National Eucharistic Congress a ‘unique opportunity for all Catholics’

By John Rohlf

The Message assistant editor

In less than one week, the first National Eucharistic Congress in 83 years is coming to Indiana.

The 10th National Eucharistic Congress will be held July 17-21 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Diocese of Evansville Bishop Joseph M. Siegel anticipates the National Eucharistic Congress will be a powerful manifestation of the unity of the Church in the United States as those in attendance gather to celebrate the great gift of the Eucharist and to bear witness to their belief in the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Bishop Siegel says it is his hope that the experience will stoke the fires of faith and evangelization in the Church, both locally and nationally.

Father Simon Natha, Pastor of St. Isidore Parish in Celestine, believes the five-day Eucharistic Congress is a “unique opportunity for all Catholics” to strengthen their faith. Father Natha and Bishop Siegel both noted the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic faith.

“I pray that everyone who is able to participate in this special event grows closer to Jesus in the Eucharist and shares what they experience at the Eucharistic Congress with those who are not able to attend,” Father Natha said.

Father Anthony Ernst, who serves as Pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Vincennes and St. Philip Neri Parish in Bicknell, said the Eucharistic Congress is a great opportunity for Catholics in the United States to come together to celebrate their love for the Holy Eucharist. He said the National Eucharistic Congress provides a great opportunity for any Catholic to experience a larger sense of the Church and to celebrate their faith with fellow Catholics from around the country.

Father Ernst also noted that those in the Diocese of Evansville are blessed to have the National Eucharistic Congress held so close to the diocese.

“Hopefully many people from our diocese will be able to attend at least part of the Congress to experience the great talks that will be given as well as the powerful prayer opportunities,” Father Ernst said.

Father Chris Forler, Pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Daylight and St. Bernard Parish in Snake Run also stressed the unique opportunity to have the Congress so close to the diocese. Father Forler said even if one’s own faith in the Eucharist is strong, there are so many who have not heard or do not believe this good news, even some fellow Catholics.

“Soak in the riches of this truth so that you might be an apostle to another soul,” Father Forler said. “The Eucharistic Lord has transformed all the saints and countless others and helped transform the world for the good. Even if for a day, come and share in the gift!”

Father Luke Hassler, Pastor of St. Mary of the Annunciation Parish in Ireland, said the National Eucharistic Congress offers a special chance to deepen our connection with God and each other as Catholics. Throughout history, large gatherings in the Church have been powerful moments of unity and spiritual renewal, Father Hassler said.

“It's incredible that this Congress is happening right in the backyard of our diocese in Indianapolis, making it easy to participate and experience the blessings of the Eucharist together with other Catholics from around the United States,” Father Hassler said. “The Holy Spirit indeed works in unique ways when we come together in faith and worship. I hope it's a profoundly enriching experience of renewal for all who attend! I hope to see you there!”

Father Eugene Schmitt, Pastor of Sts. Mary and John Parish in Evansville, said with a large number of Catholics not believing in the true presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, the Eucharistic Congress is a great opportunity to enlighten those who lack understanding.

“I pray many will take time to attend or watch videos of the Congress after it has occurred,” Father Schmitt said.

Each day from July 17-21, the National Eucharistic Congress is designed to facilitate a life-changing encounter with Jesus, regardless of where one is on their faith journey, according to the National Eucharistic Congress website. Attendees will select their preferred series of impact sessions for the morning and breakout sessions for the afternoon. The whole assembly will experience the powerful revival sessions in Lucas Oil Stadium each evening, according to the National Eucharistic Congress website.

For information on how to register and fees for day and full event passes, visit