By Kristi Anderson
There was no shortage of emotions pulsing through the crowd of 150-plus Jan. 5 at The Main Gate in Little Falls for the first of a series of five BREAD Talks, designed by the local Eucharistic Revival team.
“I can feel a revival happening,” said Kelli Kleinschnitz, director of faith formation at Holy Saints Area Catholic Community. “I see so many examples of the Holy Spirit inspiring the faithful. That’s why when I saw this clever spinoff of a TED Talk for the Eucharist, I couldn’t help but get excited about it.”
Kleinschnitz, who also co-leads a Catholic moms Facebook group, put out a call on the webpage to garner interest for the event and offer to carpool.
“I knew one of the main reasons people don’t attend events is because they are afraid they won’t know anyone,” she said. “It compelled me to put out a ride share invite on my personal timeline and on the Central MN Catholic Moms Facebook group and pack my big white van.
I was overjoyed when 10 came along.”
Hosted by the Diocese of St. Cloud’s Eucharistic Revival teams, the event featured two witness speakers who shared their personal testimonies about their love story with the Eucharist.
First up was Tiffany Threlkeld, a wife and mother of eight from Little Falls who joined the Catholic faith after searching for something she felt was missing in her life. She expressed her struggles with finding the Lord and then her deep desire to know and love him more, and how she grew to long for the Eucharist, especially evident during the height of the COVID pandemic when she wasn’t able to receive it.
Katie Jensen, from St. Mary Parish in Upsala and a student at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, followed Tiffany with her heartfelt story of love, loss and ultimate sacrifice. Using moments from her own life and quotes from Pope Benedict XVI, Jensen shared how God used and continues to use suffering to help her grow in her faith and be a witness to others, a sacrifice she draws most near to in the celebration of the Eucharist.
“The personal testimonies and Eucharistic love stories of Katie and Tiffany moved me to tears. Our God is so personal and so available,” Kleinschnitz shared. “I hope the BREAD Talk inspires everyone in attendance to share their own stories.”
Father Scott Pogatchnik, rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral and pastor of St. John Cantius and St. Augustine in St. Cloud, followed the women’s testimonies with a dive into how all are called to be part of the Eucharistic Revival through living out faith in daily life, relationships and interactions, prayer, education and celebrating the sacraments.
“There is something about coming before the Lord in the Eucharist,” Father Pogatchnik said. “He is the author of our lives, the author of the entire world. He knows precisely every cell of our bodies, every thought of our minds, every moment of our past and even knows our future.
“It is Jesus himself that desires to draw near to us. … There are times I am afraid, times I don’t trust you, there are times I experience pain but help me to know you more and more and help me to give you permission to open the hood of my heart and allow you to come in to fix what needs to be fixed.”
Using “snapshots” of living examples of people who, through their ordinary lives, did extraordinary things, he explored the virtues of saints and their love stories with the Eucharist, specifically illuminating the lives of St. Clare, Mother Teresa, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John Vianney and the two patron saints of the Eucharistic Revival: Blessed Carlo Acutis and St. Manuel Gonzalez Garcia.
“I urge you, I beg you, I hope that you avail yourselves to the graces of this beautiful time of the Eucharistic Revival and that you become missionaries yourself. I hope that you strive to become the saints God is calling you to become. I hope that you pick up the virtues of these saints and find a way to embed them in your life.
“The Lord made us for this age,” he concluded. “As much as we can curse it, as much as we can find all kinds of flaws in this age, we are the ones who are meant to sanctify this time.”
There are four more BREAD Talks scheduled between February and June. For dates, times and locations, visit www.stcdio.org/eucharistic-revival.
Kristi Anderson is chair of the Diocesan Eucharistic Revival Team.