Almost every Catholic knows that the Eucharist can be translated as “thanksgiving” or “to give thanks.” During the week that Americans celebrate the national holiday of Thanksgiving, it is important to highlight what it actually means to show gratitude and how the Church must be most grateful for the Lord’s Presence in the Eucharist.
One is most grateful for something that has been given that was not deserved or merited. We are most thankful for things and people that a simple “thank you” can never suffice for. True gratitude is shown by giving oneself back over to the gift received. In many ways, this is why the Catholic Church in the United States is in the midst of the Eucharistic Revival.
However, a revival cannot be forced. Calling a movement a revival does not mean that things are automatically revived. Renewal is the result of the work of individuals who understand that there is a need for things to improve; and it is the result of the efforts of a larger community that desires to change.
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The American Catholic Church has been living inside of the Eucharistic Revival since June 2022, and it will not come to a conclusion until Pentecost 2025. I am the parish point person for the revival for my parish. Each diocese is empowering parishes to become more involved in the revival and to implement a variety of activities, studies, and prayer practices in order to enhance the reverence given to the Eucharist by Catholics across the country.
Much of the material and events that have been provided by the revival have been well done and have been true to the Church’s history regarding the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. No practicing Catholic would deny the importance of the Eucharist, nor would any Catholic involved in ministry deny the fact that any positive movement that is bringing about conversions must be connected to and driven by a Eucharistic faith.
I admire the organization given to such an initiative, and I truly believe that there are Catholics and non-Catholics across the globe that are encountering Jesus in the Eucharist because of the revival who would have never done so if it was not implemented. However, it is also important to note that the revival is something that most Catholics have not heard of. This is important because movements of large-scale change and conversion cannot be manufactured; they must be caught and spread. Programs do not change people. People change other people.
True revival around the Eucharist will be most impactful when two things occur: parishes focus on the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist above all else and families commit to Sunday Mass and Eucharistic Adoration as opportunities that cannot be missed. True revival around the Eucharist will be most impactful when two things occur: parishes focus on the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist above all else and families commit to Sunday Mass and Eucharistic Adoration.Tweet This
While I believe that the Eucharistic Revival can aid these causes, it will require more than that. Does your parish have Eucharistic Adoration regularly? Does your parish religious education program and nearby Catholic school speak about Sunday Mass as an obligation that is more critical than class? These areas of parish life will not be renewed by the revival (at least not in the short term) because church programs have typically not brought about deep conversion. Only the parish’s boots-on-the-ground Eucharistic focus will accomplish this.
That is not meant to demean the great work of the Eucharistic Revival. Many people are being made more familiar with Eucharistic Adoration and processions than before. I know there are plans for viewers of the conferences across the nation to bring back ideas to their parishes and diocesan offices as well. That sounds nice, but something more radical is necessary.
This Thanksgiving what we need is an approach more toward an everlasting revival. How did Jesus bring about a movement that changed the course of history? He began small and asked His followers to give over everything to Him. While the average Catholic in the pew on Sunday morning does not know about the formality of the Eucharistic Revival, if we can bring them to experience the True Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist we will (He will) grab that individual for life.
You are the seat of revival.
If your parish does not have regular opportunities for Eucharistic Adoration, ask your pastor if one day a week can be implemented. If your child’s parish school does not attend Mass more than once a month, ask the principal or pastor to meet and discuss how Mass can be attended by the students more frequently. If your religious education program is more about child drop-offs than Mass attendance, ask to meet with the director of religious education or one of the priests at your church.
Who knows? Maybe you will be the person that revives the central place of the Eucharist at your parish and a person that someone might thank one day for allowing them to encounter Jesus as a real living person, inside His Eucharistic heart. That could lead to that person’s individual salvation—a true revival of everlasting form.