On a mission to rekindle Catholics’ relationship with Jesus Christ through the Eucharist, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has launched the National Eucharistic Revival.
BISHOP TIMOTHY FREYER READIES AN ALTAR FOLLOWING THE PROCESSION AT THE NATIONAL EUCHARISTIC REVIVAL AT CHRIST CATHEDRAL. PHOTO BY CHUCK BENNETT
The multi-year campaign involves events at the diocesan level from June 19, 2022 to June 11, 2023, the parish level from June 22, 2023 to July 17, 2024 and then culminates with the National Eucharistic Congress from July 17-21, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
“One of the reasons for the revival was that there is an awareness, unfortunately, where some don’t believe that Jesus is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament,” said Bishop Timothy Freyer, auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Orange. “So, this is a process to try to help us to help our people to know what a great gift we are able to receive when we come to Mass and receive holy communion or come in adoration.”
In a June 12 letter to the Diocese, Bishop Kevin W. Vann said the Eucharist is at the heart of Catholic faith.
“His presence with us is much more than symbolic,” Bishop Vann said. “When we receive the Eucharist, we receive Jesus. And our reception of Him in the Eucharist is the source of life eternal within us.”
Dioceses across the country kicked off the revival with Eucharistic processions during the Feast of Corpus Christi on June 18-19.
The Revival officially began in the Diocese of Orange on June 18 with a Mass at Christ Cathedral.
Following the Mass, Bishop Freyer led a procession around the cathedral campus.
Hundreds of congregants participated in the procession, which was divided into Spanish, English and Vietnamese language segments.
“The Diocese includes all cultures for larger celebrations,” Bishop Freyer said.
During the first third of the procession, a Spanish choir led the singing of Bendito, Bendito (Blessed, Blessed). An English choir led the singing of Eat this Bread during the second part and a Vietnamese choir led Ta La Banh Hang (I am the Bread of Life) during the final third of the procession.
Two altars were set up along the procession route, where Bishop Freyer paused to lead litanies, or prayers, bless the congregation and perform a liturgical incensing of the Eucharist.
At the first pause, the congregation responded, “Glory and Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ,” for litanies that included “the wonders of creation,” “signs of sharing and solidarity” and “those who work for peace.”
Pausing at the second altar, the gatherers responded, “Lord have mercy,” for litanies including “worn torn nations,” “the homeless and the abandoned” and “those who suffer in body and heart.”
“This was a great blessing that it was here at the cathedral and there were so many people to stay here at a Saturday night instead of going out to eat right away, to nourish their soul rather than their body,” Bishop Freyer said.
While dates and plans are not finalized, several events are being planned for the Diocese over the next year, said Deacon Modesto Cordero, who is one of the main organizers for celebrations related to the revival.
Many events will involve children and young adults, Deacon Cordero said.
“Basically, this whole revival is to bring the love for the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, to kindle again that love, that fire in people’s hearts,” the deacon said.
Revival related events already completed included the Youth and Young Adults celebration.
A Eucharistic Conference in the Diocese is planned for October, and will feature English, Spanish and Vietnamese speakers.
A procession similar to the June 18 procession will take place in summer of 2023, Deacon Cordero said.
A year of revival related events at the parish level will then take place before it concludes in 2024 with the Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis.
“In particular, we want to reach every level of the church, right down to the small groups and the families in parishes and we want to be able to engage the many cultures and
deepen the sharing of the love of Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist,” said Bishop Andrew Cozzens, chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, in a videotaped message for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Rey Marin, who serves as a deacon at Christ Cathedral, couldn’t hold back tears when asked what the revival means to him.
“It is very emotional, because the body and blood of Christ is really the summit of everything a Catholic is,” said Deacon Marin, who attended the Mass and participated in the
procession with his wife, Dee.
Luis Reyes, an usher at Christ Cathedral, was also moved by the Mass and procession.
“When Jesus is here, everyone is so happy,” Reyes said. “Today we have a nice today, thanks to Jesus.”
Jesus says, “Everybody come with me. Because everybody needs me, and I am right here.”