If you’re a fellow Washington-area Catholic, then I’ve got two upcoming opportunities for you to help make this Summer a time for growth, rather than just waiting for the air conditioning to kick on.
With Pentecost Sunday this weekend, and the return to Ordinary Time to follow, we’re about to begin the “summer doldrums” period of the liturgical year. Apart from Corpus Christi – which, sadly, is generally not celebrated in this country with as much fanfare as elsewhere – and the Feast of the Assumption in mid-August, there are no real high points on the Church calendar again until the Autumn. Oftentimes parishes see attendance and participation drop as the temperature climbs. It’s almost as if the return to green vestments gives the laity a desire to do little more than sit back and watch the grass grow.
That’s why Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament can be a terrific way to keep from falling into spiritual laziness this Summer. For those of you living and working in D.C., every Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 pm you can attend Adoration, followed by Benediction, at Epiphany Parish in Georgetown. This beautiful old church is one of the smallest parishes in the Archdiocese, tucked away close to Rock Creek and a short walk from the Four Seasons, but many Washingtonians have no idea it is even there. Father Adam Park, the pastor, is an energetic, dynamic young priest, who not only does a beautiful job with Adoration, but is also a great preacher and confessor.
Epiphany is not my parish, but I try to get there for Adoration whenever I can, even if I can’t stay for the whole hour. Being able to pause at midweek, and engage in prayer or spiritual reading before the Blessed Sacrament, helps me to reflect on drawing closer to God and seeking to do better by Him. It also, quite frankly, makes me shut up and be quiet, something I often find difficult to do.
If you’re not already familiar with Father Park or Epiphany, then there’s a great opportunity for you this weekend. On Sunday the parish will be holding its annual “Light The Fire” barbecue for Pentecost, beginning after the 10:30 am Mass. The event will give you the chance to meet Father Park, the diverse members of the parish community at Epiphany, and will feature both American AND Korean barbecue dishes. If you appreciate the meat-and-flame combo as I do, then you know how very, very good this juxtaposition of grilling traditions is going to be.
I hope my readers who are able will not only take advantage of these opportunities right here in the city, but also share this information with others whom they think might be interested. And of course, for those of you at greater distances who may not be able to attend these events, why not talk to your own pastor or a priest friend where you live, about having midweek Adoration at your parish during the Summer? Even though the Church steps back into Ordinary Time, the schools go on vacation, and there is much loafing about, you can make these lazy, hazy days something more spiritually significant, if you’re willing to give it a try.