It is with great fondness that I recall so clearly my first holy Communion. Faith in the real presence of Jesus in the holy Eucharist was clear, simple and certain. Faith is a gift from God that is easy for us when we are open to the gift. As we grow older, our fervor, faith and love of the real presence of Jesus in the holy Eucharist can grow dim or even non existent.
With the decline of faith and religious practice of a good number of Americans, it is time for a renewal of knowing, loving and serving God through the holy Eucharist. I am pleased to announce that on Corpus Christi Sunday (June 19) a National Eucharistic Revival will begin.
As a “revival,” this is more than just a program—it’s about renewing the entire Church in our great country. My brother bishops and I have this desire for you: to enkindle a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the holy Eucharist. That is the mission of this Revival, with the goal of sparking a movement of Catholics from across the country who are healed, converted, formed and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist. And they, in turn, are sent out on mission “for the life of the world.”
There are a variety of ways the Revival aims to make this happen, and here I would like to highlight three:
- To foster encounters with Jesus by announcing the good news of Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist and encouraging opportunities for eucharistic devotion. More than just teaching, this is about proclaiming the power and beauty of Jesus’ presence to us in the holy Eucharist.
- To contemplate and proclaim the doctrine of the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist through the truth of our teaching, the beauty of our worship, and the goodness of our accompaniment of people in poverty and those who are vulnerable. If the Eucharist is really what we say it is, then our faith in it and our participation in Mass and adoration will spill over into the rest of our lives.
- To reach the smallest units: parish small groups and families. As goes the family, so goes the Church, and it is our hope to deepen the faith, not just of individuals, but also of our families in Jesus’ loving presence in the Eucharist.
This Revival will last two years: the first year (from Corpus Christi this summer until Corpus Christi next summer) will be the “diocesan year,” in which we’ll be offering resources and events around the diocese toward the Revival’s mission and vision.
Year two will begin on Corpus Christi next summer, June 11, 2023, and will be focused on parish formation and events. During this year, resources will be offered to parishes, small groups and families to deepen their encounter and relationship with the eucharistic Lord.
This will all culminate with the National Eucharistic Congress on July 17-21, 2024, in Indianapolis where all are invited to attend. It is my hope that there will be tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of Catholics from across the country, including from our own diocese, in attendance. And at the conclusion of this congress, there will be a call to share the good news of Jesus Christ through missionary outreach.
There will be more information to come in the Bishop’s Bulletin this fall, but in the meantime, I hope you will join me in praying for and engaging in the new opportunities to know, love and serve God through the National Eucharistic Revival.