Northern Colorado, once home to the third largest nocturnal adoration group in the United States, is experiencing a new surge of night adoration in its Spanish-speaking parishes.
Last month, some 300 members of the Sociedad de Adoración Nocturna (Nocturnal Adoration Society of Denver) were on hand at St. William Parish in Fort Lupton for the canonical institution of the ninth section of the society in the Archdiocese of Denver.
Msgr. Jorge de los Santos, vicar of Hispanic Ministry and spiritual director of the Nocturnal Adoration Society in Denver, told the Denver Catholic Register that there are nearly 500 Hispanic Catholics who are members of the night adoration society.
He explained that in Mexico, the Nocturnal Adoration Society currently has a presence in an estimated 40 percent of parishes. As the population of immigrants from Mexico grows, so does the night adoration society.
Members commit to praying one hour of night adoration a month, which is organized at the parish level. Members take turns to accompany the Blessed Sacrament through the night.
The Nocturnal Adoration Society began in Rome in 1809 during a time of great political upheaval. Napoleon had taken Pius VII as a prisoner, and Father Giacomo Sinibaldi was inspired to organize a group of men to pray before the Blessed Sacrament during the night hours of the 40 Hours Devotion.
From that, the practice of nocturnal adoration, usually held on the first Friday of the month, has spread around the world. The World Federation of Nocturnal Adoration Societies reports that some 2 million people around the world are currently members of a nocturnal adoration society.
Nocturnal adoration, however, is not new to the archdiocese. In fact, Holy Ghost Parish in downtown Denver boasted the third largest Nocturnal Adoration group in the United States in the 1960s.
The devotion was led by then pastor Father William J. Gallagher, who brought it to his parish after seeing first-hand its popularity during a visit to Mexico.
At its zenith, some 1,500 men, representing various parishes, spent 7,600 hours a year before the Blessed Sacrament, Margaret M. McGuinness reported in a 2001 article on Eucharistic adoration, published in U.S. Catholic Historian.
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Father Mauricio Bermudez, pastor of St. William’s, told El Pueblo Católico that he began to form the group six months ago, and that he was “surprised by the great enthusiasm of many people.”
“There were all ages–children, adults and some older persons–and both men and women. All came and opened their hearts to pass a moment with God in the Eucharist,” he reported.
The pastor added that not everyone was convinced: “Some even ask me why they have to spend so much time kneeling. My answer is always the same: ‘Because God deserves it.’
“We owe God worship and glory, and we were created to worship the Lord,” he explained. “And to kneel before him is a sign of recognition that he is our God, truly present under the species of bread and wine.”
Father Bermudez said that he has seen “great spiritual growth” among those who participate in the adoration society. “Many of them have gone through very difficult moments,” he said, “but seeing them as firm in their faith in God and so ready to serve, I realize that they gradually become true witnesses of the Gospel.”
He recounted the story of one member, who told him that she no longer feels alone. “Even though her life is very difficult , you know that Jesus is with her and her sufferings become joys,” he said.
“Whenever you are kneeling before the Blessed (Sacrament), see how their hearts are transformed and are more willing to join the Cross of Christ, and thereby experience happiness and redemption,” Father Bermudez concluded. “All this is for the glory of God.”