Coralville teen: ‘I finally had my Jesus moment at NCYC’

By Annalee Bartels
For The Catholic Messenger

(Annalee Bartels is a junior at Regina High School in Iowa City and a member of St. Thomas More Parish-Coralville.)

The 2019 NCYC was an experience that has changed the way I see God in my life. I learned so much about my faith and listening to amazing stories that other people have to tell through their challenges in life.

Contributed
Annalee Bartels, right, and Bishop Thomas Zinkula, pose for a photo at National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis last month.

I had been to NCYC two years ago, Notre Dame Vision the past two summers and many other faith trips with my youth group. None of them compared to this one. Even with going on all of those trips to find Jesus, I was still hesitant about my faith. I felt like I wasn’t good enough to be loved by God. But on this trip I found his love for me and changed my entire perspective on God, Jesus and my faith. The second I kneeled down on the bleachers of Lucas Oil Stadium for adoration I began to cry.

I started praying to God and I started over from the very beginning, explaining all of my struggles with my faith and everything happening in my life. For the first time ever I could feel God listening to me. I knew that he was looking over me at this moment during adoration. I was praying about how I felt broken in my faith and all of the things I wish to improve about myself. Then during all of this, in adoration, the song “Lord I Need You” played.

Everyone in the stadium of 20,000 people began to sing. Everyone’s voices were wobbly but strong, like they were all in the same boat with me. Everyone singing through tears and finally realizing how much we all need God and how he is always there for us. It was beautiful and moved me to even more tears. I finally had assurance in my faith and I finally had my Jesus moment.

The entire weekend was a blast and made me grow more in my faith in every aspect of my life. I will never forget some of those precious memories I made at NCYC. I am so thankful for the opportunity that I had to go to NCYC and for the amazing people I went with and met along the way. I would definitely encourage everyone who can go in 2021 to go. I believe NCYC was a moving experience that changed everyone there for the better.

What is Adoration?
By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

Adoration in a church or chapel provides a special opportunity for reflection and prayer. Some chapels may have the Blessed Sacrament present, while others may not.

Father Rich Adam, pastor and rector of Sacred Heart Cathedral, encourages people to participate in adoration to spend time with the Lord. The cathedral offers extensive opportunities for adoration, and St. Patrick Church in Iowa City offers perpetual adoration. Check your parish or other parishes for additional adoration opportunities.

“It’s a beautiful gift Jesus has given to us to be in his presence,” said Carol Parr, a cathedral parishioner and frequent visitor to the chapel. “I feel adoration helps me through my journey of life. It brings me joy, lifts me up and keeps me going,” she said. “I have cancer and this is my therapy. Adoration gives me peace and gives me more life.” Parr said she was diagnosed with cancer five years ago and chose to forgo doctor recommendations for chemotherapy and other options. “I’ve outlived how long the doctors permitted.”

Anne Marie Amacher
People pray in the St. Margaret Adoration chapel at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport.

Beth Budelier, a member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport, stopped by the cathedral’s chapel for adoration with her five young daughters. Sometimes she comes by herself to focus on her personal relationship with God. The older girls know that time in the chapel is quiet time. On this day, they took off their coats, knelt down and folded their hands for prayer. Their dad, Beth Budelier’s husband Al, is a regular adorer each Friday morning.

Jean Willadsen of St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf is a substitute adorer and also stops by at other times to pray. She began adoration at the cathedral following evening Masses twice a week and loved it. “I kept going. This beautiful chapel is the best rest stop in town.” As St. Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The church and the world have a great need for eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease.”

St. Teresa of Kolkata said, “The time you spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the best time you will spend on earth. Each moment that you spend with Jesus will deepen your union with Him and make your soul everlastingly more glorious and beautiful in heaven, and will help bring about everlasting peace on earth.”

The Catholic Center at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga., offers these suggestions for adoration:

• Pray the Psalms or The Liturgy of the Hours. Whether you are praising, giving thanks, asking for forgiveness or seeking an answer, you’ll find an appropriate psalm. The Liturgy of the Hours, the ancient prayer of the church, presents an excellent way to pray through the Book of Psalms throughout the year.

• Recite the “Jesus Prayer.” Say “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner” repeatedly as you quiet your heart and mind.

• Meditate using Scripture. Choose a passage from the Bible. Read the words and ask God to let the passage speak to you. Pay special attention to anything that strikes you and ask God what he wishes for you to draw from that message.

• Read the life of a saint and pray with that saint. Most holy men and women have had a great devotion to our Lord in the Eucharist, such as Therese of Lisieux, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Dorothy Day and St. Teresa of Kolkata. Read about them and pray their prayers before the Blessed Sacrament.

• Pour out your heart to Christ and adore him. Speak to Jesus, aware that you are in his presence and tell him all that comes to your mind. Listen for his response. Pray the prayer that St. Francis instructed his brothers to pray whenever they were before the Blessed Sacrament: “I adore You, O’ Christ, present here and in all the churches of the world, for by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.”

• Ask for forgiveness and intercede for others. Think of those who have hurt you and request a special blessing for them. Ask God to forgive you for all the times you have neglected or hurt someone else.

• Pray the rosary. Ask Mary to join you as you gaze on Christ in the Eucharist and as you pray the rosary.

• Sit quietly and just “be” in the presence of God. Think of a visit to the Blessed Sacrament as coming to see your best friend. Sit quietly and enjoy being in each other’s company. Instead of talking to the Lord, try listening to what he wants to tell you.


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