COLORADO SPRINGS. Beginning in May, a new type of prayer experience is being offered at Holy Apostles Parish. Called simply “Awaken,” the event is designed to appeal to people from all walks of life who want an intimate prayer experience and an opportunity to draw closer to God.
The inaugural night of Awaken will be May 4 from 7-8:30 p.m. in the main sanctuary at Holy Apostles Church.
Awaken will be offered the first Friday of every month and will feature contemporary praise and worship music, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a witness talk and a short preached sermon, as well as opportunities for confession and for individual prayer by a prayer team.
Father Jim Baron, pastor of Holy Apostles Parish, has modeled “Awaken” somewhat after the popular “Vigil Praise” nights held at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver the past few years. These nights have appealed especially to young adults.
Unlike the Vigil Praise nights, which Father Baron said “are more focused on the Liturgy of the Hours, especially the Office of Readings,” Awaken will be a mix of music, eucharistic adoration, and a few short talks — a bit less structured.
Awaken nights will serve as a way to offer all people a place to come and connect with Jesus, regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey.
Father Baron noted that, in contrast to the Mass, which can be seen as “almost unwelcoming” to a newcomer or a non-Catholic, due to its very structured and ritualistic nature, the Awaken event will allow more flexibility for people.
“Mass is not the most opportune moment to bring in a non-Catholic,” Father Baron said. “For example, if you are a non-Catholic you can’t take communion, which, for many people who don’t understand the reasons for that, can be very off-putting.”
“While we can’t make the Mass into something it’s not meant to be,” Father Baron said, Awaken “will hopefully serve as a kind of doorway into a deeper exploration of the faith.”
A few priests will be available, either to hear confessions or to allow people to simply come in and talk.
While the evening is different from a charismatic Praise and Worship service, with less outward signs of the charisms, a prayer group will be available for anyone who would like to be prayed over.
Father Baron is hoping the nights will encourage Catholics to invite their non-Catholic friends, perhaps family members who no longer practice the faith, to “come and see.” This is “a legitimate form of prayer that will possibly ignite a deeper desire” to explore Catholicism.
As with the image from Ezekiel 47 of healing waters flowing from the temple Father Baron hopes that the Awaken experience will offer another path to healing for anyone who wishes to come.
For more information on Awaken, send an email to AwakenCatholicWorship@gmail.com or visit www.holyapostlescc.org.