On March 27, 2020, at an early point in the global pandemic, Pope Francis walked alone in the rain across an empty St. Peter’s Square to offer prayer for the world in a time of crisis. “Faith,” he said, “begins when we realize we are in need of salvation. We are not self-sufficient; by ourselves we flounder: we need the Lord, like ancient navigators needed the stars.” Recalling when Jesus was asleep in the boat as a tempest was raging (Mark 4:35-41), the Holy Father said, “The Lord awakens so as to reawaken and revive our Easter faith.” On that day, Pope Francis presided over the rite of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction in order to focus our attention on the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. The Pope was reminding us that even in a time of turbulence and crisis, Jesus is present among us, as present as he was long ago in the boat on the Sea of Galilee.
This presence of Jesus, the Real Presence, that we experience in a very tangible way is when we all gather for the Eucharist daily but especially on Sundays. I am sure you heard that the US Catholic Bishops have called for a three-year National Eucharistic Revival, which aims to renew devotion and belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, This initiative has three phases: the national phase, the diocesan phase and the parish phase. At the moment we are in the diocesan phase which will come to an end with the Corpus Christi Sunday on June 11, 2023 when the parish phase will begin. This Revival will culminate with a National Eucharistic Congress, in Indianapolis, July 17-21, 2024. The year after that is the ‘Year of going out on Mission.’ Having enkindled a missionary fire in the hearts of the American faithful, the Holy Spirit will send us out on mission to share the gift of our Eucharistic Lord as we enter the universal Church’s jubilee year in 2025. The Bishops have written a beautiful document titled “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church” which is worth reading and studying.
Our Diocese of Metuchen has suggested that we form a parish committee to make the parish phase more participatory and beneficial. I wish to invite individuals who wish to be part of this committee to contact me or Msgr. Brennan. No qualifications necessary. Just a desire to deepen our faith in the Eucharist and an interest to promote the Eucharistic understanding and implications to our parish community. There will be guidance from us as well as from our Diocesan Office.
There are already many resources that all of us can easily access:
Start reading the USCCB’s article: https://eucharisticrevival.org
Have a look at the free study guide at: https://reviveparishes.com/eucharist Also you can watch a free two-hour online course, presented by Bishop Andrew Cozzens, on the Bishops’ document on the Eucharist.
This is a chance for our whole parish to take a fresh look at our Holy Eucharist which the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1324-1327) describes as “the source and summit” of the Christian life. We will certainly gain new appreciation and insights into what we celebrate and who we receive in Holy Communion, Jesus Christ, the Lord of our life.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal