Parish Year of Revival takes shape around diocese
By Linda Oppelt
COLORADO SPRINGS. A 2019 Pew Research Center survey revealed that approximately 70% of Catholic interviewees believe that the bread and wine used at Communion are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, compared with 30% who believe the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Spurred on by this information, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops responded to this crisis of belief by proposing a national Eucharistic Revival, comprised of three years of renewal and formation. The process began officially in June 2022, with the year of Diocesan Renewal. In June 11, 2023, Corpus Christi Sunday, the parish phase kicked off, and in June 2024, a year of Mission will commence.
The mission of the revival is “to renew the church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist,” while its vision is “to inspire a movement of Catholics…who are healed, converted, formed, and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist — and who are then sent out on mission ‘for the life of the world.’”
What follows is not an exhaustive report but only a brief summary of how a few diocesan parishes are addressing Eucharistic Revival.
Some parishes had already begun emphasizing a renewed focus on the Real Presence in the Eucharist through increased opportunities for Eucharistic Adoration.
St. Gabriel Parish greatly increased adoration times in the last few years. “At St. Gabe’s we’ve put a great deal of emphasis on Eucharistic Adoration in our new Adoration Chapel. The Blessed Sacrament is on display in the monstrance there, between 8:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays,” according to Matt Trinca.
Another parish increasing adoration time is St. Mark’s in Highlands Ranch. Deacon Robert Seydel shared, “We have been pushing our parish to have more time with the Lord in Adoration for a few years now. We do not have 24-hour adoration but we have made more and more time available to our parishioners and encourage them to just come to sit with the Lord in the tabernacle daily.”
At Sacred Heart Parish in Colorado Springs, Barry Schultz shared that Father Jarrod Waugh has added an hour of adoration on Thursday nights from 5:30-6:30 p.m., which includes exposition and benediction, as well as confession.
“It’s been well-received. I think more and more people are coming,” he said.
“Our goal, I think, is to enhance awareness of the true Eucharistic experience within our parish, be it the Mass, be it Adoration, any other involvement in church activities, that will help make that a more comprehensive part of our church,” Schultz said.
At St. Peter Parish in Monument, Debby Dover said they now have a ½-hour of adoration before all the Sunday Masses. Mary Simmons at St. Paul Parish said they are also “increasing our frequency, understanding, and parish focus on Eucharistic Adoration.”
Another approach parishes are taking is to buy and distribute relevant books to parishioners and/or to offer group studies on these books.
One such book is “This is My Body,” by Bishop Robert Barron, which has been offered as a free gift to parishioners of St. Gabriel and St. Rose of Lima. Father Steve Parlet of St. Rose of Lima also plans to distribute the book, “Beautiful Eucharist” by Dynamic Catholic, at Christmas to his parishioners.
Sacred Heart Parish is offering families two books by Timothy O’Malley: “Real Presence: What does it mean and why does it matter?” and “Becoming Eucharistic People,” the latter being the topic of a six-week book study on Thursday nights.
“Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist” by Brant Pitre, is a book mentioned by Father Brad Noonan at Our Lady of the Pines in Black Forest. He will be offering the book to parish families at Christmas, followed by an intergenerational faith formation program incorporating the book in January. Father Noonan is also planning to give the book, “The Bishop of the Abandoned Tabernacle: Saint Manuel Gonzalez Garcia” by Victoria Schneider, to people who attend daily Mass, and invite them once a week to coffee and donuts after Mass to discuss the book.
In Castle Rock, St. Francis of Assisi Parish is combining the Eucharistic Revival with the parish’s 135th Anniversary. Father Mark Zacker says this will include “offering a Novena to St. Francis from Sept. 26–Oct. 4. We will focus on St. Francis’ love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and his missionary charism to bring Jesus to others. With permission of Bishop Golka, we will be replacing the Prayer to St. Michael at the end of each Mass by singing the famous Prayer of Saint Francis! What a great prayer to pray at home each day, as well! I am encouraging our parishioners to pray the Prayer of Saint Francis at home every day!”
The parish will also mark the 800th Anniversary of the First Christmas Manger with a “live” Christmas Manger outside the church on Christmas Eve.
Another combination video series/small group offering is “Jesus and the Eucharist” which will be presented by St. Paul Parish and Sacred Heart in the new year. The seven-session study was created specifically for the Year of Parish Revival. According to Schultz, “It is to be used in the parish, in a small group format; it can be led by a lay person. I was able to review the first one and thought it was quite good.”
Resources for this free series include online training for table facilitators and planning team as well as handouts in both English and Spanish. See www.eucharisticrevival.org/formation-resources#jesusAndTheEucharist for details.
Several parishes have and are taking the opportunity to host the Eucharistic Miracles of the World exhibit, created by Blessed Carlo Acutis.
Here is the current listing of parishes that have reserved the exhibit:
- Sept 5-26 Our Lady of the Visitation, Kiowa
- Oct. 7-11 St. Mark, Highlands Ranch
- Oct. 13-Nov. 2 St. Paul, Colorado Springs
- Nov. 17-27 St Francis, Castle Rock
- Dec. 1-19 St. Joseph, Colorado Springs
- Feb. 9-20 Holy Apostles, Colorado Springs
- May 20-28 Our Lady of the Pines, Black Forest
To reserve the exhibit for your parish, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other upcoming dates for the National Eucharistic Revival include a Eucharistic Pilgrimage which will be going through Denver June 7–9, 2024 (see www.eucharisticpilgrimage.org), and the 10th National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis, Ind. July 17-21, 2024. Several parishes have purchased passes for a few families to attend. However, everyone is welcome to attend, not only those with parish passes. Check with your parish for details, or go to www.eucharisticcongress.org.
(Linda Oppelt is administrative assistant for The Colorado Catholic Herald.)