Worship is giving honor to God, typically through prayer or sacrifice. Mass is the highest form of worship because it includes several ways of giving glory to God: the proclamation of the Word, prayers of thanksgiving, and the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ, to name a few. While the Mass itself is one act of worship, it sets the foundation of our understanding of what worship is. When we worship God, we give him our whole selves.
The Holy Eucharist is the body and blood of Jesus Christ made present under the appearance of the bread and wine used at Mass. Christ is truly and entirely present in the Holy Eucharist and we are invited to receive Him each time we receive Communion. Not merely a sign or symbol of Christ, the Holy Eucharist actually contains Christ in his fullness. It is for this reason that the Holy Eucharist is described as “the source and summit of Christian life” (CCC 1324).
The Real Presence means that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Holy Eucharist - Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. The Holy Eucharist is not merely a symbol or sign that represents Jesus - the Real Presence is the real Jesus. When we are in the presence of the Holy Eucharist, such as at Mass or in Adoration, we are truly in the presence of God.
It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ at Mass (CCC 1353). During the Consecration, the priest asks the Father to send his Holy Spirit to transform the bread and wine. When this takes place, the bread and wine are no longer bread and wine, but fully become the Body and Blood of Christ. This moment in the Mass directly corresponds to the institution of the Holy Eucharist by Jesus at the Last Supper.
Mass is the central act of worship in the Catholic faith, and while livestreams provided a helpful way to connect the faithful to Mass during a unique time of pandemic, it is only through in-person attendance that the faithful can receive the graces that come from being in the Real Presence of the Holy Eucharist.
Eucharistic Adoration is the worship of Christ in the Holy Eucharist outside of Mass. The Holy Eucharist is reserved in a monstrance so that all can pray in the presence of Christ. Through the Holy Eucharist, Christ makes himself present in our midst and invites us to enter into His love. The Catechism tells us that “Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lord who made us and the almighty power of the Savior who sets us free from evil” (CCC 2628).
When entering Adoration, it is appropriate to genuflect and to maintain an attitude of reverence and respect. Kneeling, sitting, or standing before the Most Blessed Sacrament are appropriate postures in Adoration. When praying in Adoration, there is nothing specific that you need to “do.” You can simply sit and look at Jesus. You can converse with Him in personal prayer. You can pray the rosary or other recited prayers, and you can devote your time in Adoration for a special intention. Adoration is your personal time with Christ.
This depends on when Adoration is offered at your parish. In order to have Adoration, at least one person must be present at all times so that Jesus is not left alone. For this reason, many parishes set aside specific times for Adoration throughout the week. All are welcome to attend Adoration at any time when it is being offered, either at your own parish or at a different parish. For a full list of Adoration times being offered in the Diocese of Allentown, visit HERE.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has also authored many pieces on the Real Presence. You can find two resources here: