BY TERRY DICKSON
LONG BEACH – Adore Gulf Coast will host a night of worship, teaching and adoration on Thursday, September 1at 6:30PM at St. Thomas the Apostle Church.
Adore Ministries was established in 2004 in Houma, Louisiana, under the guidance of Bishop Sam Jacobs and the vision of Fr. Mark Toups and Paul George. The first initiative of Adore Ministries was to bring the relevancy of the Gospel to those who were disenchanted, fallen away, un-evangelized, marginalized or simply desiring to know more about Jesus Christ.
In recent years, the ministry has caught fire in Houston Texas, under the direction of current president, Ennie Hickman, who will be the guest speaker at the September 1 event.
According to Matt Ladner, who has been instrumental in getting Adore established on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, an effort was made to introduce Adore on a local basis in 2004.
“The roots just weren’t deep enough at that time,” he said. “We scattered a little seed, I guess you could say, but things kind of fizzled out, so we took about a four year break and regrouped in 2014.”
The results have been phenomenal, as the events have drawn in powerful speakers, including Msgr. Dominick Fullam and Father Michael O’ Connor, and, even more importantly, attracted huge crowds of people looking to grow in their faith.
“This time, we’ve taken a different approach. We’ve tried to surround ourselves with humility and immerse ourselves in prayer,” said Ladner. “We didn’t take time out for prayer last time and that’s the reason it fizzled.”
Ladner and a core group of missionaries get together several times a year to brainstorm.
“It’s catching root this time, as opposed to last time,” he said. “We’re taking baby steps. We’re not getting in a hurry to go anywhere. When we do, God slows us down. We’re just kind of doing it one parish at a time, one night at a time, and letting God just take his time as he normally does.”
Approximately 400 people attended the most recent event, which was held in April at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Picayune.
“We’ve been seeing between 300 and 400 people each night, so, overall, it’s been pretty successful,” said Ladner.
According to Ray Lacy, youth minister at St. Thomas, Adore is open to people of all ages.
“It’s for anyone who wants to worship and adore the Lord,” he said. One of the cool things about Adore is that it crosses all age boundaries. If you want to just come, sit and enjoy it, that’s good. If you want to come and really worship, that opportunity’s there as well.”
Lacy said the night’s structure is pretty simple and straight forward.
“The night will begin with an introduction and a song or two and Ennie will give about a 30 minute talk. After that, we have exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with adoration and worship led by Matt, Shea Michaels, Kyle Lizana, Cody Roth and a few other guys we’ll be adding to the mix this coming year.”
One of the great things about Adore, Ladner said, is that it draws Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
“We’ve probably averaged anywhere between 10 and 20 non-Catholics each night. We’ve had fallen away Catholics, who haven’t been to church in a long time. We’ve had people who just don’t want to go to church on Sundays. We’ve had people who are intimately involved in their parishes,” he said. “We’ve really had all demographics and backgrounds. We probably have some people who are not rooted in the Christian faith. It’s just such a pleasure to see people come. The greatest thing they tell us afterwards is, ‘Hey, I’m Baptist, but I feel so welcome. You really made me feel at home.’”
That’s important, Ladner said, “because by the time the person gets out of their car and starts walking to the building, we want to immerse them and let them understand that God loves them. Through us, God loves them. From the time they get out of the car until the time they get back into the car, we want them to feel welcome, at home and full of love.”
“It’s a powerful night, added Lacy. We go to Mass on Sunday knowing that’s the greatest prayer we can pray. To go into a night like this and almost pause that moment in the Mass and just go in and worship is so enriching, so deep and such an opportunity to just kind of take that next step. It totally does enhance the Mass for people and that’s what we hear over and over again. People are constantly being enriched.”
Lacy said the goal is that these nights will continue to grow.
“What we hope is that, in the years to come, these nights will continue to be incredibly impactful, but that there will be some spinoff groups from Adore that will kind of be like small groups,” he said. “I think that’s the vision of anything in the Church. You create something and that it will evolve into a movement of the spirit.”
Added Ladner, “Our hope is that, at some point, the churches will overflow and it’ll spill out into the streets.”
For more information, visit adoreministries.com and follow Adore Gulf Coast on Facebook.