The Bishop's Crozier: The three-year path of the Eucharistic Revival
Behold, I make all things new” (Rv 21:5). My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the Catholic Church in the United States has begun a three-year process of renewal called the “Eucharistic Revival.”
We are dedicating the next three years to listen to the Lord speak and allowing him to renew our lives through God’s love “encapsulated” in the Eucharist. Rather than a new program or series of initiatives, we are invited to personally encounter Jesus’ very presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Through this the Lord wants to renew his people so that we can witness this love in the world.
The last decades have been very difficult for the Church. The Body of Christ has been broken through scandal, division, confusion, and constant pressure from a culture that is indifferent and often hostile toward the Church. But God is not indifferent to these hurts. Rather, in his Divine Providence, we are given this time to allow him to bring healing and to renew our lives. This is a time of great hope! I am very excited to see what the Lord has in store.
The first year focuses on the leadership throughout the diocese responding to the Lord’s invitation to renew our sense of vocation in serving Jesus and his Church. This is a time to discern what the Lord wants by reestablishing habits of prayer and discernment that will help us better hear the Lord’s call. Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, sat at the feet of Jesus and listened. We are invited to do the same. For example, the Catholic Pastoral Center is offering eucharistic adoration for the staff to come away and be with Jesus. I am very hopeful that this will inspire all our efforts and help them to be even more fruitful.
One important goal is to make Sunday the Lord’s Day again. We need to reclaim the Sabbath for Jesus! Sunday worship and rest is a gift from God. He wants us to come to him and rest. Sometimes we see keeping the Lord’s Day strictly as an obligation or a burden. The commandment to keep holy the Sabbath actually protects our freedom! By saying “yes” to God we say “no” to those other lesser things that clutter our lives. The Lord’s Day sets a boundary on those other things that can quickly enslave us and bring more stress. Let’s take back Sunday for God.
This year will also be a good time to for our priests and deacons to talk about what the Church desires in the Sacred Liturgy. The Eucharist unifies the Body of Christ. The Mass especially must stand out as a sign of unity among the people of God. This is an important time to consider how the Church’s liturgy faithfully proclaims our faith in the Eucharist and cause real communion among the People of God. Please pray that the faithful are receptive to this conversation. The Mass is very important. I pray that our hearts are open to what Jesus is asking. The Mass does not belong to any one of us. It belongs to Jesus.
We hope to end this first year of Diocesan Renewal in the Eucharistic Revival with a big Eucharistic Procession and Congress. Please keep your calendars open early next June. We will be able to give more details about this in January.
On the Solemnity of Corpus Christi in 2023, we turn our focus to Parish Renewal. We will continue the habit of listening to Jesus in prayer and working to extend the fruits of the Diocesan Renewal. There will be more discernment about what the Lord wants that year to look like. At the end of that year, we will each be invited to intentionally go out and live the missionary character of the Eucharist in our communities. The word “Mass” essentially means “Go.” Renewed by the graces gifted to us by the Lord, we look forward to a lasting renewal for the Church here in America.
These years of Eucharistic Revival are a true gift from the Lord. He has already given us the best and most needed gift, his Son. And Jesus has left us the memorial of our salvation in the Eucharist. The Lord is calling us back to deeper faith, knowledge, and love of this gift.
I invite all Catholics in our diocese to regularly spend time with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Ask the Lord to heal any hidden or obvious wounds in your life. Ask him to give you his rest and his peace. Ask him to grow within you that faith in the Lord’s faithful presence in the Eucharist. Ask him to help you live that same gift in every part of your life. Please also pray for those helping lead this Eucharistic Revival. More information and content will be available regularly in the Herald and in other diocesan and parish media.
I am thankful to Jesus for giving us this invitation to be renewed by the Eucharist. I am excited to see what he wants to accomplish in us over these next three years!