June 24, 2022

Beauty of the Eucharist shines forth during holy hour in downtown parish

Caris Roller kneels on June 19 in the center aisle of St. John the Evangelist Church in Indianapolis surrounded by flower petals she placed there to make a variety of eucharistic and other faith-filled images, following a centuries-old Corpus Christi custom found in many European countries. The images were made at St. John for a holy hour that concluded the start of the National Eucharistic Revival in the archdiocese. (Submitted photo)

Caris Roller kneels on June 19 in the center aisle of St. John the Evangelist Church in Indianapolis surrounded by flower petals she placed there to make a variety of eucharistic and other faith-filled images, following a centuries-old Corpus Christi custom found in many European countries. The images were made at St. John for a holy hour that concluded the start of the National Eucharistic Revival in the archdiocese. (Submitted photo)

By Sean Gallagher

Father Rick Nagel has described St. John the Evangelist Parish as a “beacon of light in Indianapolis” since he began leading the downtown faith community in 2011.

But as proud as he is of his parish community, Father Nagel knows its light comes from a greater source.

“There’s no greater beacon of light than our Lord Jesus Christ,” he said on June 19 at the back of St. John the Evangelist Church, which was packed with nearly 1,000 people worshipping the Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament.

It was part of a holy hour and Benediction that concluded the start of the National Eucharistic Revival in the archdiocese.

Prior to the holy hour, two Masses were celebrated at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral. There was also a Festival of Faith, Family and Service at the adjacent Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center.

Then a eucharistic procession headed into the heart of downtown Indianapolis with St. John as its final destination.

Father Nagel took part in the procession, walking with Christ in the Blessed Sacrament with hundreds of Catholics from across central and southern Indiana through the downtown where he has sought to share the Gospel for more than a decade.

He described the procession, with eucharistic prayers and hymns echoing in the canyon of high-rise buildings, as “a supernatural experience.”

“How in the world could you ever top that?” Father Nagel asked. “I’ve been telling people for weeks that this is going to be a point of history that we should all be a part of.”

Caris Roller, a member of both St. John the Evangelist and the nearby Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish, put her mark on the history made at St. John on June 19.

A few hours before the start of the holy hour, Roller, with the aid of a handful of helpers, placed flower petals down the center aisle in various eucharistic and other faith-filled images, continuing a centuries-old Corpus Christi tradition that began in various European countries.

Roller has shared this part of her creative talents for the past two years at Holy Rosary on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, traditionally known as Corpus Christi. Getting to share her faith and artistry with the entire archdiocese during the June 19 holy hour was powerful for her.

“It was amazing,” said Roller, who teaches art at Lumen Christi Catholic School in Indianapolis. “I felt very humbled and grateful that I got to do that for Jesus.”

Roller said drawing others closer to Christ and the Church through beauty is key to proclaiming the Gospel today.

“I think it enlivens people’s faith to see the beauty,” she said. “It’s so important when people don’t want to hear the truth anymore. They don’t want to be good anymore. So, beauty is really a vehicle to evangelization. That is my mission.

“I feel like beauty will change the world.”

Aurora Verkamp was glad to process into St. John with two of her children over the top of Roller’s creation. She was joined there by her husband and their two other children.

“It was amazing,” said Verkamp, a member of St. Malachy Parish in Brownsburg, of the holy hour. “We go to adoration fairly regularly, but there’s not usually so many other people there as here. It was such a blessing to be able to just focus on Jesus and not worry that my kids were making too much noise, because everybody was making noise.

“Sometimes, it can be a little lonely being Catholic. But you couldn’t be lonely here today.”

Now that the eucharistic revival has begun, Verkamp hopes the love she has for Christ in the Eucharist will spread to more people.

“I hope that more people will fall in love with Jesus,” she said. “I hope we see more events like this with more and more people coming and knowing and loving Jesus.

“You don’t have to say any specific prayers or do anything specific. You can literally just sit with Jesus. That’s all he asks. And it’s all you need.”

(For more information about Caris Roller’s artistry in floral arrangements, visit littlefloraldevotions.com.)

 

Related: The gift and the challenge of the Eucharist come into focus in the start of the eucharistic revival

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