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Holy hour bears fruit


St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral is not the warmest place to be on a cold winter’s night but that doesn’t stop about 60 devout Catholics turning up each week for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

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The popularity among young people of the weekly Vespers conducted by Father Peter Zwaans for the past five years is testament to the deep faith instilled in them through their involvement in World Youth Day events as well as parish-based activities.

Not that there aren’t all ages and cultural backgrounds represented at the holy hour, including families and couples. All are united in their reverent devotion to the Blessed Sacrament which includes incense burning, silent adoration, communal prayer, psalm singing, Gospel readings and reflections.

As emergency sirens blare in the rush hour traffic, the Cathedral is a welcome and peaceful refuge from the outside world.

Before the service begins, Fr Zwaans walks through the Cathedral handing out liturgy sheets and welcoming people. Confessionals are opened for the numerous people waiting patiently to receive this sacrament.

Fr Zwaans said the holy hour was proving to be fertile ground for vocations with at least three regular attendees now pursuing consecrated life. This includes Gary Rego, a member of the Newton parish who is about to become a postulant with the Capuchin Order. Dressed in a parka and beanie, Gary tells me he started attending Adoration evenings after attending World Youth Day in Rio.

Duy Tran, currently in the Capuchin novitiate, and Christopher Villanoueva, a seminarian with the Missionary Oblates of Immaculate Mary, are other ‘regulars’ following a vocation to the priesthood.

While prayer is the focus, it’s clear that companionship and shared faith is also an attraction with sounds of chatter and laughter coming from worshippers lingering in the foyer before heading off for a pizza meal together.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is held every Tuesday at 6.30pm. All welcome.


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