By Kristi Anderson
Last June, the Diocese of St. Cloud kicked off the National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year initiative of the U.S. bishops, with a Corpus Christi event and procession at St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud.
Since then, efforts to strengthen, educate and celebrate the ways in which Eucharist is understood and shared have blossomed into a multifaceted approach to get people involved at a grassroots level.
Locally, there are multiple teams working together to provide opportunities to learn and grow together:
- Core team: acts as a consultative team comprised of priests, deacons, religious, lay people, and educators who are diverse in age, vocation, culture and geographic locations.
- Education team: responsible for finding ways to teach about the Eucharist through various means.
- Events team: helps with creating, planning and orchestrating events at the diocesan level; acts as a support to parishes and Area Catholic Communities in planning their own Revival-related events.
- Prayer team: identifies and works with apostolates (Knights of Columbus, Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, etc.) to pray for and support Revival efforts; identifies and promotes current prayer and devotion opportunities.
- Outreach team: reaches out to those on the margins, those who have left the Church, those who are unchurched, those who haven’t attended in a while; considers ecumenical component; explores multicultural possibilities; connects with youth and young adults.
- Eucharistic congress team: plans and carries out the local Eucharistic Congress “Becoming Eucharist” Sept. 7-9, 2023.
- National procession (local): prepares for the national eucharistic procession that will come through the Diocese of St. Cloud in July 2024.
- National pilgrimage (local): organizes the diocesan delegation to the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis July 17-21, 2024.
Since the kickoff, the teams have offered a relic tour of eucharistic saints, a series of three Eucharistic-themed Regional Ministry Gatherings, a series of five BREAD talks, nine Cor Jesu events and two free downloadable prayer resources in Advent and Lent (stcdio.org/eucharistic-revival). The teams are also in discussions with the diocesan synod team to carry forward results from the local synod process into the Eucharistic Revival.
On the horizon is a multi-day diocesan Eucharistic Congress, “Becoming Eucharist,” slated for Sept. 7-9, 2023. Timothy O’Malley, director of education at the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame, will be the keynote speaker each of the three days. Stay tuned to The Central Minnesota Catholic magazine and stcdio.org/eucharistic-revival for more details to come.
Cor Jesu events
As part of the local Revival efforts, the Revival events team for the Diocese of St. Cloud is offering a series of Cor Jesu events — nights of Mass, eucharistic adoration and the sacrament of reconciliation — on First Fridays at multiple parishes across the diocese.
“When our team started talking about offering First Friday devotions in the new year, the room spontaneously erupted in ideas and excitement,” said Dino Kremer, a member of the events team and one of the key organizers of the Cor Jesu events. “It was a Holy Spirit moment. Cor Jesu was suggested, and it was immediately and unanimously decided that we have to do this.”
The team structured the Cor Jesu nights as a sort of novena, nine in all. However, participants do not need to attend all nine events.
Three events have been held to date in Eden Valley, Wadena and Holdingford. The next Cor Jesu event is planned for 6:30 p.m. May 5, at St. Catherine’s Oratory in Farming.
“The presence of the HolynSpirit is felt by many at St. Catherine’s,” said Barb Kohorst, one of the planners for the evening. “We have such a sacred, beautiful and historic place of worship and are excited to have the opportunity to share this feeling with those throughout our diocese.”
“Our greatest hope is that we are able provide a novena that inspires those who attend to become men and women who will look at life and make decisions in their lives through the Heart of Jesus,” added Barb Mergen, another event planner. “In doing so, we all have the opportunity to become people who act with greater integrity, affirming the truth of our faith and spreading beauty in the way they live. The novena fosters this way of life through the celebration of the Eucharist, adoration and penance.”
The organizers in Farming are especially excited to use the space at the oratory to engage in the Eucharistic Revival.
“It is a return to the traditions we hold dear as Catholics and a way to build a stronger connection to Jesus in the Eucharist,” said Karen Pundsack, a third organizer. “It is inspiring to see all of the different ways people can participate — Cor Jesu is just one example.”
The local Eucharistic Revival teams encourage everyone to get involved in whatever way they feel revives their own relationship with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
“My common experience at these events seems to be a sense of joy and hope even in the midst of all the worldly turmoil,” Kremer said. “It feels like entering a shielded room where those problems don’t exist.”
For more information on the Cor Jesu events and all things Revival-related, visit stcdio.org/eucharistic-revival.
Kristi Anderson is chair of the Diocesan Eucharistic Revival Team.