As you know, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) initiated a three-year Eucharistic Revival this past 19 June, Corpus Christi Sunday to provide us all with a renewed encounter with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.  During this, the first year of this revival, all parishes are encouraged to host events with a Eucharistic focus.  After the celebration of the Eucharist itself, what better Eucharistic event is there than our annual Forty Hours Eucharistic Devotion?  Msgr. Beach has graciously accepted my invitation to lead us in our 40 Hours this year.  It will be begin next Sunday after the 11:30am Mass and conclude with a 7:00pm Mass on Tuesday and I encourage everyone to join us!

As you know, we believe that, when we celebrate Mass, we participate in the Paschal Mystery: the once-and-for-all offering of our Lord to us for our spiritual nourishment at the Last Supper and our Lord’s offering of himself on the cross to his heavenly Father for the forgiveness of our sins.  And, as we read in Sacramentum Caritatis (§ 66):

Eucharistic adoration is simply the natural consequence of the Eucharistic celebration, which is itself the Church’s supreme act of adoration. …The act of adoration outside Mass prolongs and intensifies all that takes place during the liturgical celebration itself.

In the opening paragraph of his encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Saint Pope John Paul II provided a powerful reminder of the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of all followers of Christ:

The Second Vatican Council rightly proclaimed that the Eucharistic sacrifice is “the source and summit of the Christian life. …For the most holy Eucharist contains the Church’s entire spiritual wealth: Christ himself, our Passover and our living bread.  Through his own flesh, now made living and life-giving by the Holy Spirit, he offers life to all.”  Consequently, the gaze of the Church is constantly turned to her Lord, present in the Sacrament of the Altar, in which she discovers the full manifestation of his boundless love.

We need our Lord in our lives and are blessed that he has given himself to us in this clear sign.  We truly receive him, body and blood, soul and divinity, whenever we receive Holy Communion.  We are truly in his presence when we come before him in the Blessed Sacrament, whether reserved in the tabernacle or exposed on the altar.

Every year, we are privileged to set apart some time to be with our Lord exposed in the Blessed Sacrament during our annual Forty Hours Eucharistic Devotion.  As I mentioned earlier, our Annual Forty Hours Eucharistic Devotion will be held next week: 9 – 11 October.  The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed on Sunday, 9 October, after the 11:30am Mass and remain exposed until Evening Prayer and Benediction at 7:00pm.  The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed on Monday and Tuesday after the 8:00am Mass and remain exposed all day.  On Monday evening, there will be Evening Prayer and Benediction at 7:00pm.  On Tuesday evening, the Annual Forty Hours Eucharistic Devotion will conclude with Mass, Procession and Benediction at 7:00pm.

Msgr. Beach and I invite everyone to come and join in to spend some time before Our Lord truly present to us, exposed for our adoration and worship, inspiration and direction!  You will find a sign-up board on the table next to the piano and you are encouraged to commit to one-half hour or more for private adoration.  And, if you need some inspiration to help you, bring a Bible along and reflect on the Eucharistic passages found in all the Gospels as well as Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (cf. Matthew 14:13-21; 15:32-39; 26:17-30; Mark 6:34-44; 8:1-21; 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-30; John 6:1-15, 25-69; 13:1-17:26, 1 Cor 11:23-29).