It’s no coincidence that the central tenet of our Catholic faith is also the most difficult to accept. From the moment Christ taught in the Gospel of John that “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you,” his followers began to walk away. Today is no different, as the Pew Research Center found that only 31 percent of Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Christians of all denominations generally agree that a personal relationship with Christ is crucial. As Catholics, how can this relationship grow if we deny that Christ is physically present with us in the Eucharist? How can this relationship deepen if the Body and Blood of Christ is received without belief in His presence?
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has listened and looked at the hurt that exists in our world among Catholics and non-Catholics alike. If Christ is the balm for the wounds that have been created in individuals, families, and societies, then the Catholic Church has a gift that must be shared. With this mission in mind, they now offer us a plan for a National Eucharistic Revival that reaches parishes, dioceses, and the Church as a whole in the hope that by renewing our own faith, we will be ready to share it with others in desperate need of Christ’s healing.
What does it mean for us to experience this revival? It’s more than a renewal of faith, or simply accepting Church teaching — it is a real and personal encounter with the love of Christ, waiting for us in the Eucharist. The Church gives us many ways to encounter and share this love. Eucharistic Adoration is an opportunity to cultivate one’s relationship with Christ in the Eucharist through quiet prayer and presence. Eucharistic Processions — which many churches held when the Eucharistic Revival began on the Feast of Corpus Christi — are a public way to show reverence and belief in the healing power of the Eucharist.
The National Eucharistic Revival will span three years and began in June 2022 on the Feast of Corpus Christi. The first year focused on how each diocese can promote love for our Eucharistic Lord. The second year — which began this past June 11 — is focused on bringing this closer to home to the parish level. Here at the Church of St. Mary, we will evaluate how to deepen our relationship with Christ in the Eucharist. The third year will bring us to the 10th National Eucharistic Congress and the National Year of Mission, when we will be prepared after our own renewal to bring the love of Christ to our families, neighbors, and communities.
The vision for the National Eucharistic Revival is long-term. Beginning with our own hearts, Christ’s love has the power to bring deep and lasting healing to our world. The Catholic Church holds the unique gift of Christ’s Eucharistic Presence, but this gift is for everyone. Please join us as we deepen our faith and relationship with Christ individually and as a parish.