COLORADO SPRINGS. Beginning April 12, the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed for adoration at St. Gabriel the Archangel Church in Briargate, 8 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday through Friday. That amounts to 65 hours of adoration per week.
It’s a big change for St. Gabriel, which, until now, has reserved adoration to 10 hours on one day each week. The big change is possible, however, because St. Gabriel has opened a big building addition, and that expansion includes an adoration chapel.
Having seen the chapel under construction, Bishop Michael Sheridan issued a decree in February authorizing the exposition of the sacrament in the new space. He returned to St. Gabriel on March 21 to celebrate Mass and to bless the church addition during a weekend of open-house events.
Offering 65 hours of adoration per week requires some significant schedule management, to make sure someone is present in the chapel during each of those hours. St. Gabriel is inviting all interested Catholics to reserve a weekly hour or two — or to schedule a drop-in when the opportunity arises — through a registration service hosted on the parish website.
“The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith, so to have that available in a special, particular way (in which) people can encounter Jesus through that visual connection is really going to be powerful in the parish,” said St. Gabriel pastor Rev. Kirk Slattery. “Christ is going to speak to them, and they’re going to come out into the community and, hopefully, put into action what he’s talking to them about.”
By opening its prayer chapel for adoration each weekday, St. Gabriel joins five other parishes in the diocese that offer adoration at least five days per week. Two of them— Holy Apostles in Colorado Springs and St. Dominic in Security — offer perpetual adoration, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Perpetual adoration requires ensuring someone is present with Jesus in the Eucharist during all of the 168 hours that comprise each week of the year.
“Someday, when the parish can support that, we’d love to do that,” Father Slattery said. “That’s always been the plan.”
Construction of the nearly 20,000-square-foot St. Gabriel expansion began in January 2020. The adoration chapel is at the heart of the new building, but the largest new feature is the social hall, which can be segmented into three rooms, each served by a central kitchen. The west- and south-facing walls of the hall are glass from top to bottom, allowing the view of the mountains to pour in.
Around the perimeter of the social hall are new vesting sacristies, a library, children’s nursery, music rehearsal room, and a spiritual-direction meeting space. Also new is a room dedicated to the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado; it’s a permanent home for the center’s courses and outreach programs after years of a somewhat room-to-room residence in St. Gabriel’s original building.
From outside the church, the expansion’s most prominent feature is the 70-foot bell tower, which Bishop Sheridan consecrated in January.
But perhaps among the most intriguing part of the expanded St. Gabriel building is one that wasn’t originally in the plan. Just outside the prayer chapel door is an anteroom where 11 newly acquired relics of saints and of the church have been placed on permanent display.
“It was all supposed to be an adoration chapel, originally,” Father Slattery said of the space. But a few years ago, when Father Carlos Martins, representing his “Treasures of the Church” ministry, presented an exhibition of relics at St. Gabriel, he and the pastor got to talking about the church’s building plans, still only on paper at the time.
The usual route to acquiring relics typically starts in the Bishop’s office. But Treasures of the Church is a ministry devoted to exposing the faithful to “communion with the heroes of our Christian faith.” Father Martins could provide the relics; Father Slattery could provide the space to exhibit them.
And so, the blueprints were redrawn to provide a space to display the golden reliquaries.
Father Slattery said he envisions the new social hall, with its ocean of natural light and dramatic views, to become a place where faith and art come together. A new youth symphony already has taken up residence for rehearsals and performances.
“We wanted to design the building to be almost a teaching and culture kind of center,” he said, “for helping people encounter God through the arts.”
And for those who want to encounter God directly, there is the adoration chapel.
To sign up for adoration, visit the St. Gabriel website at www.saintgabriel.net. Click on the “Eucharistic Adoration” image to start the process. Choose the “weekly commitment” button to commit to a weekly spot. This can be accomplished also at https://adorationpro.org/gabrielco.
One-time visitors instead should choose the “Adorer sign in” and “Just visiting” buttons. Walk-ins also can sign up at a digital kiosk, on a seating-available basis. Seating in the adoration chapel during Covid protocols is limited to 10 people, and masks are required inside the building.
Relics on display at St. Gabriel Parish
- St. Joachim, husband of St. Anne and parent of Mary.
- A stone from the House of Loreto, which tradition claims was the site of the Annunciation, and the home of the Holy Family.
- St. Anne, mother of Mary.
- St. Maria Goretti, martyred at age 12 in 1902, whose forgiveness of her attacker transformed his life.
- St. Padre Pio, a pious and charitable Italian priest, who had the gift of the Stigmata.
- St. Teresa of Calcutta, known worldwide as Mother Teresa.
- St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, devoted to religious life yet fatally stricken with tuberculosis at a young age.
- St. Pius X, pope 1903-1914.
- St. Anthony Mary Claret, bishop and founder of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, known as the Claretians.
- Fragment of wood of the True Cross of Jesus.
- Burial shroud of Jesus.
- Veil of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
(Jeff Thomas is a member of St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish.)