5 big things to know about the National Eucharistic Revival

You’ve read about it. You know it’s coming. But with a global synod underway, how does the National Eucharistic Revival fit in? What does this mean locally? Why do we need one?

The bishops of the United States are calling for a three-year grassroots revival of devotion and belief in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. They are enthusiastic about beginning “a movement of Catholics across the United States, healed, converted, formed and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist — and sent out in mission for the life of the world.”

What does this mean for us in the Diocese of St. Cloud? There are five “big” things to know right now.”

BIG THING #1: WHEN IS IT TAKING PLACE?

The National Eucharistic Revival is a three-year initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It begins on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) which is observed on the weekend of June 18-19.

 MISSION

“I am the Living Bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world”  — John 6:51.

Visit the website www.stcdio.org/eucharistic-revival or email eucharisticrevivalstcloud @gmail.com.

During the first year, efforts are focused on the diocesan level — this may include diocesan-wide events, acts of service, days of prayer and healing, study groups, pilgrimages and outreach to those who are un- or under-served. All of these activities will culminate with a Diocesan Eucharistic Congress in 2023 right here in our diocese.

In the second year, Area Catholic Communities will take the spotlight. ACCs and parishes will be encouraged to have days of prayer, study, devotion, outreach and their own ACC eucharistic congresses. At the diocesan congress, people will be given the tools to host these events and welcome people in their areas to attend, reaching out beyond parish walls and into the community.

At the end of the second year, the first National Eucharistic Congress in the United States in almost 50 years will happen in July 2024. Organizers envision 100,000 Catholics will join together in Indianapolis for this pilgrimage. The St. Cloud Diocese plans to send a delegation, with the hope that each of its 29 ACCs will be represented.

“The Eucharistic Revival is not only important for our Church, but really for the whole world,” said Father Derek Wiechmann, local co-chair for the Eucharistic Revival. “From the cross, Jesus spoke the words, ‘I thirst.’ He said this in reference to his deep longing for all to know him and live in friendship with him. Jesus longs to live in our hearts! This is why the revival is important; we need to tell the world of his love.”

BIG THING #2: WHO IS INVOLVED LOCALLY?

In accordance with the national plan, a core team was formed in the St. Cloud Diocese. This team — under the direction of Bishop Donald Kettler and led by co-chairs Father Derek and Kristi Anderson — serves as a consultative body for the revival. It includes a broad range of men and women from various age groups, ideologies, cultures, vocations in life and apostolates.

Four working teams are offshoots of this core team: Prayer and Devotion, Education, Outreach and Event Planning. Teams are still forming, so if you’d like to get involved in one of them, visit www.stcdio.org/eucharistic-revival or email eucharisticrevivalstcloud@gmail.com.

Ultimately, everyone is invited and encouraged to be part of this initiative. Rita Vanderwerf, a core team member who attends St. Mary Parish in Alexandria, aims to help with the Prayer and Devotion team to share her love of the Eucharist with others.

“When I heard the mind-boggling statistic that only about one-third of the Catholic population believes that the Eucharist is really the body and blood of Jesus, I was shocked and saddened,” she said. “I undeniably agree that we, as a Church, are in need of a Eucharistic Revival. Transubstantiation should be a fundamental belief of all Catholics. We all need to be involved in educating and being educated about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.”

BIG THING #3: HOW DOES THIS CONNECT WITH THE SYNOD?

Hopefully, you have had a chance to participate in the Synod at a listening consultation or online. (If not, there’s still time! Visit www.stcdio.org/synod-2021-2023). It is the hope of Bishop Kettler that the information gleaned from the synod sessions held diocesan-wide can be synthesized and used to see where there are gaps, where wounds exist and what the hopes and dreams are for the Church in our diocese.

“The Eucharistic Revival is an opportunity for us to grow, heal and learn,” Bishop Kettler said. “I am very excited to promote this initiative and I hope that everyone — those who are faithful in the Church today and those who have been hurt or disenchanted for one reason or another — remembers why they love the Eucharist itself, not just the priest or the building. This is a chance to know Jesus in the sacrament and in service to one another.”

BIG THING #4: HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?

Join one of the working teams listed here. Attend events. Share stories. Offer up acts of service. Pray. Spread the word. It’s very likely you are already doing things that support and promote this initiative. Help call attention to those efforts by sharing them publicly and talking about them with family and friends.

Benedictine Brother Paul-Vincent Niebauer sees the revival as a great opportunity in the life of the world and is excited to be a part of the Eucharistic Revival core team as a representative of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville.

“The Eucharist is infinitely more powerful than anyone of us can imagine,” he said. “All we need to do is share our personal stories and experiences of the Eucharist with others, both close friends and strangers, and we will find ourselves in the act of building up the Church, the Body of Christ.”

BIG THING #5: JOIN IN THE KICKOFF JUNE 18 AT ST. MARY’S CATHEDRAL (OR AT A PARISH NEAR YOU)

On Saturday, June 18, a diocesan-wide kickoff is planned to mark the beginning of the National Eucharistic Revival. The day will begin at 1 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral and will include speakers, reflections, small group activities and refreshments. Opportunities for adoration and confession will be available. Mass will be celebrated at 5 p.m. with the bishop and will include a Corpus Christi procession. The event is free and no registration is required. Stay tuned to your bulletin for more local celebrations.

Hannah Molitor, a member of the core team and lead person for the Event Planning team, is eager to let people know that this event is open to everyone, no matter where they are on their faith journey.

“I’m excited to place our focus on the very core of our faith,” Hannah said. “The Lord meets everyone where they are at. What better way to meet him than in the Eucharist?”

CORE TEAM MEMBERS:

  • Kristi Anderson, chair | St. Mary’s Cathedral, St. Cloud
  • Father Derek Wiechmann, co-chair | Four Pillars in Faith ACC | Foreston, Milaca, Mora, Ogilvie
  • Michael Haney | Holy Trinity, Royalton
  • Father Kermit Holl, OSC | Crosier Priory, Onamia
  • Father Tom Knoblach | One in Christ ACC | Mayhew Lake, Sartell, Sauk Rapids, St. Stephen
  • Father Gregory Mastey | Mary and the Saints ACC | Elmdale, Holdingford, St. Anna, St. Francis, St. Wendel, Upsala
  • Hannah Molitor | Immaculate Conception, Rockville
  • Brother Paul Vincent Niebauer, OSB | St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville
  • Rita Olson | St. Louis, Foreston
  • Arturo Salgado | St. Mary, Melrose
  • Father Todd Schneider | MAAA Parishes ACC | Browns Valley, Chokio, Morris, Wheaton
  • Philip Shefveland | Christ Church Newman Center, St. Cloud
  • Rita Vanderwerf | St. Mary, Alexandria
  • Deacon John Wocken | St. Mary’s Cathedral, St. Cloud
  • Daniella Zsupan-Jerome | St. John’s School of Theology, Collegeville

DIOCESAN STAFF CONSULTANTS:

  • Aaron Carpenter, Office of Worship
  • Janet Dusek, Office of Marriage and Family
  • Barb Simon-Johnson, Office of Communications and Development
  • Joe Towalski, Office of Communications and Development

Author: Kristi Anderson

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