Adoration Sodality Beckons at Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Alabama

More than 3,000 members from all 50 United States and 27 countries are currently enrolled in Eucharistic prayer association.

A family adores Christ at an Adoration Sodality Day during adoration with Father Miguel Marie of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
A family adores Christ at an Adoration Sodality Day during adoration with Father Miguel Marie of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament. (photo: Courtesy of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament )

HANCEVILLE, Ala. — As the Catholic Church in the United States prepares to cap off the National Eucharistic Revival with the National Eucharistic Congress July 17-21 in Indianapolis, the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament and its Adoration Sodality beckon to all who desire to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, celebrating its 25th anniversary, is fueled by the prayers of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, an order of cloistered Franciscan nuns who live in the adjoining Our Lady of the Angels Monastery. The Adoration Sodality, a worldwide prayer apostolate begun by the Poor Clares, is now in its second year.

 


A Glorious Temple for the Lord

Situated on 400 acres in northern Alabama, the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament is a testimony to faith in divine Providence of the late Mother Mary Angelica, foundress of the Our Lady of the Angels Monastery and the Eternal Word Television Network. 

Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament
Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament exterior(Photo: Courtesy of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament)


She began a quest to find land for a new monastery in 1995, after the activity and growth of the global network centered around her monastery in Birmingham made solitude challenging for the nuns. She envisioned moving to a small farm for their life of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

The Divine Child Jesus had other plans, which he divulged to her on her trip to South America in June of 1996 to publicize EWTN’s new Spanish channel. She visited the shrine dedicated to the Divino Niño, the (“Divine Child”), in Colombia. While praying before this statue of the Holy Infant, it appeared to move. “All of a sudden, He turns to me,” Mother Angelica related, “and He says, ‘Build me a temple and I will help those who help you.’” 

Dedicated in December 1999, the shrine and the monastery are inspired by the great Franciscan churches and monasteries of the 13th century. The monastery was built for durability and simple monastic living. The shrine, with imported materials from around the world, including a 7-foot monstrance housing the Blessed Sacrament above the main altar, was designed to be as beautiful as possible, befitting the infinite dignity of God, whose house it is. 

Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament monstrance
The 7-foot monstrance housing the Blessed Sacrament is above the main altar at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament(Photo: Courtesy of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament)


Today, tens of thousands of visitors make a pilgrimage to the shrine, seeking to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ during their time of spiritual refreshment.

 


Uniting Souls Worldwide

The Adoration Sodality, begun in March 2023, is open to all who believe in the True Presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament. More than 3,000 members from all 50 United States and 27 countries are currently enrolled in the Adoration Sodality.

Members promise to make a Holy Hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament at least once a month and recite the “I Adore Thee” prayer they receive upon enrollment when in adoration. Sodality members share in the spiritual benefits of a monthly sodality Mass, during the day of recollection led by a guest Eucharistic Preacher every third Thursday of the month during “Adoration Sodality Days” at the shrine. They also share spiritually in the daily “Novena to Our Lady of Good Remedy,” and in the prayers and good works of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration offered at the shrine. 

“Belonging to the Sodality is a real, spiritual connection with us and with brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are committing themselves to adoration,” Mother Mary Paschal, abbess of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, told the Register. “This Sodality serves as an aid to put Christ first in our lives, to return his great love with grateful love and reparation for all the outrages committed against him in the Blessed Sacrament.” 

Mother Mary Paschal explains that the sodality’s adorers join themselves to the unceasing intercession of the Son, worshipping with all the angels, saints and friends of God. She asks, “Who can imagine what God will accomplish for the salvation of the world through the prayers of the faithful?”

Adoration Sodality Day adoration in Hanceville
The faithful adore Christ in the Blessed Sacrament at Adoration Sodality Day at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament.(Photo: Courtesy of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament)


 


Franciscan Friars Support Sodality

The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word assist the Poor Clares at the shrine by providing spiritual support: offering Mass and confession, leading healing services, Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Benediction, and sharing “Sodality Day” talks with participants. In addition, this religious order of men, also founded by Mother Angelica, help spread the Gospel through EWTN’s global media network.

“Adoration is something close to our hearts, as we as a community spend much time in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament. As Franciscan friars, this is part of our charism, emulating St. Francis’ reverence and devotion to the Holy Eucharist,” explained Father Leonard Mary, the community’s superior. “We have a great love of the Blessed Sacrament.”

Through participation in the Adoration Sodality, he prays that more people will develop a greater love for adoration and a greater desire to spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament in adoration. “That they too, in the love they gain, or the love they receive from Jesus, will communicate this love with others,” he added.

Father Miguel Marie currently serves as the director of liturgy and sacristy at the shrine, offering the sacraments to the Poor Clares and to those who visit the shrine. He assists on Adoration Sodality Days and has given a talk to participants. 

“My hope is that the members would respond to God’s grace more generously so that all may be more and more Christlike in their living out their faith, hope and love,” he said, “and, also, that they would share with others their own experience or personally invite others to come with them so that there shall be more adorers of Our Lord in the Eucharist.”

 


Adoring the Lord as a Family

The Preiss family — John and Teresa and their 10 children — have lived near the shrine for the past 16 years. They participate in shrine events, with several of their sons serving the altar at Mass, assisting the friars. They make it a priority to attend the Adoration Sodality Day each month as a family.

“It’s really been a blessing for our family to be part of something so beautiful,” explained John, who is president of Fatima Family Apostolate International. “We don’t want to miss it. To experience the Sodality Day, to meet new people from all over the world and local people too, it’s created a better bond. We take off work and treat it as a family retreat day.”

“It [the Sodality] really feels like a family now,” Teresa added. “We spend almost the whole day at the shrine, and you really get to know people.”

“Adoration is important because you can reflect on what is going on in your life. This is our way of giving everything to God,” John explained. “You [take] your problems, things you’re worried about, and give it to him. It’s a relief to be able to be in adoration and participate in the Sodality.”

Silvia Quinones and her young-adult daughters, Paola and Sophia, are also regular Adoration Sodality Day attendees. Their family has lived near the shrine for the past 15 years. “The talks are very inspiring. We all have an obligation to strengthen our faith, so that is the main reason we make regular Holy Hours and participate in the Sodality,” Silvia said.

Father Joseph Mary, Adoration Sodality Day
Father Joseph Mary of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word gives a talk at the shrine on an Adoration Sodality Day.(Photo: Courtesy of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament)


“It’s very inspiring to me as a young person to participate,” Paola explained. “I love it. I really enjoy just being in front of Our Lord and making a Holy Hour.”

Sophia added, “It encourages me to deepen my faith more. The talks encourage me to take my faith more seriously. I feel the Presence of God in adoration.”

Catholic convert John Stam is a lector at the shrine. He and his wife of 38 years, Deborah, bought a home in the area seven years ago near her brother, the late Father Charles McCabe of the Diocese of Mobile, Alabama. “We were drawn to the shrine. The Sodality has been great because it builds our relationship with the Lord, and the people who come are encouraging and help you want to do better,” John said.

The couple makes it a point to make at least one Holy Hour each week at a local parish and attend the Adoration Sodality Day each month. “Adoration and the Sodality is a priority. It feeds us. The more you get to know the Lord, he draws you,” Deborah explained. “I hope couples will find that adoration is an essential part of their relationship.”

Adoration Sodality Day: Father Dominic Mary
Adoration Sodality Day: Father Dominic Mary of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word adores Christ with the faithful at the shrine.(Photo: Courtesy of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament )


 


National Eucharistic Pilgrims 

As Providence would have it, pilgrims on the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage’s St. Juan Diego Route will be at the shrine during the next Adoration Sodality Day, June 20. Father John Eckert of the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, will serve as presenter.

“I am blessed that I get to be there during that time,” Father Eckert told the Register. He plans to speak on God’s omnipresence. “Our Lord is present 24/7. He’s there all the time. The sisters [at the shrine] remind us of that fact, that by giving their whole life to Eucharistic adoration, they are there with Our Lord all the time.” 

Father Eckert asserted, “It’s easy to forget about the sun in the sky. It’s easy to forget about the Son in the Tabernacle — yet he is still there, wanting to heal us and bring us into his everlasting peace that is greater than anything.”

The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration hope that the Adoration Sodality reminds many Christians that the Lord longs to be with us. “Why else would he have done something so unthinkable as to remain silently in our midst in the Holy Eucharist?” Mother Mary Paschal asked.

She concluded: “In these difficult times, we all need a refuge, a source of strength that is greater than our own and that ‘peace that the world cannot give.’ Those who make time for a Holy Hour, week after week, day after day, will find that the more we give ourselves to him, the more he gives himself to us.” 

Learn More

Join the Adoration Sodality at IAdoreThee.com.