The Eucharist: Christ’s true presence



While on a cruise, Jim and I encountered a man wearing what appeared to be a Roman collar. Next to him was a woman that he introduced as his wife. Coincidentally, I had read an article in “Catholic Digest” only a month before about married Catholic priests. Not wishing to assume incorrectly, I asked if he was a minister.

He replied, “No, I am a Catholic priest. I was a Methodist minister for 15 years before I converted.” Recalling the most common reason given in the article as to why there are currently 120 married priests in the United States, I asked him why he converted to Catholicism. Without hesitation, he said, “The Eucharist. Through my studies, I realized that the Eucharist is the true presence of Christ.”

I have thought about that encounter often, especially after reading a 2019 study done by pew research (www.pewresearch,org). It reported that 69% of all self-identified Catholics believe that the Eucharist is merely a symbol of Christ’s body and blood. That percentage drops to 38% when asking regular church-attending Catholics.

Bishop Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota, reacting to this finding, said he was angry. However, his ire was directed more toward the Church itself than the flock. With the dismal statistics as to how many Catholics do not understand or believe “a basic tenet of the Catholicism,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced a three-year Eucharistic Revival. It began on Corpus Christi Sunday, June 19, 2022, and will culminate in a National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis July 17-21, 2024.

In an introduction to the National Eucharistic Revival (, Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota, outlines the goals of this movement: to heal, conform, unify and finally evangelize to the world the saving power of Christ’s presence in the Holy Eucharist.

One of the first events that has taken place is the traveling display in local churches that explains some of the 126 worldwide Eucharistic miracles that have occurred throughout the history of the Catholic Church. It is worth our time to investigate a fraction of these, all of which have been approved by the local Diocesan Bishop and venerated with a shrine. Many also have been approved by the Holy See.

Throughout the history of the Church, many saints have written about the power of the Eucharist or been witnesses to phenomenal occurrences in the presence of the Eucharist. In the book “Eucharistic Miracle of the World,” each phenomenal occurrence is described along with witness accounts and confirmation of its happening. A section in which 20 plus saints tell of their unique experiences is also included.

St. Thomas Aquinas said, “The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love.” Christ died on the cross for our sins; and every day, that dying for us takes place at Holy Mass.  St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote, “One of the most admirable effects of Holy Communion is to preserve the soul from sin.” When we receive Communion, Christ’s grace is freely given. However, if we refuse to recognize what we are given, we lose those graces. J.R.R. Tolkien, a devout Catholic writer who attended daily mass considered the Eucharist to be the center of his life.

However, we do not have to travel the world to experience a miracle. Every day, in Catholic Churches throughout the world, we witness the miracle of transubstantiation, when common bread and wine is changed into the real presence of Christ, who offers his body and blood as a sacrifice for us. This is the source and summit of our Catholic faith!

The Eucharist is not a symbol.

It is the real presence of Christ.

As a result, we Catholics are responsible first to seek the knowledge necessary to understand this unfathomable sacrifice and then to share the Good News with all.

Are we taking the time to study the tenets of our faith? Are our Catholic beliefs aligned to the teachings of the Church? We have been blessed with the gift of Christ’s presence coming in communion with us daily in the Eucharist. When the Eucharistic minister says, ”The Body of Christ,” is our Amen sincere?