by Marc and Julie Anderson
TOPEKA — “O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.”
Thus begins a line in a popular Christmas carol. It’s something parishioners at Christ the King Parish in Topeka do daily.
That’s because for 25 years, more than 400 current, former and deceased parishioners have participated in perpetual eucharistic adoration, thus adoring Christ just like the three wise men who traveled for miles to be among the first to adore the Christ Child.
At the end of the 7:30 a.m. Mass on Jan. 6, the solemnity of the Epiphany, Father Matthew Schiffelbein, the parish’s pastor, honored all those involved in the adoration ministry.
Presenting a plaque to the ministry coordinators, Father Schiffelbein had the following to say:
“As I mentioned in my homily, we celebrated on Nov. 7 the 25th anniversary of our perpetual eucharistic adoration chapel. We have a plaque marking that anniversary and recognizing all the volunteers that for the last 25 years have filled those hours, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we’re grateful for that.”
“There’s a number of folks who have done that for all these 25 years,” he continued. “Among those folks are Maxine and Stan Wiechert who have, in addition to filling hours, helped to manage the schedule to make certain all the hours are filled each day for the last 25 years.”
After a standing ovation for the Wiecherts, Father Schiffelbein invited anyone else involved in eucharistic adoration to stand and be recognized for their commitment.
“Take a look around,” he said. “It’s a real testament to our parish’s love and dedication for the Lord Jesus in the Eucharist.”
Besides the Wiecherts, an additional 90 parishioners started in the ministry 25 years ago. Many of them maintain the same hour. For example, Liz Bessette has an hour at 5 a.m. Wednesdays, a time she cherishes.
“It’s so peaceful,” she said.
She added that spending time with Jesus has helped her in “getting closer to God and trying to understand more clearly what he expects of me in my life.”
Like Bessette, Fred Biesemeyer has an early morning hour — actually two, from 2 to 4 a.m.
“Of course, I have the good hours,” Biesemeyer said, adding those early morning hours are quiet, peaceful and without interruption.
It’s not something he planned on doing 25 years ago, but a parishioner invited him.
“It was just the right time in my formation,” he said.
The blessings he’s received from spending time with Jesus have just magnified in his life, and he feels spiritually renewed every time.
“It starts my day off right,” he said.
For Jane Proctor, another parishioner with an hour at 5 a.m., the time has brought her closer to God in a way she is not able to do at home.
There’s something to be said for praying with the real presence of Christ, she said.
“He’s right there,” she said. “It’s just you and him. It can’t get any better than this.”