By JOANNE FOX
“Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.”
Those words from the Gospel of Mark were proclaimed on the first Sunday of Advent and a strong reinforcement for an announcement that Cathedral of the Epiphany will host perpetual adoration next year.
“Advent calls us to watchful prayer, expectation and preparation for the return of Christ at the end of time,” said Father Brent Lingle, Cathedral rector. “That is why it was with much joy that I was able to make this announcement at this time.”
According to Father Shane Deman, chaplain for the Serra Club of Siouxland, perpetual adoration was formerly available in Sioux City in the late 1980s at Marian Health Center. The practice was discontinued due to a lack of participation.
“Later in the 1990s, the Serra Club promoted parish-based adoration days,” he said. “The Serra Club had requested that perpetual adoration be returned to Sioux City and were eager to see it begin.”
Father Deman posed the idea of resuming perpetual adoration at a meeting of the Sioux City pastors earlier this year.
“The reason for going forth with the idea was two-fold,” Father Lingle explained. “One was the focus of the pastoral letter of Bishop Walker Nickless which set as a priority perpetual adoration in our churches. The second was Father Deman’s justification that perpetual adoration fosters priestly and religious vocations, as well as a renewal in parish life and faith.”
Logistics as to where the best place to have perpetual adoration – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – were investigated, Father Lingle reported.
“We knew we needed secured parking, a designated entrance, a keypad, a phone, security lights and cameras, a restroom, handicapped accessibility, enough room for an altar and places to sit and kneel for about 30 people,” he said. “We had seriously looked at Heelan’s CYO building, but determined it would be cost-prohibitive.”
The former Epiphany Grade School, directly across the street from the church, appeared to be the strongest choice, Father Lingle stated.
“The former grade school – where Cathedral offices are currently located – has a room that is used by religious education and adult faith formation,” he said. “That room happens to be in the process of being remodeled and we realized it would easily fit our needs.”
“Bishop Nickless endorsed the Cathedral site because of its importance as the mother-church of the diocese, its central accessibility, its proximity to Bishop Heelan and Cathedral religious education students, and as an opportunity for a new ministry to our growing Hispanic community,” Father Deman pointed out. “With more than 3,000 registered households of young Hispanic families in the Cathedral parish, this initiative will be a helpful way to invite them into greater parish involvement.”
The Serra Club chaplain clarified it was the hope of Serra Club members that perpetual adoration at one central site would not replace the individual days of adoration in the city’s churches.
“Instead, this perpetual adoration site will provide an alternative to working adults who cannot attend day-time adoration hours in their parishes,” Father Deman said.
Father Lingle accounted that furnishing the chapel will be made possible through using articles from churches that have been closed as a result of Ministry 2025, pastoral planning for the Diocese of Sioux City.
“For example, we have glass block windows we would like to replace with stained glass windows from Sacred Heart Church in Laurens,” he said. “I will be presenting a wish list at Christmas, asking people to consider helping to fund this endeavor with their time, talent and treasure.”
Father Lingle and others will also be working with individuals at All Saints Parish, Le Mars and St. Cecelia Parish, Algona, to discover how those churches ensure perpetual adoration is successful.
“We most likely will need someone to oversee this effort,” he said. “Our hope is to have the space ready in the spring so Bishop Nickless can celebrate Mass in the Cathedral and process the Blessed Sacrament to the chapel for exposition.”
Father Lingle expressed his joy this proposed place of prayer and adoration will soon be a reality.
“The Eucharist – the Presence of Christ – will be at the heart of all that we do, having someone constantly in prayer before our Lord, praying for the needs of the parish, the diocese and the world,” he said. “This is the perfect Christmas gift for our parish.”