Cathedral Parish families pray for biggest apostolate — the school children

Seminarian Jared Samson leads Cathedral School third graders in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in the Cathedral of St. Joseph, Sept. 20. (Marty Denzer/Key photo)

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

ST. JOSEPH — Since the beginning of the school year on August 20, moms and dads, grandparents, parishioners and friends have been signing up for a Holy Hour in the Daily Mass Chapel of the Cathedral of St. Joseph.

Every week, the teachers at Cathedral School bring a handful of students or the entire class to the chapel for short periods of time to learn and pray.

There is a profound reason why.

Father Steven Hansen became Cathedral’s pastor this past July. He found that a new principal was starting at the school, Seminarian Jared Samson was spending a pastoral year at Cathedral and newly ordained Father Jayson Becker was serving as parochial vicar. He also found that parishioners, especially school parents, were concerned for the safety of the school kids, in light of the many school shootings across the country since the beginning of 2018. There was even one in Raytown at a middle school track meet, where an adult man was shot in the stomach.

Father Hansen said he figured the best way to comfort parents was to enable them to arrange to pray for the protection of their kids during school hours. He thought of initiating Holy Hours to pray for the safety and well-being of the kids, based on a Holy Hour program begun at West Catholic High School in Grand Rapids, Mich., in the early 1990s.

“It’s become like a bonding,” he said, “for the whole parish, praying for our biggest apostolate: the school children!”
With the help of Becky Evans, the school principal, Fr. Hanen enlisted parishioner and school parent Amy Roetto as Adoration Coordinator. She posts and keeps up with the sign-ups.

The first day of Holy Hours, Jared Samson stopped by the parish office and found the secretary trying to talk to a man who seemed in distress. He asked the man if he could help; when the man said yes, he took him to an empty room and asked again if he could help. The man said he had thoughts of hurting himself. For Jared, who earlier had worked for Catholic Charities and learned something about counseling, this raised a red flag. “Hurting himself” meant he was thinking about suicide.

He continued to talk gently with the man and learned that he had lived in a group home. He offered the man a telephone and suggested he call the home and let them know what was going on. The man made the call and it wasn’t long before some staffers from the home picked the man up. “God did this,” Jared said later. “It was a gift of grace on the first day of Adoration.”

Becky Evans and Jared collected Mrs. Julie Guldan and her third-grade class and led them to the Daily Mass Chapel for a brief Adoration period. When the children were sitting or kneeling on the floor in front of the Blessed Sacrament, Jared spoke for a moment about the Blessed Sacrament and then led the children, Fr. Hansen, teachers and a parishioner seated in a pew, in a prayer.

When they returned to their classroom, the children talked about what they felt and thought about during Adoration and how they felt afterward.

Walter: I thought about Jesus.

Addison: People in hospitals.

Jensen: the homeless need prayers.

Ty: All the people battling cancer.

Kate: all the people who don’t have food.

Phineas: Jesus died for all of us. If he didn’t die for us, none of us would be here.

Erica: I think about the people I’m praying for.

Maya: I think about Jesus dying on the cross.

Gabriella: Adoration makes me feel good and happy!

Jayce and Dustin: feeling free, running around and having fun after Adoration!

Hunter: I see me in the church, praying to Jesus (when he grows up).

Addison: I see me going to Adoration every day (when she grows up).

Henry: I see me going twice a week (when he grows up).

Becky Evans sees a faith development in the students since Adoration began. “I’ve noticed the kindergartner through fourth graders are filled with wonder and curiosity about their faith. Fifth through eighth, we’re working to shift them out of apathy.”

Jared said he had seen an increase in kindergarten curiosity since Adoration began. “I was asked, ‘Who made God?’ I told him ‘that’s an awesome question! No one made God.’”

Fr. Hansen encouraged putting God in the center of everything, including prayer. “When a person needs comfort, solace or hope, the person of Christ can help. Everything can be overcome with Confession and the Eucharist!”

Evans said frequent Adoration gives a new identity, and a new joy to living.

Jared added up some of the benefits of Adoration. “If we can translate the three transcendentals—Truth, Beauty and Goodness—we can instill wonder in our school kids. After all, Christ is Truth, Beauty and Goodness!”

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Tuesday
October 16, 2018
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph