Catholic poets, composers, and songwriters are invited to participate in a competition in which the winning piece could be performed before 80,000 people at the 2024 National Eucharistic Congress.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis is sponsoring a Eucharistic Revival musical competition in an effort to renew zeal for the Eucharist.
The musical competition is one facet of the multiyear National Eucharistic Revival launched on June 19, 2022 — the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi. The revival’s mission is to “renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the holy Eucharist,” as stated on the initiative’s website.
After a 2019 Pew survey revealed that only 31% of Catholics believe in a basic tenet of their faith — that the body and blood of Christ are truly, really, and substantially present in the Eucharist — the U.S. bishops decided to take action. In 2021, at their annual fall meeting, they voted to embark on a national eucharistic revival to restore and promote an understanding of and devotion to the Eucharist.
Catholic artists can submit entries for either one of two categories: hymn-writing or theme song. One submission will be chosen in each category and will be featured at the National Eucharistic Congress, which will take place in Indianapolis from July 17–21, 2024. Dioceses across the country will be encouraged to use the winning pieces in any events that focus on the eucharistic revival.
Those submitting entries are encouraged to proclaim the teaching of the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and express our unity in the body of Christ. Pieces can also be multilingual.
New and original work will be evaluated on poetry, musicality, creativity, theological and doctrinal soundness, beauty, appropriateness for liturgical use, and expression of the mission of the eucharistic revival.
“The mystery of the Eucharist is expressed particularly poignantly through the beauty of poetry and music. Congregational song unites us as a community and reminds us that we are one body of Christ,” Marilyn Santos, associate director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis, said in a press release.
Tim Glemkowski, executive director of the National Eucharistic Congress, added: “The musical competition is just the beginning of a number of initiatives on the horizon for the revival in 2023 that celebrate the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist.”
“Beauty is the mark of a loving God, and we are excited to see creative expressions from talented Catholic artists that embrace the beauty of Christ and give new light, color, and voice to the truths of our faith,” he said.
The winners will also receive $2,500 in cash. Entries will be accepted from Jan. 13 to April 21, 2023. Winners will be announced June 9, 2023. For complete rules and to enter the competition, visit the National Eucharistic Revival website.