Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On this great solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Corpus Christi), we are invited to join the Catholic Church in the United States in a time of Eucharistic revival, a time to be renewed in our devotion to Jesus as He comes to us in the most Blessed Sacrament. This special effort is led by Bishop Andrew Cozzens, of Crookston, MN, and aims to renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with Jesus through the Holy Eucharist in the hearts of all Catholics, which in turn inspires us to go out to the world as witnesses of His infinite mercy and love. I encourage you to visit www.eucharisticrevival.org to learn more about this important time in the life of the Church in America.
This time of Eucharistic revival is begins today, the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, with a year of Diocesan revival. In a particular way, this year calls priests to a personal renewal in Eucharistic devotion and zeal. As I reflect on that call to renewal, I am struck immediately by a few important points.
- I am a priest in need of this renewal. While I have never doubted my love for Jesus in the Eucharist, I realize how often I fail to spend time with the Lord in adoration, or how easily I can be distracted during my time of prayer. As this year of renewal begins, then, I want to recommit to Eucharistic devotion, to personal prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I’m looking forward to personal renewal in my relationship with Jesus.
- My experience of those long months in 2020 when I was prevented by the pandemic from celebrating Mass publicly still weighs heavily on my heart. Positively, it was a time that deepened my appreciation for what it means to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and renewed my desire to celebrate Mass with reverence and care for the proper observation of liturgical rubrics. Negatively, during those months I felt acutely the absence of giving Holy Communion to you, the faithful of the parish. The very reason I was ordained a priest became so clear: the priest exists to feed people with the Body of Christ. I never want to repeat a time when I cannot give you the Eucharist.
- The Second Vatican Council was absolutely correct in teaching that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. I have seen this in my own life: the more I learned about Catholicism, the more I heard the Gospel proclaimed, the more I was drawn up to the summit, the Eucharist. At the same time, the more I found myself spending time with Jesus in the Eucharist, the more I appreciated the gift of Holy Communion, the more I also found myself, from that great source, filled with a desire to both know more and to share more of this tremendous gift. I pray that this time of revival will enable all of us to know the faith more deeply, to share it more freely, and to love the Lord more perfectly.
- This year reminds me of one of the most inspiring theological, spiritual concepts I ever learned. The Second Vatican Council teaches that there is a universal call to holiness: everyone by virtue of their baptism is called to be holy, to be a saint. Each of us will find that holiness in our own particular vocation. My vocation to the priesthood calls me to holiness in a way that is different from the vocation of lay people. However, in no way are different vocations contradictory. Rather, our vocations are complementary. In the Eucharist, all vocations find their support, their necessary nourishment, for all of us, no matter our state in life, are called into communion with Jesus.
In the months and years to come (the vision for this national Eucharistic revival continues into 2025), I look forward to growing together as a parish in devotion to the Lord. But more immediately, I would like to encourage some practical ways for us to grow in this devotion. First, today in honor of this great solemnity, I invite you to come for an afternoon hour of Eucharistic Adoration from 2:30 – 3:30 PM in the Church. This will be a very simple moment for us to pray, to be with Jesus, to honor the gift of the Eucharist in our lives. Second, every first Friday of the month, we have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in our chapel from 9 AM – 9 PM. The next First Friday is July 1 – I encourage you to mark the date on your calendar and carve some time out of your schedule for prayer before the Eucharist. The Chapel is always open and accessible, a place to come and encounter the Lord who waits for you in the Tabernacle. Take advantage of Jesus’ availability! He is waiting for you there! With a chapel that is already always open, I have a dream that this campus could become a center of Eucharistic devotion. I would like to see the Chapel become a Perpetual Adoration Chapel, a place where the Eucharist is adored 24 hours a day. I envision Perpetual Adoration hosted at St. Pius as a unifying experience for parishes in our area, as together, the whole Catholic community regardless of parish affiliation, comes before the Eucharistic Lord. Today we begin a journey of Eucharistic revival. Please pray with me that all our efforts, all that we bring before the Lord, may by His grace, be for our growth in holiness and the building up of the Church here on earth.