With many churches currently closed around the world, priests and laypeople are springing into action, devising inspiring ways to keep Catholics connected to their Faith. Alumna Joan Watson (’06) helped bring one of these latest ways to life: a virtual 40 Hours of Adoration, broadcast live around the world this past weekend.
Watson, who serves as the Director of Faith Formation in the Diocese of Nashville, was recruited to assist with this virtual event by Fr. Jonathan Meyer of the Diocese of Indianapolis and Fr. Thomas Szydlik of the Diocese of Peoria. Looking for a way to connect Catholics around the world in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, they came up with the idea of hosting a 40 Hours devotion online, with 40 different priests and bishops each taking a turn leading a holy hour, uniting the faithful in prayer for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
Once Watson was on board, she immediately began recruiting bishops and priests to host one of the holy hours. She also set up a Facebook group, allowing the faithful around the world to participate in the event.
“I think rather than kind of dwelling on what we don’t have, this gives us an opportunity to unite our hearts…and really unite that yearning for the Blessed Sacrament, and turn that itself into a prayer,” Watson told the Catholic News Agency in a recent article.
Watson told CNA that while it is certainly difficult to be deprived of the sacraments during this time, ultimately, we are gaining a deeper love of the Eucharist, and greater and stronger unity as a Church.
“I think there’s so much grace there,” concludes Watson. “And learning how to pray as a Church — I think that’s one thing that maybe this time has given us an extra grace not to be divisive and not to find ourselves picking fights where there shouldn’t be fights, but rather really uniting with our Church and uniting across the country as a Catholic Church. I think it’s really beautiful to see what’s coming out of all this.”
Another Christendom alumnus joined Watson in these efforts — Fr. Alex McCullough (’09), of the Diocese of Cincinnati. He live-streamed one of the forty Holy Hours, drawing thousands closer to Christ as a result.
While the live-streamed event finished over the weekend, it is still possible to view the holy hours online by visiting the Virtual 40 Hours Facebook page.