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Our readers asked:

How did adoration chapels start? Isn’t this against Jesus’ demand to pray in private?

Fr. Joe Answers:

You asked how adoration chapels came about. I found a link that should prove helpful which describes the history of Eucharistic adoration. It is from the old Catholic Encyclopedia:


It seems that Eucharist adoration (and the designation of places for it to happen) gained popularity sometime in the 13th century.

I’m not sure what you meant by, ” Doesn’t this go against Jesus’s teaching of praying in private?”

Perhaps you are referring to Matthew 6:6 where Jesus says, “When you pray, go into your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.”

If that’s what you meant, I would say that in this particular Scripture passage Jesus is specifically addressing the problem of those religious people of his time who would show off with their fancy prayers in front of other people so that they could impress them and gain more prominence in society because of their ability to pray well.

To understand verse 6 in context, let’s look at verse 1 of chapter 6: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them…” He is warning us not to be *motivated* by other people being impressed by our prayers. Jesus certainly does not mean that true Christian prayer may never happen where other people might see us praying. That would mean that Sunday Mass itself contradicts Jesus’ teaching on prayer.

For instance, you said that visiting the adoration chapel near where you work “really helps me stay focused on my faith.”

If you had said, “I really like going there because everyone from work sees me going to pray and thinks that I’m so holy, and now they respect me more,” I would agree that doing that goes against the message Jesus is trying to get across in this passage. But any form of Christian prayer in a certain place that “helps you stay focused on your faith” surely does not contradict how Jesus taught us to pray.

If you were thinking of some other passage or if you would like clarification, let me know.

In the Peace of the Holy Spirit,

Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP is the Director of BustedHalo

The Author : Fr. Joe
Fr. Joe Scott, CSP, has been a campus minister, pastor and editor as a Paulist priest.
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