Sunday, November 20, 2011
Notes from a Holy Hour Rookie
Holy Hour is a Catholic tradition of spending one hour in Eucharistic Adoration. The New Brunswick Oratory, which runs the parish, is one of just eight in the United States and the priests have been marking Holy Hour the first Sunday of every month since June 1993. I wasn't sure what to expect, so I brought my Book of Hours with me, in case I ran out of ways to pray.
About 20 worshipers gathered, including several Franciscan nuns and many Secular Oratorians. The hour began with a beautiful procession, and included the Confiteor, today's readings, along with readings about the life of St. Philip Neri, the Oratorians' patron, and a witness by one of the secular Oratorians, an older woman in the pew in front of me.
The Secular Oratorians' website includes this reflection: The Oratory believes that heaven is other people. In the spirit of prayer alone, and prayer in community, we come to share and encourage each other in our sacramental lives. As Oratory, we meet all peoples, all experiences and in return our understanding of God is widened and deepened.
I experienced a taste of that today during Holy Hour. Our words were woven together with long silences, where the only sound I could hear was the train to New York whooshing past us outside and the clicking of rosary beads in the pew behind me.