By Anne Marie Amacher
IOWA CITY — Since January 1986, St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City has offered perpetual adoration 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Today it continues strong.
Janet Strand, coordinator for the perpetual adoration chapel inside St. Patrick Parish Hall, said spending time at any hour with Jesus is “very peaceful. We look at Jesus through the Eucharist at Mass. We look at Jesus through adoration. There is peace.”
The adoration chapel was located in the rectory basement before the Holy Thursday tornado in 2006 destroyed the church and rectory.
She said that without missing a beat the parish pastor, Father Rudolph Juarez, had Strand look at a very large closet in the parish hall for use as the chapel.
Fr. Juarez and volunteers moved items intended for the adoration chapel into the parish hall. Whatever could be salvaged from the church also was moved into the parish hall, which serves as the parish’s temporary church while a new one is being built.
“It’s cozy,” Strand said of the adoration chapel. Although the closet-turned-chapel is not very big, that does not deter people. They even stand in the hallway, she noted.
Regarding security, Strand said the parish hall site is even more secure than when it was in the rectory. An emergency exit is only three steps from the chapel. The exterior and interior are well lit.
Adorers come from all four Iowa City parishes — St. Mary, St. Patrick, St. Thomas More and St. Wenceslaus. On occasion people from the Newman Catholic Student Center in Iowa City help, as well.
Whenever possible, Strand tries to have two adorers at all times, but admits it’s hard. Someone is always present for adoration, except when Mass is being held.
“Everyone is welcome to pray or volunteer their time,” Strand said. “This is the same Jesus that we receive through the Eucharist. Why not spend an extra hour with him.”