Association of Students at Catholic Colleges
Eucharistic Adoration Campaign
What is the Eucharistic Adoration Campaign?
“Do you realize that Jesus is there in the
tabernacle expressly for you – for you alone? He burns with the desire
to come into your heart … go without fear to receive the Jesus of peace
and love.” St. Therese the Little Flower wants us to know deeply, as she
did, that Jesus loves each and every one of us, and that He will be waiting
for us at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even until
the end of time. It is the mission of the ASCC’s Eucharistic Adoration Campaign
(EAC) to spread the message that St. Therese so beautifully articulated
in order that students at Catholic colleges might know the love of Christ
and then in turn go out and share it.
In order to accomplish its mission, the EAC
provides advice and resources to campus ministers and students who are
looking to start or promote a Eucharistic Adoration program at their college.
We have brochures that are targeted to both students and campus ministers
and that contain answers to questions like "What is Eucharistic Adoration?"
and "Isn’t Eucharistic Adoration old-fashioned?" ASCC also provides guidelines
for how to start a Eucharistic Adoration program at your school. The ASCC
EAC website has several useful links as well, including Pope John Paul
II’s recent encyclical about the Eucharist, Ecclesia de Eucharistia
(The Church of the Eucharist) and many quotations from various saints,
theologians, and other holy people. The ASCC also has many student contacts
at Catholic colleges around the country. We provide a listserve so that
those students can contact each other when they need advice, suggestions,
All of the resources that the ASCC EAC provides
are intended ultimately to further the love of God here on earth. The
effect of our resources, Eucharistic Adoration, is the fire that lights
the hearts of the faithful. Mother Teresa said, “We cannot separate
our lives from the Eucharist; the moment we do, something breaks. People
ask, ‘Where do the sisters get the joy and energy to do what they are
doing?’” Indeed, such joy and energy can only come from the Eucharist,
which, according to St. Peter Julian Eymard, “[i]n one day...will make
you produce more for the glory of God than a whole lifetime without it.”
Cardinal Newman Society Press Release:
College Students on Their Knees: Student Association Launches
Eucharistic Adoration Campaign
By Patrick J. Reilly, President, Cardinal Newman
“Even before I became Catholic, I
felt a curiously strong pull to Eucharistic adoration,” says Jereme Hudson,
a senior at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California.
Although the college is well-known for its thoroughly Catholic
education – reflected both in its Great Books curriculum steeped in Catholic
theology and its wholesome campus life – Jereme came to the college a
Southern Baptist. When curfew was dropped to allow students to participate
in all-night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Jereme was intrigued.
So he tagged along with a friend.
“I felt uncomfortable at first, but my anxieties soon
abated and the peace and silence which permeated that chapel filled me
with awe,” Jereme recalls. “I still wasn’t sure whether I truly believed
that such a thing could be possible, but I looked around at the people who
looked so lovingly at the Sacrament and couldn’t convince myself that they
were merely staring at a piece of bread. I studied them looking for
any trace whatsoever of falsity or simple-mindedness. I found none.
“When at last my gaze fell on the Blessed Sacrament itself I saw
bread, yes, but I was filled with the desire to truly see Christ and to
know Him in the flesh. I felt drawn to the monstrance, to the altar,
to the tabernacle, and I found it harder to convince myself that this wasn’t
Christ than it was to simply see that this was Christ.”
Three years later, Jereme is a Roman Catholic convert and is helping
lead a national student association’s efforts to promote Eucharistic
adoration at America’s 230 Catholic colleges and universities.
The Eucharistic Adoration Campaign is an effort of the Association
of Students at Catholic Colleges (ASCC), a loose fraternity of Catholic
student leaders who are struggling to build Christian campus life on America’s
Catholic campuses. Many of these campuses lack significant commitment
to Christian values, as contemporary student life at many Catholic colleges
too often mirrors the rampant sexual activity, high levels of alcohol abuse,
and decline in religious practice common among students at secular colleges.
That is why ASCC’s Eucharistic Adoration Campaign is markedly different
from other efforts to encourage young Catholics to embrace the Church –
and why the stakes are so high for the Campaign to succeed.
“Eucharistic adoration helps students rediscover the center of their
faith, which is so desperately needed in an age when even their theology
professors may dissent from Church teaching,” says Thomas Harmon, ASCC
president and a senior at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.
“But we’re aiming for something additional to personal renewal. We
expect Eucharistic adoration at Catholic colleges to have a campus-wide
impact, helping spur along the renewal of Catholic higher education as
the Holy Father has envisioned.”
In Ex corde Ecclesiae, the 1990 apostolic constitution in which Pope
John Paul II established firm guidelines for Catholic colleges, he emphasizes
the importance of helping students “integrate religious and moral principles
with their academic study and non-academic activities, thus integrating
faith with life.” This includes “the celebration of the Sacraments,
especially the Eucharist as the most perfect act of community worship.”
The Holy Father notes that “a university community concerned with
promoting the institution’s Catholic character” will be keenly aware of
how its pastoral ministry influences “all university activities”.
There is ample evidence of this at Catholic colleges that encourage
students and employees to kneel before the Eucharist. The campus
minister of a Catholic college in the Midwest says that in the three years
since students helped him launch a weekly evening of adoration, “my ministry
to college students has met with unexpected success” and students have even
reported mystical experiences in their prayer life. Participation
in adoration, Sunday and daily Mass, and retreats has steadily grown, and
several non-Catholic students have converted. Employees responsible
for student life have come to “share a common vision of what student life
on a Catholic college campus ought to be,” and even changes on the academic
side are heartening.
“After Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I consider Eucharistic
adoration to be the most important component of our program,” the campus
Christina Dehan, a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana
and coordinator of the university’s twice-weekly adoration, agrees.
“I know from stories that upperclassmen have relayed to me that the
Catholic identity at Notre Dame has been undoubtedly strengthened since
Eucharistic adoration was implemented,” Dehan says. “I know it has
changed the lives of many students here, and the very presence of Christ
on campus can be felt on the days when He is exposed in the Blessed Sacrament.”
Notre Dame offers adoration every Monday and Tuesday from noon until
10 p.m. Dehan says about 140 students, faculty and other employees
have regular time slots, although many others participate when they can.
Of course, numbers aren’t everything. Even a small number of
students and employees who participate in Eucharistic adoration can be
filled with the Holy Spirit and become important leaders on campus.
Those who are already active in campus life and struggle with burnout
find peace and motivation in Christ.
“As a ridiculously busy college student, there is nothing I desire
more than quiet time – time away from all of my obligations, time to reflect
and re-focus and rejuvenate,” says Jennie Bradley, a junior at Notre Dame.
“Adoration allows me to do all of these things, and also to bring before
God in an intimate setting the petitions that are particularly on my heart
“I am keenly aware that I live every day by God's grace, and that
nothing I do – be it schoolwork, ‘work’-work, friendships, etc. – will
be successful without God’s hand on me and His blessings on my attempts
to do His will,” Bradley says. “Eucharistic adoration is a perfect
opportunity to be still and let go and let God pour out His graces on me
– which He does, every week, without fail.”
Beginning this year, ASCC is working with fellow students and campus
ministers to establish adoration programs on Catholic campuses and to
increase participation at the 13 Catholic colleges known to already offer
periods of adoration. ASCC leaders are developing materials and a
guidebook to help campus ministers plan their programs and motivate students
to get involved. A significant portion of ASCC’s national conference,
scheduled for November 9 in Washington, D.C., will focus on training
students to return to their campuses and promote Eucharistic adoration.
All this has been made possible by the generous gifts of a few Catholics
who have experienced the power of Eucharistic adoration in their parishes.
Two of those donors have promised to match up to $20,000 in other donations,
a goal ASCC hopes to meet before the end of the school year.
ASCC is also assisted by its sponsor, the Cardinal Newman Society,
a national organization that seeks the renewal of Catholic identity in
America’s Catholic colleges. The Society launched ASCC last year
in an effort to harness the energy and enthusiasm of Catholic college
students who are finding that they can have an important role in building
Christian campus culture. In addition to helping students lead prayer
groups, pro-life activities, evangelization efforts, and other programs,
the Cardinal Newman Society and ASCC are relying on the Eucharistic Adoration
Program to demonstrate students’ contributions to the renewal of Catholic
“God knows what He’s doing, we’re just allowing Him to do it through
us,” says J.J. Mammi, a senior who launched the Eucharistic adoration program
at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. “That’s
what faith is.”
Patrick J. Reilly is President of the Cardinal Newman Society, a
national organization to renew Catholic identity in America’s Catholic
colleges. He can be contacted at [email protected]
or Cardinal Newman Society, 10562 Associates
Ct., Manassas, VA 20109.