youth to tears.

A student at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, Celia had gone on her senior retreat in September of this school year—a retreat during which she made new friends, moved closer to old friends, and discovered that more than anything she wanted a friendship with God.

Hoping to grow in that friendship with God, Celia made it a goal for her senior year that she would spend more time with him in prayer, including arriving early every Wednesday morning for eucharistic adoration in Roncalli’s chapel.

“It helps me be more open to a relationship with God,” she said, “taking the time to listen and pray to God for answers when I feel lost—and taking the time to thank him for everything he has given me.

“Whatever anxieties, concerns or hardships I have instantly disappear as I am able to fully place my focus on God through the consecrated Eucharist.”

As much as that time means to her, Celia also noticed that there were only a few people there for adoration in the early weeks of the school year. So she started to invite her friends, wanting them to experience the same “life-changing power of prayer in Christ’s presence.” And after her friends came, they started to invite other friends. It all led to a moment that still touches her months later.

“I usually sit in the front pew. At the end of adoration on that day, I turned around and saw the chapel was so full,” recalled Celia, a member of St. Rose

of Lima Parish in Franklin. “It was so powerful to see. They wake up and come here because they want to, not because someone is telling them to. It moved me to tears.”

That steady turnout of faith has continued through the school year, giving Celia “an overwhelming feeling of joy” because she believes the experience of adoration is even more powerful when “you are surrounded by others who share in the same unbreakable and unwavering faith that is strengthened through the Eucharist.”

As she talked about the impact of eucharistic adoration on a recent Wednesday morning at Roncalli, Celia wore a sweatshirt stitched with a phrase that has become a goal for her senior year and her life—“Make Heaven Crowded.”

“That’s been our goal with adoration—getting people here,” she says with a smile. “We’re getting one step closer to making heaven crowded.”

‘She was waiting on you!’

Kevin Murphy admits that for the longest time he didn’t understand the point of eucharistic adoration. Then came the moment he calls “my own personal eucharistic miracle.”

That moment unfolded in his continuing role of visiting homebound, fellow members of St. Joseph University Parish in Terre Haute.

“I had been visiting one of our parishioners for roughly two years when she began to take a turn for the worse,” he recalls. “I went to visit her on a Friday afternoon. The staff at the facility knew that I was associated in some way with her church. When they saw me at the door to enter the memory unit, they informed me that she was not doing well. I thought that would be the last time that I saw her.

“The following Monday, I attended the funeral of a friend’s mother. During the entire funeral Mass, I had an undeniable urge to check on the parishioner. I checked and, surprisingly, she was still alive. Just in case she was able to receive the holy Eucharist, I obtained the Blessed Sacrament to take to her.”

As he entered the woman’s room that day, the hospice nurse got up from the chair next to the woman’s bed and let him sit there. He held the woman’s hand as he slowly prayed the Our Father, a prayer they had often said together.

“Before I had completed the Our Father, the parishioner had taken her last breath. The hospice nurse then said something that made me very uncomfortable. The nurse said, ‘She was waiting on you!’ For the remaining time I was there, multiple staff said that same thing. In my head, I was thinking, ‘I am nobody! Stop saying that!’

“As I left the facility and began heading home, I realized that I still had the holy Eucharist in a pyx in my pocket. At that point, I realized that the parishioner was not waiting on me, she was waiting on Jesus. Jesus entered the room and left with her.”

That experience led him to a “deeper respect for the Eucharist,” Murphy says.

“Following the parishioner’s death, I found myself going to adoration more often. I try to make it a point to sit in adoration for at least an hour a week. I know Christ is present. He takes the time to listen to me, so I try to take the time to listen for him.”

The path to finding a soulmate

Irene Kovacs never expected that her love for the Eucharist would one day lead her to the love of her life.

Up until that pivotal point, Kovacs had always entered the adoration chapel and found a sense of peace from seeing Jesus in the Eucharist.

Then came the time in her young adult life when she arrived at the chapel with a troubled heart and a special request for him.

“I prayed for God to reveal to me what his plan was for my life,” she says. “I was open to giving my life to him as a nun or consecrated virgin. I visited convents, but nothing panned out. I also dated a guy, but he felt God was calling him to become a priest, and he entered a religious order.

“I continued to pray. I had had a lot of people come and go in my life, and I was becoming disheartened.”

In the days that followed, a friend who was also a religious sister—Sister Mary Ann Schumann—told her about a young adults group for singles that was just starting at St. Monica Parish in Indianapolis.

“She told me to go and make some new friends,” Kovacs recalls. “So I did, and I met Al. Al had recently moved to Indianapolis after studying at Purdue. I knew I was attracted to him right away, but we started off as friends.”

During their conversations, she shared how Sister Mary Ann had encouraged her to join the group. She also told him about her commitment to a weekly hour of adoration at a chapel.

“A few weeks later, I was going to the Holy Land, and I needed someone to cover my hour,” she says. “I asked Al if he’d be willing to do the hour for me. I thought, ‘This may be bold. I don’t know him that well. If this is something that he doesn’t want to do, then he’s not for me.’ Al was happy to take my hour.

“We officially began dating when I returned from my trip. A little over a year later, we were heading to St. Monica’s for Stations of the Cross and the fish fry afterward. Before we went into church, Al said ‘Let’s make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.’ When we entered and genuflected, he pulled out a ring and proposed to me right in front of Jesus. Of course, I said yes.”

Now members of St. Simon the Apostle Parish in Indianapolis and the parents of four children, they will celebrate 25 years of marriage in September. They also take advantage of adoration opportunities at their parish church.

“We still go and soak in God’s love,” she says. “We know we are blessed. God is so good!”
 

(More stories of the impact that eucharistic adoration has had on people’s lives will be shared in the May 20 issue of The Criterion.)

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