The Catholic Church in the United States has a tremendous opportunity over the next three years to stoke a fire and spur a revival of the faithful.
In November, the USCCB called for a National Eucharistic Revival. The three-year revival begins Sunday, June 19, and Archdiocese Director of Evangelization and Catechesis Pete Burds said Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki is excited to participate here in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
“My hope is this is more than just large events, but that this can bring about a lasting change,” Burds said.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and surveys showing a lack of belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the bishops of the United States made the call for the revival.
“The whole idea is to re-energize the Church and rally us around Christ, present in the Eucharist,” Burds said. “There’s controversy everywhere we turn. What better to bring unity than the Eucharist.”
The pandemic got some Catholics out of the habit of regular Mass attendance and the hope is these three years will bring them back and bring new believers to the Church.
“If people were just going through motions previously, getting out of the habit may have even shown them, ‘I was just going through the motions. I don’t know if I really need to be going to Mass,’” Burds said. “That’s where the Eucharistic Revival is an opportunity for parish revival. We need to be bringing people deeper in love with Christ and the Eucharist, but the heart of it is to be a renewed as Catholic disciples, following Jesus wherever he goes.”
The next year – June 19 through June 11, 2023 – is a year of preparation, where leaders around the archdiocese will be equipped to share the love of the Lord’s personal invitation and share it through a Eucharistic congress and various opportunities and resources for parishes.
Burds said this will be the continuation of his office’s work in implementing the recommendations from the 2014 Synod regarding evangelization and the Sunday Mass, and continuing the message of Archbishop Listecki’s “Gift of Sunday” letter.
“At the heart of the Eucharistic Revival is evangelization – to invite people to encounter Christ in the way St. Paul did, getting knocked off his horse,” Burds said. “People encounter Christ — encounter the fundamental Gospel message — particularly in the Eucharist.”
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee will host three big events during the next year related to the Eucharistic Revival.
On Oct. 22, Mary Mother of the Church Pastoral Center will host a Revival Preparation Day, which will give parish leaders an overview of the revival and practical items they can implement. On Feb. 21, the Archbishop’s Pallium Lecture will feature Msgr. James Shea, who will speak on “Love for the Eucharist in an Apostolic Age.” From June 8-10, the archdiocese will host its own Eucharistic Congress, which Burds said will consist of formational opportunities for all ages and family friendly activities. There will also be opportunities for Mass, Eucharistic Adoration and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
June 11, 2023, through July 17, 2024, will be the year of parish revival. This phase will foster Eucharistic devotion at the parish level, strengthening liturgical life through faithful celebration of the Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, missions, resources, preaching and organic movements of the Holy Spirit.
“With the energy around the Eucharistic Revival nationally, resources will be available in abundance,” Burds said. “Our role will be funneling good resources at the parish level and coaching with different ideas. A hope I have with all of this is it gives pastors, staff and volunteers at parishes a lot of opportunity to be creative.”
On July 17-21, 2024, Indianapolis will host the National Eucharistic Congress, which is expected to attract as many as 100,000 Catholics to reconsecrate their hearts to the source and summit of the faith.
“This is an opportunity for us to take a step back as a Church and say, ‘Let’s get back to the fundamentals. This is about Jesus and helping people encounter his love,’” Burds said.
The final phase — from July 21, 2024, through Pentecost 2025 (June 8) — is the year of our going out on mission, where a revitalized Church will share the gift of the Eucharistic Lord.
“We encounter Christ; therefore, we go out in the world to be Christ to the world,” Burds said.