Update: This event has been postponed. Dr. Timothy O’Malley is unable to join us for the three-day Eucharistic Congress slated for Sept. 7-9. We will work with Dr. O’Malley to reschedule a date in the near future. Stay tuned for more information.
Catholic theologian, author and teacher, Dr. Tim O’Malley will be the keynote speaker Sept. 7-9 at the local Eucharistic Congress (see box for details). O’Malley serves as the director of education at the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame. He’s the author of seven books and his articles have appeared in America magazine, Our Sunday Visitor, Religion News Service and Angelus magazine. On his Twitter feed, he recently wrote: “Outdoor adventure is necessary for my well-being. East Tennessee remains ingrained in my being.”
Q. You’re the author/editor of “Becoming Eucharistic People.” What inspired you to write it? What have been the fruits of writing it?
A. During the pandemic, I was asked to write a book on the doctrine of Real Presence. What I discovered there was the gift of Christ’s presence dwelling among us, feeding us, inviting us to recognize once again his hidden presence in the hungry and thirsty. Then, I thought: Well, you can’t just tell people that and expect them to become what they receive in the Eucharist — the love of Christ poured out for the life of the world. You need a process of gradual formation. So, my book “Becoming Eucharistic People” was interested in that. How do you live a Eucharistic life? It’s worship, it’s letting yourself be formed by the Eucharist, it’s challenging a sense of religious practice as merely private, and it’s love of your neighbor unto the end.
The fruits, I think for me, have been a recognition that the Eucharistic Revival speaks into the deepest concerns of the Church today: how do we live together, and even love one another, with a charity that comes from Christ and not ourselves?
Q. You’ve been out speaking a lot. What has that experience been like?
A. I’ve learned a lot. The Church in many dioceses throughout the United States is thinking about what it means to engage in evangelization. They’re wondering about new pastoral strategies. And what I’ve discovered is that the Eucharist provides a kind of renewal of the imagination to help us think about this renewed evangelization. One that heals, enlightens, and unifies. We’re not a bureaucracy.
You can’t just hire (even the best) consultants to come in and restructure leadership.We need a mission. Our mission, as the Church, isthe self-giving love of Christ. It’s love and love unto the end. This is attractive, and I get a sense that this could be a new springtime in our beloved Church (despite all the challenges, which are very real).
Q. What are you seeing nationally regarding the Eucharistic Revival? What is your hope that the Eucharistic Revival will do?
A. The Second Vatican Council was clear: the Church is a eucharistic mystery before the Church is anything else. We are not members of Christ’s Body because we align with the political platform of the Republicans or Democrats, because we are readers of the National Catholic Register or Reporter. We are Catholic, conformed to Christ, temples of the Holy Spirit made to worship the living God. I want every baptized Catholic, especially the lay faithful, to recognize that their vocation is the Eucharist. To offer their lives as a sacrifice of love for the life of the world. To receive our Lord in the Eucharist in a way that makes their flesh and blood lives different. To spend time before the Lord in quiet, learning to see with gratitude the gift of love that is given in the Eucharistic mystery. And to love one another, especially those who our society treats as most unlovable. We are called to communion — the most remarkable, beautiful communion that any human being could imagine.
Q. What are you most looking forward to when you come to Minnesota?
A. I look forward to being with the people of the Dioceseof St. Cloud. I look forward to seeing dear friends from Saint John’s and Saint Benedict’s. I look forward to praying with the monks of Saint John’s Abbey. I look forward to cheese curds and a visit to the Pickled Loon. I also can’t wait to see Bishop Patrick Neary, who I have known since 2000 (well before he was your ordinary).
Q. What is at the heart of the message you’ll be sharing with the people of St. Cloud?
A. What I’ve said above: you are a eucharistic people! You are temples of the Holy Spirit made to consecrate the whole world back to the Father through the Son in the unity of the Holy Spirit. In your family. At your job. In politics. In agriculture. In hunting and friendship and hiking. God wants it all: Lift up your hearts to the Lord.
Q. Why should people come to the retreat or family event?
A. You can’t become a eucharistic people in the abstract. Just like you can’t love in the abstract. It’s easy to love humankind. It’s hard to love this person or that person. Our task is to come together. To manifest our love of Christ to the world. To become what we receive in the Eucharist.
If you go: Diocese-wide Retreat
When: Friday, Sept. 8, check-in at 8:30 a.m.
Where: Seven Dolors Church, Albany
Retreat begins at 9 a.m. with presentations by Dr. Tim O’Malley, prayer, small and large group discussions, personal reflection time and a shared meal, ending at 3 p.m., followed by Mass.
Cost: $15 to offset costs for lunch and materials
To register: www.stcdio.org/eucharistic-revival
If you go: All-diocese Family Friendly Event
When: Saturday, Sept. 9
Where: Lake George, St. Cloud
Daily Mass at 8 a.m., eucharistic procession around the lake, adoration, confession; several presentations by Dr. Tim O’Malley; music by SONAR, Eucharistic Word and Art display; kids’ activities, inflatables, food trucks, service learning and opportunities; Benediction, Divine Mercy Chaplet, multicultural procession to St. Mary’s Cathedral with Mass at 4 p.m., followed by St. Mary’s annual Block Party.
Cost: Free to attend (bring your own picnic lunch
or purchase from food trucks)