Eucharistic Adoration Has Mysterious Effect on Non-Catholics Too

Eucharistic adoration has a drawing power on college students and young adults, Catholics and non-Catholics alike

Adorers pray before the Blessed Sacrament June 16, 2022, at St. Mark’s Parish in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Adorers pray before the Blessed Sacrament June 16, 2022, at St. Mark’s Parish in St. Paul, Minnesota. (photo: Linda McKusick / Shutterstock)

Eucharistic adoration can bring college-age students and young adults to a better understanding and love of God, whether they’re Catholic or not.

“We actually have a pretty high number of non-Catholics coming to adoration regularly. And then over the years, they decide to enter the Church. It’s been really amazing.” So says Marie Putbrese, a Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) missionary at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri.

“Our Bible studies are open to Catholics and non-Catholics alike,” she explains, pointing to what often opens the door to the interest that develops in finding out about adoration. “It’s been really cool to see students who come to adoration with us regularly,” she says. “And then over the years, they decide to actually enter the Church.”

That same “door” appears at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, where Jessica Brinker notices some non-Catholics coming to adoration fairly regularly. “They hear their friends and others in Bible study talking about adoration,” she says, “and decide to see what it is all about.”

Same for non-Catholics and adoration at Lindenwood who then want to learn about and join in other devotions such as Marian consecration and praying the Rosary. “They are hearing about these graces and the prayers from the other students who are participating in those sacraments and devotions, and they desire those graces. So they are participating in that as well,” Marie explains.

At Drexel University in Philadelphia, Anjelo Rocero is another FOCUS team director who has also seen non-Catholics show an interest in adoration. He shares the story of a recent exchange student from England. “We met him because one of our students is his roommate, and he’s been bringing him around” to the Newman Center for Thursday night dinners.

“After dinners, we have our community prayer with praise, worship and adoration. He went once and started to realize, ‘Wow, this is a place of peace. And this is where I can talk to God.’ And so after that encounter, he decided to come back more and more and started to fall in love with adoration.”

The exchange student joined their Bible study “and has been faithful to come to Bible study learning more of who God is, and what God is doing in his life,” Anjelo continues. “We’re praying that he fully comes into the Church — because of just one invitation from a student.”

Similar stories are repeated at Catholic universities too.

At Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, FOCUS team director Jessica Brinker relates another encouraging result growing out of some of their work with athletes on campus.

“Last year a girl from the basketball team was in Bible study. On Wednesday night we have ‘Moonlight Mercy.’ It’s an extra Holy Hour from 9-10 with adoration with Jesus and includes confession as well. This girl, a non-Catholic athlete, was going through a rough time, and I and a friend invited her to join us.”

They told her, “Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. You come to the chapel and be with Jesus and experience the peace.”

Jessica reports that afterward “she said she felt Jesus present in a real way, and the love he had for her and saw what was happening. She’s still not Catholic. But she was very touched by her experience at adoration. She just had a very beautiful encounter with the Lord. And it led to her pursuing her faith more fully over the course of last year.”

Jessica had more to say about the blessings of having a beautiful chapel with Eucharistic adoration four afternoons a week. People sign up to be Eucharistic guardians for hourly spots. “We have a lot of great students who step up,” she says. And some afternoons when many have classes there are “even students who are not Catholic who filled a slot because they have found great peace in the chapel.”

Eucharistic adoration soon makes a difference also to students who are Catholic but not well-grounded in their faith. Brittany Worthington, a FOCUS member at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, has seen these transformations in such students after they begin coming to adoration.

“It happens a lot to our students when we bring them to adoration,” she says before sharing a typical example. “Last year for a Holy Hour of adoration we invited a lot of people.” After it, “One of the students mentioned that her view of God had been wrong and said, ‘Now I need to start to think of God as a Father who loves me.’”

In New Britain, Connecticut, the Crossroads 4 Christ Greater Hartford community of young adults ranging from 18-39 gathers for faith formation, fellowship and Eucharistic Adoration at St. Francis of Assisi Church. Every meeting concludes with an hour of Eucharistic adoration.

“I’ve had friends in the process of coming into the Church from another religion, and adoration was really important to them in their time of discernment about their conversion,” says Sarah Schwartz, the chapter leader.

“It’s a beautiful thing to witness when you’re there as a community, because you see people you know, and that you care about, deep in prayer,” she says. “I’ve had friends who have been discerning marriage, and I’ve seen them deep in prayer, during adoration. And then I have witnessed people who are coming for the first time.”

Sarah tells of one such incident about a person who asked her a question as she was going into the church for adoration. He told her, “I’ve never been here before. What am I supposed to do?”

Sarah knew what to tell him. “I was able to give him some tips about just what we believe adoration is, and really told him that he can just come and be, just sit there with the Lord. There’s nothing specific that he should feel like he needs to be doing.”

The result? “Then I witnessed that young man coming back for many weeks in the future,” she says. “So I do know that there have been people who have come for the first time. I don’t know exactly what their experience has been, but I’ve seen them come back and my guess is that they found something they were looking for.”

Young or old, college-age or young adults, anyone of any age, searching Catholics or even non-Catholics looking for peace and the Lord’s enlightenment — all can surely find what they are looking for at Eucharistic adoration too.

This blog was updated after posting.