Here’s an interesting development in Kansas — featuring a community and a title, I confess, I had never heard of before. It couldn’t be more timely, coming just days before the world celebrates the birth of the Prince of Peace:

On Sunday, Dec. 12, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Beloit, Kansas, will become the second Catholic church in the U.S. to be recognized as a Star on the Mantle of Our Lady, Queen of Peace by Comunità Regina della Pace (Community of Queen of Peace).

Comunitá Regina della Pace is an international apostolate of Eucharistic adoration created in 2008 to foster peace and reconciliation around the world.

“Division is so rampant in our world and in our culture that I don’t know that there’s a more significant time or a more significant petition, especially in the Western world and in the United States, than peace,” said Father Jarett Konrade, pastor of St. John the Baptist.

As a member of this international community, St. John the Baptist will join churches around the world in praying intentionally for peace during Mass and in the context of Eucharistic adoration.

“The significance of being a Star on the Mantle is in my mind, beginning that more formalized relationship with the Comunitá, and what that means to me is a more formalized and directed living out of the call of Eucharistic adoration and praying for peace in all of those different facets,” Konrade said.

St. John the Baptist is geographically about 50 miles from the center of the United States, which makes the location significant, said Konrade.

“The divisions are, in some ways, tearing the country apart in the middle,” he said. “I see this as, hopefully, a stepping stone to, in a very public way, communicate to the community, to the diocese, the significance of Eucharistic adoration, Marian devotion, and prayer for peace.”

Beloit’s rural population numbers about 4,000, with more and more Catholic families moving to the area, Konrade said. The parish currently has Eucharistic adoration from Tuesday morning through Friday morning, but Konrade thinks it likely that the hours will continue to expand toward one day having perpetual adoration.

“Throughout my priesthood, I’ve seen, again and again, the fruitfulness of parishes that commit themselves to the dedication of Eucharistic adoration,” he said.

A partnership between the Comunitá and St. John the Baptist was first explored by the Adoratio Foundation, a charitable organization in Beloit that was established to build Catholic thought, culture, and devotion in the area. They presented the opportunity to Bishop Gerald Vincke and Father Konrade as part of the effort intentionally to pray for peace in connection with others throughout the world.

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For more on the Comunità Regina della Pace apostolate, visit this website.It describes the “stars in the mantle,” most of which are located in Poland:

It is our desire that an intercessory Mary’s Mantle be spread over Poland, Europe and the whole world. Symbolic “stars” on this Mantle are the chapels, where Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is held for peace in the societies where we live. We are convinced that prayer is the most efficacious weapon in the spiritual combat for peace.

“The 12 Stars in the Crown of Mary Queen of Peace” are places set up as centers of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament which radiate spiritually. Its number is limited and they are created in all continents so that the prayer for peace may embrace the whole world.

There are numerous parish communities where there are those who wish to adore Eucharistic Christ. Therefore, we set up chapels of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in many churches, where prayer for this intention is being offered. “Through adoration, the Christian mysteriously contributes to the radical transformation of the world and to the sowing of the Gospel” (Letter of St. John Paul II to the Bishop Albert Houssiau of Liege, Belgium, on the 750th Anniversary of the Feast of Corpus Christi, 28 May 1996).

For the places where such yearning arises, a space of “sacrum” or a monstrance are designed in order to foster prayer in human hearts, and where the Lord hidden in the Eucharist is being adored.