Eucharistic Revival team releases playbook on how to “enkindle a relationship with Jesus”   – Catholic World Report

A priest bows before the Eucharist. /Paul Sri/CNA

Washington, DC Newsroom, October 16, 2022 / 9:02 am (CNA).

When a 2019 Pew poll found that 31% of Catholics believe a core tenet of their faith — that the body and blood of Christ is real, real, and substantial in the Eucharist — U.S. Catholic bishops decided to take action seize.

At their annual meeting in 2021, the bishops called for a multi-year national Eucharistic revival to restore and promote understanding and devotion to the Eucharist. The initiative will culminate in a National Eucharistic Congress in 2024, which they hope over 80,000 Catholics will attend.

A “playbook” for Catholic leaders

As a first step, the team organizing the revival has released a “playbook” to help diocesan leaders, priests, and Catholic school administrators develop plans to stir up zeal for the Eucharist in their communities.

These leaders, as Bishop Andrew Cozzens of Crookston, Chair of the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, notes in the foreword to Leader’s Playbook: Year 1, are called to be “missionary disciples.”

The mission, writes Cozzens, is “to renew the Church by kindling in the Eucharist a living relationship with Jesus Christ.”

“It’s about a relationship with Jesus”

Having a relationship with Jesus is nothing new, Father Craig Vasek, a priest of the Diocese of Crookston and a member of the team of priests charged with kindling the Eucharistic faith, told CNA.

“This is something Jesus asked us to do in the beginning. That’s what he does with his 12 students and what he wants to show the world,” he said. “He wants to share a living relationship with us in no place larger than the holy of holies.”

For those unaccustomed to speaking about Christ in this way, Vasek says, it is a sign that something is missing in the way Catholics practice and share their faith with others.

“For decades, this has been the cry church of those who were paying attention and saying, ‘We can’t just do things and fund programs. We need to introduce people to Jesus,” Vasek said. “Pope Benedict was concerned that our faith is not a set of ethical principles or anything, but a person. It’s about an encounter. It’s about a relationship with Jesus.”

“We all need to get on our knees and say, ‘Lord, I need Your grace. I need your forgiveness and I need your mercy to become more like you and live more fully in the Holy Spirit.’ I mean that’s what we need. We’re talking about that,” he said.

“So we restore this fundamental element, we propose again a living relationship with Jesus.”

Practical suggestions for communities and schools

The playbook contains practical suggestions for promoting personal encounters with Christ in the Eucharist, including Eucharistic processions, Eucharistic retreats and “Nights of Mercy”, evenings of adoration, music and fellowship.

One of the suggestions was that congregations should ask for a visit to the relics of Bl. Carlo Acutis and St. Manuel Gonzalez Garcia, special intercessors for revival.

Vacek’s Minnesota congregation recently hosted the Relics for an evening of worship, confession and veneration.

“A lot of people later commented that it was such a transformative night with such a Catholic feel. ‘ said Vacek. “It’s one thing we were able to do, that was an evening of great grace,” he said.

Suggestions for “reviving devotion” in the playbook included sharing inspirational stories about the Eucharist, including testimonies from people in the diocese, stories of Eucharistic miracles, and the transformative power of the Eucharist in the lives of the saints. It was also recommended to encourage the practice of short visits to the Blessed Sacrament and to instruct the faithful on how to make a holy hour.

Suggestions for in-depth formation included programs to bring the faithful closer to the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and how to “open more fully to the grace of receiving Jesus in Holy Communion.”

The National Eucharistic Revival leadership team will soon be making additional resources available for Catholic leaders and all lay people on their website Sign up for the free Heart of the Revival newsletter to stay up to date on revival-related events and new educational and inspirational materials.

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