The Gift of Perpetual Adoration

Father Rafael Rodríguez is the parish priest of the Parish of Santo Cristo del Calvario in Marbella, Spain, where the Perpetual Adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist has been held for the last five years. This priest shares with the readers of Love One Another! his thoughts on the fruits of the adoration of the Lord.

Marbella is a city of many cultures – people who live here come from America, Africa, Europe and Asia. The richest Spanish people also live here. High-ranking people come here for vacation and job-seekers come for better employment opportunities.
In the darkness of a largely pagan society the Church of the Santo Cristo del Calvario in Marbella has become a source of God’s light ever since the Perpetual Adoration was established. It was brought about by the efforts of a motivated parishioner of the previous parish priest, Father Claudio, who started it on 1st November 2013. I am continuing this work since I became parish priest here, three years ago. I can say that Perpetual Adoration is a gift and a miracle, as well as a public testimony of the presence of Jesus in Marbella. We are always thankful to the Lord Jesus for his modest, discrete presence, because God is humble, and His love pulls us with intense power.

Perpetual Adoration has brought about a lot of good to the life of the parish. Guests who come to visit say that parishioners who attend the Mass exude a glow of deep spirituality and are intensely aware that in the Eucharist, the mysteries of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ are made into flesh. It is worth emphasising that on each day of the week about 100 people attend the Holy Mass. This is one of the incredible fruits of Perpetual Adoration.

I, as the parish priest, watch over the whole endeavour. I have become motivated to practice steadfast prayer and sacrifice in my priestly service because of the impressive participation of the parishioners in the Perpetual Adoration and in the other activities of the parish. Thus, in my own life I have grown in faith and pure love. This is the Way of the Cross marked with suffering and the destruction of my ego. From the beginning of my service in this parish, I realized that I had to pray more, to have a stronger spirit of sacrifice, fasting, and mortification of the flesh – these are all very important in order to open up to the love of Christ.

In addition, I have always repeated that Perpetual Adoration is Perpetual Charity. When the Church is always open, then the people will come to pray, to come for confession, to have a chance to talk and to ask for material support. This is why the priest should always be available at the appointed times in the Church, especially in the confessional.
Another fruit of adoration is the deep conviction of the necessity of bringing the Eucharist to the sick. In our parish there is a group of lay Eucharistic ministers and volunteers who visit the sick and the elderly every Friday afternoon. They bring them Communion and spend some time with them.

In the three years of my service in the parish we have baptised many adults. A good number of people returned to the Church after many years of wandering aimlessly, rejecting religion, and living without God. This year, a 30-year-old man, an architect, was baptised, and it was a beautiful conversion. Now this man takes part in the Eucharist and comes for adoration. Another woman was baptised at the age of 40. There are many people who for many years rejected the Church but now they are catechists, working with the group Emaus Caritas.

Diocesan Caritas and the Marbella-Estepona deanery have launched the Virgin Mother House project for pregnant women who have been abandoned by their husbands or partners. We request that all parishes in the area support the project, the mothers and the children. About 60 children had already been born there. Surely if these women had not been helped some of them might have had an abortion. Other positive outcomes in the area of family and marriage are the support groups for married couples and pastoral care for the youth and for vocations.

Perpetual Adoration opens our senses to the universal mission of the Church. Thanks to the sacrifice of our parishioners, we were able to complete the project of the construction of water wells in India. We also support missionaries in Ethiopia, Venezuela, and Iraq. Even in such a rich city as Marbella there are still some people in difficult situations, whom we also try to help. The parochial Caritas, which has about 20 volunteers, helps families in need, providing them with some food and clothes. Caritas also provides financial support for poor children from families in crises, as well as buying medicine for the poor.

The parish is the seat of the deanery School of Theology which was opened thanks to the support of a group of priests from the deanery. This is also very helpful in strengthening the faith, because people seek a deeper understanding of the faith. Every Thursday from 6.00 PM to 9.00 PM in the evening, professors and experts conduct classes on theology and the Bible in order to deepen the knowledge of parishioners on the truths of the faith and to strengthen their faith. Interestingly, the same parishioners who registered for the classes in the theological school also participate in Perpetual Adoration.

Father Rafael Rodríguez Sainz de Rozas