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What is Perpetual Adoration?

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Perpetual Adoration is a Catholic meditative devotion whereby members of a parish or group revere the consecrated Eucharist 24 hours a day. Catholics believe that when the priest consecrates the bread, or Host, during Mass, it becomes the body of Christ, or Eucharist. The Catholic Church teaches that Christ is risen from the dead and living and Christ in the Eucharist is actively present and worthy of adoration. Practitioners claim great spiritual benefit from the devotion.

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To establish Perpetual Adoration, members of a parish or group arrange to visit and worship the Eucharist, also called the Blessed Sacrament, in shifts around the clock, so that the Eucharist is constantly, consciously adored. The Eucharist may be unseen in the tabernacle, or it may be on display in a decorative case called a monstrance. Generally, Perpetual Adoration visits are about an hour in duration. Any Catholic in good standing may perform the duties of Perpetual Adoration. When there is a group, they may recite formal prayers together, or the adoration may be performed in complete silence.

Perpetual Adoration is also performed in clerical communities. Catholic clerics living in communities as members of established orders, such as priests, monks or nuns, usually maintain dedicated chapels for the devotion. There is a chapel for Perpetual Adoration at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, and there are Perpetual Adoration chapels in over 2,500 locations throughout the world as of 2015. There are entire Catholic religious orders based on the practice of Perpetual Adoration. In Ireland, the Poor Clares of the Monastery of Saint Mary of the Angels of Perpetual Adoration, in Drumshanbo, Leitrim, have the longest recorded unbroken devotion to perpetual adoration, from March 25, 1870 to the present.

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