Head of Eucharistic Revival exhorts faithful to ‘live a eucharistic life’
by Deacon Rick Bauer
COLORADO SPRINGS. On Jan. 7, priests and deacons from the Diocese of Colorado Springs gathered for a day of inspiration, reflection, discussion, and prayer. Co-led by Bishop Andrew Cozzens, chairman of the Evangelization and Catechesis Committee for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop James Golka, the morning activities at St. Gabriel Parish featured an extensive reflection on the Eucharist by Bishop Cozzens, including a detailed plan for the three-year Eucharistic Revival that he has been tasked with organizing.
The National Eucharistic Revival is a three-year initiative sponsored by the USCCB to inspire and prepare the People of God to be formed, healed, converted, united, and sent out to a hurting and hungry world through a renewed encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist — the source and summit of our Catholic faith. The revival officially launched in June 2022, and its milestone event will be a National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis, Indiana, that will take place July 17-21, 2024. The National Eucharistic Revival and National Eucharistic Congress are a direct response to the Holy Father’s call for a “pastoral and missionary conversion which cannot leave things as they presently are” so that the Church in the United States might be “permanently in a state of mission” (“Evangelii Gaudium,” No. 25). For more information on details of the activities and detailed planning, visit the National Eucharistic Revival website at https://www.eucharisticrevival.org/.
Plans include a Year One (2022-2023) Diocesan Revival, a Year Two (2023-2024) devoted to Parish Revival, and the final Year Three (2024-2025) featuring the National Eucharistic Congress and Missionary Sending. The goal is to prepare all the faithful to go out to the entire nation as “eucharistic missionaries” filled with the flame of divine charity among them.
Bishop Cozzens observed that “the Eucharistic Revival is a movement, not a program, and is meant to provide the faithful to fall deeper in love with Jesus in the Eucharist, and to be equipped to share that love with others.”
Bishop Cozzens, a native of Denver, was ordained to the priesthood in 1997, named an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2013, and in 2021, Pope Francis appointed him Bishop of Crookston, Minnesota.
His presentation to diocesan clergy on Jan. 7 was titled “Living a Eucharistic Life” and focused on the Eucharist as the life, ministry, worship, revival, and Jesus’ plan for the healing of the world.
Bishop Cozzens stressed that clergy should view all suffering in their ministry like St. Paul did — a way to participate in the Paschal mystery, making an offering of the priest’s life. Citing the late Pope Benedict’s 2003 book “God Is Near Us,” Bishop Cozzens read: “Anyone who repeatedly exposes himself to [the Eucharist] and confides in it will be changed. You cannot walk constantly with the Lord, cannot ever anew pronounce these tremendous words ‘This is my Body and my Blood,’ you cannot touch the Body of the Lord again and again, without being changed and being led by him . . . in the long run there are only really two possibilities: either to shake off the Eucharist, with the enormous demands and power it sets up in life, or to surrender to it, to hold fast to it. Anyone who holds fast to the Lord will not be abandoned by him . . . he will never be denied his light.” (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, “God is Near Us,” p. 126).
(Deacon Rick Bauer is content editor at the Augustine Institute and serves at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Colorado Springs.)