Text and photos by Gregory A. Shemitz

In the first prayer service of its kind at St. John the Evangelist Church in Center Moriches, a Holy Hour designed for worshippers in their late teens and young adults was celebrated at the parish on Friday, Dec. 1.

Father Michael Plona, a member of the parish’s pastoral staff, planned the service, which was held in the parish auditorium and drew about 50 participants of various ages. The first-year priest led the prayers during Eucharistic adoration as a spotlight illuminated a monstrance in the darkened space.

Father Plona is hoping Friday’s Holy Hour will be the first of many for young Catholics residing on the East End of Long Island.

“I wanted to gather young people around the Lord,” said Father Plona, explaining his decision to arrange the Holy Hour. “There hasn’t been something like this out here. Hopefully it will be the start of something beautiful and will keep growing.”

Paul Clores, the parish’s seminarian-in-residence, assisted Father Plona at the service while St. John’s pastor, Father John Sureau, administered the sacrament of reconciliation in the adjoining school building. Fathers Edward Sheridan and John Wachowicz of St. Rosalie Church in Hampton Bays were also present to hear confessions.

Following the service, participants were treated to hot chocolate, pastries and cookies at an outdoor reception prepared by parish business manager Katie Waller.

Father Plona said the next East End Holy Hour would likely take place in February.