This synod process can flow seamlessly into a Eucharistic Revival because the Mass is where and when the People of God assemble to proclaim and celebrate the ideal of our oneness as the Body of Christ.
By Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz, D.D.
Over the next three years in each (Arch)diocese in the United States there will be a Eucharistic Revival that will invite Catholics across our nation to deepen our love for the Lord Jesus in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood, the Eucharist, the Holy Mass, Sagrada Misa. A church in solidarity on national and international levels has borne good fruit in the Synod process over the past year. The Holy Spirit has led the Catholic faithful in prayer, dialogue and reflection that resulted in diocesan, regional and national syntheses, a lamp for our feet in very challenging times.
This synod process can flow seamlessly into a Eucharistic Revival because the Mass is where and when the People of God assemble to proclaim and celebrate the ideal of our oneness as the Body of Christ. We are now in the diocesan phase of the process which begins this weekend at St. Joseph in Gluckstadt with a Eucharistic Congress.
These congresses are held periodically in order to revive our love for the Eucharist, this extraordinary and ordinary way of encountering the crucified and risen Lord. This Congress is a very apt way to formally introduce the diocesan phase of the revival. Recognizing the limitations with distance, yet all are invited to participate for part of the Congress, for most of it, or all of it.
We will gather for several hours on Friday evening, and then again on Saturday morning, culminating with Mass at 11:30 a.m. We encourages parishes to mark this occasion in their own churches to be in solidarity with the diocese. On Friday evening and Saturday morning at the Congress there will be ample time for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, personal prayer, the Sacrament of Reconciliation evening and morning presentations on the Eucharist, the Liturgy of the Hours and Benediction. Father Anji Gibson of the Archdiocese of New Orleans will the presenter and homilist. At the core, this time together as well as apart from our normal routines allows the grace of God to stir into flame the gift we received through faith at our baptism. With the image of the flowing waters of Baptism, Jesus’ profound words from his encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in the Gospel of St. John (4:1-30) can be applied to help us hear his deep desire for our love in return. “If you recognized the gift of God and who it is that is asking you for something to drink…! (v.10)
Earlier this year on June 29, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Letter Desiderio desideravi. The timing is exquisite from the center of the universal church as a guide for the Eucharistic Revival in our nation. At the outset of the letter Pope Francis explained that his purpose is “to invite and help the whole church to rediscover, to safeguard, and to live the truth and power of the Christian celebration” (of the Eucharist). The Latin phrase Desiderio desideravi recalls the words of Jesus at the beginning of the Last Supper in Luke’s Gospel: “I have eagerly desired to celebrate this Passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:14)
Pope Francis applies profound pastoral and theological meaning to these words at such a critical time in Jesus’ earthly life. “Every time we go to Mass, the first reason is that we are drawn there by his desire for us,” and every reception of communion of the Body and Blood of Christ was already desired by him in the Last Supper.” (6)
The Eucharist is a gift and mystery; and Jesus Christ is present and alive in that sacred space where we encounter the crucified and risen Lord in his Word, his Body and Blood, in his Body the church assembled, in his Mystical Body, and with his resurrected Body in heaven, our destiny. In other words, there is a lot going on, and we pray that the Holy Spirit will open the eyes of our hearts and minds to “recognize the gift,” and to be the gift to sanctify the world, and to be the Lord’s presence in a world that crises out for his saving and reconciling love.