Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
As the fall harvest season winds down and we look ahead to Thanksgiving, I am reminded of all those who work to bring the bounty of the earth to our tables: farmers and farmworkers, processors, truck drivers, grocery workers and those who ultimately prepare the food for our dining tables. It is a time to be grateful for the blessings of God’s creation and for the gift of our lives and those of our loved ones.
But there is a more important thanksgiving that we celebrate each Sunday — actually every time we gather with others around the eucharistic table for Mass. The word “Eucharist” comes from the Greek “eucharistia,” which means “thanksgiving.” Here we encounter Christ’s real presence under the appearance of bread and wine. In the sacrifice of the Mass, Jesus offers himself as spiritual nourishment to the faithful. It is “a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet …” in the words of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. It is a thanksgiving celebration beyond compare.
As you know, in June, the Church in the United States launched a three-year national revival to foster renewal, heal divisions and unify us through a living relationship with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is truly a gift — one that sends us on a mission to bring Christ and his Good News to all whom we encounter in the world.
In our diocese, we are holding a series of Eucharist-focused Regional Ministry Gatherings. In October, we heard from Crookston Bishop Andrew Cozzens, who is spearheading the National Eucharistic Revival, on the framework of the initiative and how to apply it to our lives. At two more gatherings in November, we will hear about how to live eucharistically in today’s digital culture, and from a panel of presenters speaking about the transformative power of the Eucharist in their own lives.
I attended the first gathering and was pleased to see the good attendance both in person and via livestream. Several parishes and Area Catholic Communities participating virtually hosted watch parties to view the presentation as a group and discuss what they heard. What a wonderful way to learn and pray together during this time of the Revival! I encourage you to attend the remaining gatherings. You can find out more about all of these talks at www.stcdio.org/eucharistic-revival.
The celebration of Mass and receiving Jesus in the Eucharist are vital to our lives as Catholic Christians. It is truly the source and summit of our faith. We are part of the Body of Christ, and all of us who share in the Eucharist are also called to go out and transform our world, becoming instruments of communion, peace and solidarity with others. So, I encourage you to pray and reflect on what you can do to be a public witness of Christ’s presence and to live this out during this time of the Revival and beyond in your homes, workplaces and communities.
In this month of Thanksgiving, let us reflect in a special way on all of the blessings we receive in our lives and all that we are grateful for. And let us reflect more deeply on the gift of the Eucharist and its power to transform our lives and the lives of all whom we encounter.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Donald J. Kettler
Bishop of Saint Cloud