Beginning on June 19, Corpus Christi Sunday, the Diocese of Evansville will kick off a Eucharistic Renewal in which our parishes, Catholic schools and diocesan departments will be participating! Not only that, but all of the Catholic dioceses in the United States will hold a Eucharistic Renewal (referred to as a “revival” on the national level) at the same time. Eventually, the renewal will culminate July 17-21, 2024, in a National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis. It will be the first National Eucharistic Congress in about 50 years; Philadelphia hosted the last one in 1976, our nation’s bicentennial!
When the idea for a Eucharistic Renewal was first proposed to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the following rationale was given for the project: “Two significant developments have highlighted the need for a revival of Eucharistic faith and practice. In 2019, a Pew Research Study revealed that less than one-third of self-identified Catholics expressed a belief in the Real Presence. Less than a year later, the COVID-19 crisis forced the Church in the U.S. to suspend public liturgies. During this crisis, many of the faithful expressed a renewed desire for the Eucharist, but there is also a concern that some may lose the sense of the need for the Eucharist and not come back to regular Mass attendance. Beyond these significant developments lies a deeper concern, which is the loss of the robust Eucharistic mindset of the Church in her faithful.… The fact of Catholics not knowing or believing in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist signifies a profound loss of identity that needs to be regained.”
Consequently, the Eucharistic Renewal in our diocese will focus on four goals:
- Believe: Foster belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist
- Worship: Foster attendance at Mass, as well as valuing Mass in its entirety
- Live: Encourage living in such a way so as to reflect the Eucharist in our daily lives.
- Share: Encourage sharing the truth, beauty and goodness of Mass with others so that they in turn may be drawn to it.
Bishop Joseph M. Siegel has asked the Office of Catechesis to coordinate the renewal’s implementation, and the most important aspect of how it is to be lived out is simply what each parish and school — as well as what each one of us — chooses to do in order to grow in our devotion to the Eucharist and to allow it to transform our lives. To that end, each diocesan department, parish and school has committed to practicing 2–3 concrete ways of living out the Eucharistic Renewal. The Office of Catechesis has compiled these initiatives, and they are available online for everyone to see at evdio.org/eucharistic-renewal. It is our hope that this will be a means to inspire and encourage ourselves along the way and, likewise, foster the sharing of initiatives and resources between everyone. Please check them out! They’re quite uplifting.
More than taking on a lot of extra commitments, the focus of the Renewal is to give a Eucharistic emphasis — a Eucharistic flavor — to many of the things we already do. To the degree that the various areas of ministry in our diocese truly take ownership of this initiative and rely on the assistance of God’s grace in doing so, I believe that there is real potential for deep and lasting fruits to be born.
I encourage each of you — as individuals, as families, in your prayer groups, through your parishes, schools, etc. — to actively and intentionally participate in this Eucharistic Renewal. In addition, why not make a few resolutions of your own? In the end, I believe that we, our parishes, our schools and our diocese will be all the better for it. Moreover, there is something that all of us can do that is absolutely vital to the Renewal. Please pray for it! It really does depend on our prayer.
May more and more people come to know and fall in love with Jesus Christ, who is really and truly present — body, blood, soul and divinity — in the Most Blessed Sacrament!