Growing in holiness: Adoration etiquette

A number of ways to grow in holiness are suggested in this month’s lesson on A Child’s Vocation, including spending time in the Presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  In case you’ve never done that before, here are a few basics:

Can I just drop in or do I need a scheduled time?

  • Whenever a church is unlocked, you are always welcome to visit Him there – even if it’s just a brief, impromptu visit.
  • Churches that offer perpetual Adoration are able to do so because adorers are scheduled and committed to be there around the clock.  If you would like to be one of those people, contact the church office and they’ll be glad to put you on the schedule.
  • You can easily locate the tabernacle by spotting the lit sanctuary lamp indicating His presence.
  • If a church offers perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, the chapel will be indicated by directional signs.

What should I do first?

  • Genuflect.  It’s not a rule written in stone, but is traditional to genuflect on one knee if the Lord is reserved in a tabernacle, and genuflect on both knees if the Blessed Sacrament is exposed in a monstrance.

What can I do while I’m there?

  • Prayer, rosary, spiritual reading, preparing for Sunday’s Mass, etc. are all acceptable options.  I’ve suggested parents bring their Family Formation Home Lessons and prayerfully read through them in preparation for the upcoming month.  I see kids coloring pictures for Jesus (and in our very small chapel they will occasionally leave them for Him).
  • It’s easy to show up with a whole tote bag full of reading, but perhaps the most important thing you can do is just be quiet. When the Cure of Ars was asked what he did, he famously answered, “I look at Him and He looks at me.” It’s unbelievably simple, but really quite profound!

I’m not sure how my kids will react.  Should I wait until they’re older?

  • Of course, you’re the best judge, but don’t underestimate them.  If kids are properly prepared, quite often they’ll be intrigued by this unique experience, and if they see you doing it, they’re more likely to be open to it themselves.
  • Make sure they know silence is expected.  Minimal whispering is acceptable when necessary, but the other adorers will be silent and they should do their best to be so also.
  • Leave your snacks at home.  (Sometimes promising a snack for good behavior when you’re done is helpful.)
  • Make sure they know why they’re there.  You’re there to visit Jesus.  He may look different than expected, but that’s really, truly Him nonetheless!
  • Have reasonable time expectations.  Ten minutes of silence may be your magic number.  That’s okay.  Perhaps after successfully reaching that goal, you can move up to fifteen.  (The typical goal is an hour per week.)

Will the other adorers be unhappy to see me show up with my van full of kids?

  • Maybe, but you can win them over with your excellent behavior and reverence. 😉
  • Also, remember that there are people who are thrilled to see kids in church.  (If you happen to see children behaving well in church, be sure to thank them and their parents for being there!)


  1. Oh gosh! My initial hope is that it’s some kind of therapy/working dog. (For example, I know a young lady who has a severe, life threatening allergy and a dog trained to detect that allergen is always with her.) Either way, I guess I would post a “no pets” sign.

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