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Taking time out to pray


What started with a plea from Pope Francis for Catholics around the world to pray for peace has turned into a much-needed hour of “quiet time with God” for a small group of North Adelaide/Prospect parishioners.

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Every Friday night at 7pm the group gathers in St Laurence’s Church for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the opportunity for the sacrament of Reconciliation.

North Adelaide/Prospect parish priest Fr Paul Rankin OP said the decision to hold an hour of silent adoration began with Pope Francis asking for a day of prayer, fasting and penance on October 27.

When more than a dozen people came to St Laurence’s that evening, Fr Paul decided to make it a weekly event and since then a small but loyal band of parishioners has participated each Friday night.

“I thought it was worth doing and when people turned up it encouraged me to keep it up,” Fr Paul said.

The adoration of the Blessed Sacrament begins and ends with a hymn and soft sacred music is played throughout but otherwise people can pray silently or “talk” to God in whatever way they want.

Fr Paul said silence “represents our poverty and powerlessness before God”.

Parishioner Elisabeth Rossi said it was a chance to “gather ourselves without the disturbances you have at home”.

“There are too many distractions there…I might pray for 10 minutes but then my mind starts to wander,” she said.

“You relax and then you just start talking to God, it’s like a conversation with a parent or a brother or sister.”

Another “regular”, Megan Joy Downie, described it as “an immersion into the deep mind of God, a place where there is bliss and providence of God”.

Dora Penno said it was “very unstressing”.

“I’ve been waiting for four years for a hip replacement and it just does wonders – you pray for Ukraine, for Israeli, for Gaza, for everyone, it gives you a beautiful peace.

“Some of the women who come here are quite ill and they have said that their one hour a week is a Godsend to them.”

Fr Paul said he had been thinking for a while about how to give people opportunities for adoration and also the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which is mostly held during the day when people aren’t always available.

Each time there has been a handful of people going to Reconciliation.

But he stressed that the main reason for the prayer session was the need to pray for peace.

Writing in the parish bulletin, Fr Paul said he would continue the practice until people stopped turning up or “until we get world peace, whatever comes first”.

Silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Reconciliation is held every Friday from 7-8pm in St Laurence’s Church, 134 Buxton St, North Adelaide. For inquiries, contact the parish on 8344 1347 or email



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