Did you know that there have been nine National Eucharistic Congresses here in the United States of America? Many of us fondly recall the 41st International Eucharistic Congress that our archdiocese hosted in August of 1976. It was a great boost to our faith and followed a long line of Eucharistic Congresses held around the world since the first one in Lille, France in 1881! But, there have also been National Eucharistic Congresses – nine in all – beginning in 1895; the last one was in 1941. And, you will recall that our archdiocese held its first Archdiocesan Eucharistic Congress this past September. The goal of these Eucharistic Congresses is to draw the faithful together to celebrate the Eucharist, the “source and summit of our faith,” as the Second Vatican Council calls it so well.
As we continue to participate in the National Eucharistic Revival, I want to update you on the plans for the 10th National Eucharistic Congress that will be held 17 – 21 July 2024 in Indianapolis, IN, and invite you to attend! Over 23 hotels have already been contracted to host Congress participants. It promises to be an inspirational time for all! Registration is very easy; simply go to eucharisticcongress.org.
Another exciting event that will involve our archdiocese and even our own parish will be the first-ever National Eucharistic Pilgrimage that will take place this spring and will include Eucharistic Processions beginning in San Francisco, CA, the Mississippi Headwaters at Lake Itasca, MN, Brownsville, TX and New Haven, CT; each procession will end in Indianapolis, IN in preparation for the beginning of the National Eucharistic Congress. If you trace these routes you will notice that they fittingly form a cross. Plans are still in development but the procession from New Haven, CT is expected to pass through Philadelphia on its way to Baltimore, MD. Parishes along the way will be invited to take part in the processions as they travel from north and south, east and west to Indianapolis. It will surely be a spiritually inspirational time for everyone!
Here in our parish, we are continuing our participation in the National Eucharistic Revival in a number of ways. I’m inspired to see more parishioners spending time before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament during our weekly adoration on Monday beginning after the 8:00am Mass and ending with Benediction at 4:30pm. I have also been encouraged to see that all 600 copies of Bishop Robert Barron’s excellent book, This is My Body, that were placed on the tables at the church entrances have been taken. If you haven’t already done so, I strongly encourage you to take the time to read this superb presentation on the Eucharist. As St. Peter Julian Eymard, the 19th century French priest who founded two religious communities – one for men and one for women – to promote devotion to the Eucharist said so well: “The only remedy I know to combat the spiritual indifference of our times is to surround it with fire, the fire of the Eucharist.” We are, once more, faced with spiritual indifference in our time and we rely on our Lord in the Eucharist to rekindle in us the fire of his love through this National Eucharist Revival. We are so blessed to believe in our Lord present in the Eucharist and will all benefit from this ongoing revival!