A National Eucharistic Revival intended to nurture devotion to the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist begins on June 19, 2022, the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known as Corpus Christi.
Auxiliary Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of St. Paul and Minneapolis, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, anticipates the revival will reawaken the understanding of the sacrament of the Eucharist.
Dioceses throughout the nation are planning to open the revival with processions and other events of adoration. The revival will continue until a National Eucharistic Congress convenes July 17-21, 2024, in Indianapolis. This will be the first time in 45 years that a Eucharistic Congress has been held in the United States.
Parishes will be encouraged to help increase Catholics’ understanding of the Eucharist in their lives. In addition, a team of 50 priests and friars will travel the country preaching about the meaning of the Eucharist in the lives of Catholics. Included among them will be Fr. Edgardo Jaro, OFM, from the Holy Name Province.
The bishops cited one of the catalysts of the revival as a recent Pew Research Study on the Eucharist. Carol L. Gentile, OFS, former national minister explains the results of the study and our responsibility as Franciscans in the following letter.
During a recent fraternity meeting, one of our members mentioned that 70% of Catholics do not believe that the Eucharist is the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Shocked at the startling statistic, I decided to conduct my own research. To be clear, I had no reason to question the colleague who volunteered the information. Rather, I was simply in a state of disbelief, saddened by the fact that it actually may be true. Much to my dismay, the preliminary research confirmed that the information conveyed during the meeting was accurate.
Gregory A. Smith, in an article published on August 5, 2019 referenced information collected in a Pew Research Center survey, citing the fact that only one-third Of U.S. Catholics agree that the Eucharist is actually the body and blood of Christ. Smith writes: “Nearly seven in ten (69%) Catholics say they personally believe that during the Catholic mass, the bread and wine used in communion are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.”
As Franciscans, I believe we are compelled to put forth an effort to educate as many Catholics as possible, particularly those in your own respective parishes. In doing so I thought that one tactic would be to make available to everyone information about the Miracle of Lanciano, Italy which clearly validates the legitimacy of our core belief. I have attached a copy of the article.
In my heart, I believe Saint Francis would expect no less from us. Tragically, the trend in the United States appears to be digressing towards a more secular society. Let us all do our best so that at the very least we could educate those of our faith about the realities of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
With peace and love, Carol L Gentile OFS
Former National Minister, 2003
We asked Jan Parker, OFS, our national minister, to share what the Eucharist means to her.
When I think of how Christ’s presence in the Eucharist has touched my life, two thoughts come to mind. First, when I receive Christ’s Body and Blood I feel enormous gratitude for how Christ has poured himself out, humbling himself to fill me with his presence. I think of Francis’s praises of God, “You are all sweetness. You are our eternal life.” I must empty myself as well, in order to be filled, and so each time I approach the Eucharistic table, I pray for inner conversion and a transformation that allows me to love as deeply as Jesus does.
Secondly, I am keenly aware that we are all one body in Christ. “The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16) Long ago, in a conversation with my spiritual director, I shared how much I missed a dear friend and spiritual companion who had moved away, making it more difficult for us to connect. I will never forget his words to me: “You are never closer to someone than when you receive the Eucharist.” Truly, we are all one, and connected in Christ! This applies not only to those we hold close. Our communion in the Eucharist reminds us of our call to “…accept all people as a gift of the Lord and an image of Christ.” (OFS Rule, Art. 13)
Please share with others what the Eucharist means to you. How has Christ’s presence in the Eucharist touched your life?
Please type your response to the question by clicking on ‘comments’ below.