Bishop Neary: Becoming a tabernacle of Christ

By Bishop Neary, C.S.C.

I’m really looking forward to attending my first National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis, Indiana, from July 17-21, in my home state! The last National Eucharistic Congress took place in 1941 in nearby St. Paul-Minneapolis, right here in the North Star State of Minnesota, my new home.

I’m so happy that the Marian Route of the Eucharistic Procession to Indianapolis passed through the Diocese of St. Cloud in the latter part of May. As the monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament was presented to me at the foot of the steps of St. Mary’s Cathedral, I had to smile when I saw children and adults ringing little cow bells to warmly welcome the Lord Jesus.

Two weeks later, I celebrated the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ at St. John the Baptist Parish in Meire Grove. The procession was led by the Meire Grove Band, followed by children who dropped lilac petals along the route. At each of four chapels on the grounds, Father Arockiya Newton and I took turns offering a prayer, and each time that I raised the monstrance to bless the people, a cannon was fired.

In my homily, I shared a story of an Irish woman that a priest friend of mine met at Lourdes, France, some years back. She asked this priest if he might push her wheelchair to the place where she could observe the passing of the eucharistic procession at noon. As soon as she saw the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance, her body began to convulse violently. Afraid that she needed medical assistance, he was stunned to witness her body suddenly straighten out and to see her stand upright! Soon thereafter, the miracle was confirmed by the Lourdes Medical Bureau.

The woman shared that she had made six pilgrimages to Lourdes and had accepted the fact that she was not going to be cured. She simply thanked the Lord for having given her such a wonderful family and decided to humbly accept her cross. Ironically, her seventh visit brought about the miracle of her healing.

It is a reminder that at the heart of the Eucharist is the mystery of the cross of Christ. The cross represents all of suffering humanity. The cross means complete helplessness and extreme pain. But it also means surrender. “Not my will but thy will be done,” was Jesus’ most humble prayer.

When we receive Communion, we become a tabernacle of Christ and become like the host on display in the monstrance. Our entire being contains Christ! We must now become his chosen disciples sent on a mission to carry him to everyone we meet — especially to those who seemingly do not know him and to those who are suffering. In looking at your eyes, your smile, in feeling your loving kindness, they will realize that Christ has visited them through you.

Soon enough, I’ll be in Indianapolis with a host of delegates from the Diocese of St. Cloud to encounter our brothers and sisters from all over the country and beyond. It is my deepest prayer that everyone who participates in the National Eucharistic Congress will discover that we are all one body in Christ, and one with people of every land and nation. If we can see this truth, there will be no more greed, no more hatred or violence and no more war. Then heaven and earth will finally be joined as one.

Yours in Christ,

+ Bishop Patrick M. Neary, C.S.C.
Bishop Neary is the 10th bishop of the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota.

In photo: Bishop Patrick Neary, of the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota, celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known as Corpus Christi, June 2 with a Mass and procession at St. John the Baptist Parish in Meire Grove.  (Dianne Towalski / The Central Minnesota Catholic)

Author: Bishop Patrick Neary, C.S.C.

1 comment

Thank you, Bishop, for these wonderful words. Your teachings of the Eucharistic resonates with me. It was truly an honor to have you preside at our Corpus Christi celebration!
God Bless you.

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