Toward the end of Luke’s Gospel, Cleopas and another disciple found their “hearts burning” as they travelled to Emmaus when a stranger struck up a conversation with them.
The stranger, of course, was Jesus, resurrected. When he broke bread with them, they recognized him.
Do you wish you could go on a journey with Jesus so that your heart, too, could be burning with faith to be shared with others?
Emmaus 90 may be just the ticket.
“We are ready to light this archdiocese on fire with love for our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist for the National Eucharistic Revival. We wanted to make that as easy as possible for individuals and parishes to do,” said Margaret Rhody, Associate Director for Parish Renewal with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.
Starting Jan. 1 and lasting 90 days — until Easter Sunday — Emmaus 90 will be offered to anyone seeking a closer relationship with Jesus Christ, especially in the Eucharist. The cost will be $20 per pilgrim, but no one will be denied due to financial circumstances.
The archdiocese designed Emmaus 90 in conjunction with the ongoing National Eucharistic Revival initiated by the U.S. bishops, but its structure is based on a past success.
“We offered something similar for young adults called Base Camp during (the pandemic) lockdown and were astounded at the fruitfulness. We had so many young adults come to us and say it changed their life, literally,” Rhody said.
Each Emmaus 90 “pilgrim” will receive:
- A guidebook journal.
- A daily prayer prompt for each of the 90 days between New Year’s Day and Easter.
- Challenging practices to grow in holiness.
- Weekly 30-minute formation videos on the beauty of our Catholic faith to discuss with a small group of fellow pilgrims. This will be a livestream on Thursdays, but the recording will be available afterward.
Is dedicating time and effort to Emmaus 90 worth it?
“When you commit to a time of intentional growth, consistently striving to give time and attention to your relationship with the Lord, God is never outdone in generosity. Not only is it ‘worth it’ but God will bless your socks off,” Rhody said.
“I can’t wait to see what Jesus is going to do in the lives of those who take this 90-day adventure. This is a moment where as a nation, we are asking God to light a new fire of love for him and transformation of our world, so this is a chance for people to do that together in their own family and/or parish community but also together as an archdiocese as a whole,” she said.
Some parishes will offer watch parties to help parishioners plug into Emmaus 90, but registration will be through the archdiocese starting Oct. 17.
Rhody recommends that Emmaus 90 “pilgrims” find just two to three others to join them on the journey, as research has shown this very small group size has many advantages.
“The ‘pay dirt’ — what actually makes this take root in our lives — is when we walk together and encourage each other and support each other and hold each other accountable. When you are in a group of three to four, you really can support each other in prayer and really get to know each other really well and remember to pray for each other and encourage each other,” Rhody said.
The others could be family members, fellow parishioners, coworkers or friends. Families that register will be sent a supplemental family guide so that school-aged children can easily take part with their parents.
It is easy to describe Emmaus 90 as a program with various elements, but the hopes of Rhody and other Evangelization staff working on Emmaus 90 supersede that.
“Really, our hope is that they are going to fall in love with Jesus in the Eucharist and explore really concretely what it can look like to live as a disciple and missionary in their daily life,” Rhody said.
“As people learn to hear God speak in daily prayer with Scripture, as they enter more fully, actively, consciously into the liturgy, as they experience the transformation that happens to disciples on the journey to Emmaus in their own lives — where Jesus draws near, unpacks the Scriptures, reveals himself in the Eucharist and inspires us to go out on mission to others — it’s going to change everything. Like, the whole world — when people know that Jesus loves them and is with them and when they lean into him, well, astounding things happen. Bring it on,” she said.
Ask a couple of people to join in on the journey to create a small group and mark your calendar — online registration opens Tuesday, Oct. 17, at www.archmil.org/Emmaus-90. Register by Dec. 10 to allow for time for the guidebooks to be mailed. A PDF that participants may print themselves will be sent to anyone who registers after Dec. 10.