Tanner Kalina, a National Eucharistic Missionary, was the featured speaker for three Encounter Nights in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in October. He is shown during the Oct. 18 event at St. Mary, Hales Corners. (Photo by Kristen Kubisiak)
Music and prayer filled St. Mary Parish, Hales Corners, on the evening of Oct. 18, where more than 100 Catholics from the parish’s faith community and beyond gathered in witness to God’s real presence in the Eucharist.
“It was very inspirational,” said Kerry Wardius, Oak Creek, who attended with her daughter, McKenna.
The event was one one of three “Encounter Nights” that took place in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in October. These opportunities to “encounter” Jesus are part of the National Eucharistic Revival, a movement to restore and deepen understanding of and devotion to the source and summit of the Catholic faith — the Eucharist. Besides St. Mary, other events were hosted at Lumen Christi in Mequon, and St. Mary in Burlington.
“For me, the Benediction and being blessed by our Lord is so powerful,” said Pat Griffin, Milwaukee, who was joined by her husband, Mike.
The transformative evening began with a message from National Eucharistic Missionary Tanner Kalina, followed by Eucharistic Adoration and opportunities for Reconciliation, all accompanied by worship music.
“There’s a Church document called ‘Lumen Gentium’ that says the Eucharistic sacrifice is the fount and apex of the whole Christian life,” Kalina said. “The Mass is as good as it gets on this side of heaven and Adoration is an overflow of the Eucharistic sacrifice, so with the Eucharistic Revival, we are trying to bring people into a deeper encounter of our Lord in the Mass and also in Adoration.”
The need for such a revival is clear to Wardius, who is on the Eucharistic Revival Core Team at St. Matthew, Oak Creek. Core team members from parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee — like Wardius and the Griffins, who serve on the core team at St. Vincent Pallotti — met with Kalina before the event started.
“The world is struggling,” Wardius said. “So many people have lost their connection to the Lord. If we could get five pews of Catholics back to the pews, we could change the world.”
At Encounter Night, Kalina encouraged those gathered to open their hearts to really receive Jesus, and push through their doubts the way those who lived when Jesus walked the Earth pushed quite literally through the crowds just to touch his cloak and be healed.
“Jesus was the original ‘Beatle Mania,’” Kalina said, “or, if you’re younger, he was the original ‘Bieber Fever.’ When Jesus went to a town, everyone came. The crowds were huge. In order to go up and touch the fringe of his garment, you had to fight through crowds, through people yelling at you. You had to fight through your own doubts of ‘Am I actually going to get killed by going and trying to touch this man?’”
The struggle to gain access to Jesus today is just as real, he said, but those obstacles blocking the path to him come in the form of worries about what others will think, and distractions of daily life.
“Push through all of that and fight to touch our Lord because when you do, he heals,” Kalina said. “When he walked among us 2,000 years ago, Jesus healed and Jesus is here among us today in the Eucharist and so the Eucharist heals.”
Kalina advised that each person’s Eucharistic encounter will be different. While some are gifted with overwhelming emotion, or receive profound clarity — others will experience nothing. That does not mean we are unchanged.
“Whether we feel it or not, when we are in front of our Lord, we change,” Kalina said. “Trust that being with our Lord is doing wonders on your soul.”
Following Kalina’s message, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed for Adoration by Fr. Aaron Laskiewicz, Pastor of St. Mary. In recent years, Eucharistic Adoration has become an increasing part of discipleship at his parish. One example is the monthly program “Magnify,” when parishioners are invited to gather for praise and worship.
“We started Magnify in August, and it’s been really well received,” Laskiewicz said. Also new this year, teachers and students at the parish’s grade school have been participating in Eucharistic Adoration after school Masses.
The goal, he said, is to create opportunities for the parish to grow closer to God, and let God do the rest.
For more upcoming opportunities to grow in faith during the National Eucharistic Revival, look for the special information box on the Archdiocese of Milwaukee home page.
Emmaus 90 Registration Open
Online registration is open for Emmaus 90, offering a unique path to build a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee designed Emmaus 90 in conjunction with the ongoing National Eucharistic Revival.
- Starts Jan. 1 and lasts 90 days — until Easter Sunday.
- Register by Dec. 10 to receive a hard-copy guidebook journal or print your own from a PDF if you register later.
- Receive a daily prayer prompt, challenging practices to grow in holiness and a weekly 30-minute formation video to discuss with two to three fellow pilgrims in your family or beyond.
- The cost is $20 per pilgrim, but no one will be denied due to financial circumstances.
Register here: www.archmil.org/Emmaus-90