June 17, 2022

Christ the Cornerstone

The Eucharist is at the heart of our relationship with Jesus

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson

On Sunday, June 19, our Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). This year, we are using this joyful occasion to launch a National Eucharistic Revival, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which will take place from 2022-2025. Near the end of this ambitious three-year experience, there will be a National Eucharistic Congress hosted here in Indianapolis in 2024. What a great grace for our country as well as for our archdiocese!

Here in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, we will open the Eucharistic Revival with a special event on June 19. This will include two Masses, a Festival of Faith, Family and Service, an outdoor eucharistic procession, and a Holy Hour. The events will take place in downtown Indianapolis at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center, and St. John the Evangelist Church. You are encouraged to attend any portion of the day’s events that fit into your schedule—come for part of the day or all of the day to join in our celebration of the real presence of our Lord in the holy Eucharist.

As I wrote in my pastoral letter, “Worship of God in the Holy Mass Unites Us,” last Advent:

In this life, there is no greater way to foster [an intimate] relationship to Christ and the Church than through the gift and mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist and the fruitful celebration of the Mass. Indeed, the Eucharist is at the heart of our relationship with Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Therefore, we are called to celebrate the gift of the Sacrament of the Eucharist in the Mass until Jesus comes again and glory. And doing so, we stand side-by-side with the angels and the saints in the joyful expectation of our Lord‘s return.

The goal of this National Eucharistic Revival is “to renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the holy Eucharist.“ This revival will occur in three phases: Year One focuses on renewal at the diocesan level; Year Two will be focused on renewal at the parish level; Year Three will address the ongoing revival at all levels nationally with special attention to the mission to go forth with our faith, especially in the peripheries.

The need for this intense renewal of faith and devotion to the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist has never been greater.

Today we are living in the midst of the increased secularization of our culture with many of society’s traditional values being disregarded. And we continue to witness, in what is more and more becoming a culture of death, our society’s value for human life at every point along the life spectrum being disregarded.

Crimes against innocent human life—from the killing of unborn children, to the senseless violence in our schools, to murder in our streets, to the horrors of war—all continue to headline our news and break our hearts. We need the grace of the Eucharist today more than ever to unite us in prayer and in action, and to restore the peace of Christ in our hearts and homes, in our communities and among nations.

The National Eucharistic Revival that we are inaugurating this Sunday is also a response to the sad truth that participation in Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation has been declining for many decades and was only made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. We bishops have a gravely serious responsibility to remind all baptized Catholics of their obligation to worship God on Sundays and holy days in the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and to gather around the table of the Lord to hear God’s word and to receive the body and blood of Christ in the holy Eucharist.

Frequent reception of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, is essential to our spiritual growth and, I believe, to our physical, mental and emotional health in these very stressful times. Active participation in the life of the Church is the way most Catholics give witness to their faith in Jesus Christ.

When Mass attendance declines, so does our Church’s ability to offer a vibrant, joy-filled alternative to the serious social, economic and political challenges of our time.

Please join us this weekend—by your physical presence or at least by your prayers for the success of this Eucharistic Revival. Our prayerful participation allows us to “stand side-by-side with the angels and the saints in the joyful expectation of our Lord‘s return.” There is no better time to celebrate our relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist than now! †

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