I teach at St. Margaret Mary School, and the students in grades five through eight participate in the first Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. They witness the Blessed Sacrament being exposed in a monstrance for a day of Adoration. This year we just happened to have an all-school Mass on the first Friday of the month, and I realized that many of my students were unfamiliar with Eucharistic Adoration. I knew I wanted to share this special devotion with my students. But first I had to decide how to share it with them.
Whenever I spend quiet time with Our Lord during Adoration, I pray the Rosary or read some spiritual writings. My mother took part in a weekly holy hour during the last ten years of her life. She filled her time before the Blessed Sacrament with prayer cards, holy cards, and her Rosary. Her stack of prayer cards and holy cards always seemed to spill out of her prayer book. One year for Mother’s Day my sisters and I thought she’d like a Bible with a stylish cloth case to take with her. When we asked her about the gift, she sheepishly told us that she leaves the Bible at home and puts all of her prayer cards in the case so she doesn’t lose any of them.
Reflecting on my own experience with Adoration, I realized why I wanted to share this devotion with my students: I wanted them to experience the peace and joy of spending quiet time with Our Lord. I wanted them to have a special time of stillness and silence and experience a sense of the sacred during a regular school day.
Since I was working with third graders, I adjusted the time we were to spend before the Blessed Sacrament, but not my expectations. I began by explaining that the monstrance contains the Blessed Sacrament, a consecrated host that is truly the Body of Christ. I used a dramatic voice to remind them that this is a big deal: “Jesus! Right Here! In Front of Us!”
I then talked about our posture and how we can choose to sit or kneel while spending time in the chapel. I told them that when I was in grade school, we knelt down and genuflected on both knees when we were in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. We practiced this in our classroom, but I told them that because the chapel was a small space, we would just genuflect by dropping to one knee.
Next we talked about what we can do while we are in the chapel. I told the children they could just talk silently with Jesus or pray the Rosary and other prayers. I found a fantastic booklet for them too. We were all set.
We walked into the church and entered the chapel. It was a beautiful experience to watch my students filing in. There were three women who were praying in the chapel. I had told my students to expect that we would encounter other people there, and they were very respectful. The students picked where they wanted to sit. Some sat and some kneeled. They were very respectful and really took advantage of this grace-filled time. I even had a chance to pray most of my Rosary.
My goal was to spend 15 minutes in Adoration; we made it to 12 minutes when the first student had to use the restroom. This, I realized was my only mistake—I forgot to take time for a restroom break before we left.
I really treasure the ability to take my students to Adoration and felt blessed to be able to introduce them to this devotion. I had goosebumps watching them so deep in prayer. I hope that their relationship with Our Lord only grows closer each day.
Have you taken your students to Adoration? What other special devotions have you shared with your students?