Parishes in the United States are now engaged in the second year of the National Eucharistic Revival. Here at Holy Cross Parish, we are fervently striving to offer our parishioners a vibrant experience of the Revival.
The first year of the Revival focused on diocesan level programs and activities. In the Diocese of Fort Wayne–South Bend, these included a Eucharistic Pilgrimage on each side of the diocese, a local South Bend Revive mission, a Eucharistic Formation Day led by our Bishop, Kevin Rhoades, and a number of other events. The highlight of the year was a diocesan-wide Eucharistic Procession, which a number of our parishioners attended. A major program offered by the diocese was evangelization training sponsored by the St. Paul Evangelization Institute. Our Holy Cross parishioners have a strong sense of the importance of parish outreach to the local community; for this reason, we had the largest group of parishioners join the training offered on our side of the diocese, and we look forward to implementing the “missionary sending” aspect of the Revival, which will come as the focus of the third year.
Last spring, our newly formed Eucharistic Revival Team developed these principles for our parish observance of the second year of the Revival:
The team consists of two parishioners functioning as the “point” persons between the parish and the diocesan coordinator of the Eucharistic Revival, along with a third parishioner, our director of music ministry, our school principal, our Associate Pastor, Fr. Tom Zurcher, C.S.C., and myself. The team has been meeting monthly to update the parish Revival blueprint sent to the diocese and to implement various aspects of the blueprint.
Our first major event was the Living Communion Mini-Retreat, offered in September by Emma Coley, a Catholic Worker and co-organizer of the Living Communion Initiative. The retreat served as a kick-off event for the Holy Cross Neighborhood Mutual Aid Program, which our parish is sponsoring with the local Near Northwest Neighborhood organization. (I’ll write more about our parish’s participation in this initiative in a future blog.)
The next major activity, one of the two pillars of each parish’s Renewal in our diocese, was our 40 Hours Devotion in October. It began with a Eucharistic Procession after the 10:30 am Mass and was followed by a parish social. We had a great turnout of about 150 parishioners for the procession, with a nice mixture of younger families with children and older parishioners. Many parishioners commented on how beautiful and meaningful an experience the procession was for them. Adoration continued through Tuesday, with evening prayer on Sunday, at which Fr. Brian Ching, C.S.C., Rector of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame, preached, and on Monday, at which Fr. Dan Groody, C.S.C., Vice President and Associate Provost of Undergraduate Education at Notre Dame. preached. Different classes in the school participated in an hour of adoration during school hours on Monday and Tuesday, with various prayer experiences tailored to their grade levels, while parishioners served as adorers during other times of the day. Before the closing Mass, at which our Provincial Superior, Fr. Bill Lies, C.S.C., presided and preached, we sponsored a family adoration geared for the younger children of the parish. We ended the 40 Hours Devotion after Mass with a parish social, an opportunity for fellowship as a parish community.
In October, we also sponsored a Holy Hour Against Racism, provided by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for the Eucharistic Revival. I was pleased to see the number of people who attended. In November, our parish had a private viewing of the exhibition “Body & Blood: Contemplations on the Eucharist” at nearby Holy Cross College. The exhibit featured a variety of creative works reflecting on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, exploring our practice of consuming consecrated bread and wine during Mass in commemoration of the Last Supper and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The collection of art included imagery created by Holy Cross College students, alumni, faculty, and staff, along with local community members, including four Holy Cross parishioners, three of whom are professors at Holy Cross College. There was also a small selection of infographics from Blessed Carlo Acutis’ Eucharistic Miracles of the World exhibition. Refreshments generously provided by the college (the president and provost are both parishioners!) helped to promote a nice afternoon of socializing and fellowship.
During Advent, we sponsored Taize prayer during our regular Monday evening holy hours of adoration. Our bulletins have regularly included reflections, prayers, and flyers focused on the Eucharist and the Revival. We have been encouraging parishioners to attend the National Eucharist Congress that will be held in nearby Indianapolis, Indiana, this July.
Our next major program, the second pillar of parishes’ observance of this year’s Revival as mandated by Bishop Rhoades, is the Jesus & the Eucharist small group study, which we’ll be offering for seven weeks before and during Lent. I look forward to telling you more about it in a future blog!
My hope and prayer are that this year of Eucharistic Revival will fulfill the goals and priorities that we set forth and will bring parishioners to a revival of living out the Eucharist and the Gospel in their lives.
Published on January 3, 2024