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Eucharistic Revival: Denver priest hopes to convey the ‘transformative nature’ of the Real Presence

By Jonah McKeown/CNA

Father Doug Grandon is a Catholic priest today, but spent the first half of his life as a Protestant. As an Anglican priest, he began to wonder whether the liturgy he was celebrating actually resulted in the body and blood of Christ, or simply bread and wine.

In 2003, he became Catholic.

“I have no doubt now that I give people the body and blood of Christ when I celebrate Mass,” Grandon told CNA.

He also said that receiving and being devoted to the Eucharist has made a positive difference in his life.

“I would also say that it that it’s had a dramatic effect on my pursuit of holiness. I really do believe that the evidence would show that I’m significantly empowered by the Eucharist to become a better man.”

As part of the multi-year Eucharistic Revival being put on by the U.S. bishops, 60 priests have been commissioned to make themselves available to preach on the Eucharist. Grandon, who serves as national chaplain for the Colorado-based Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), is one of those preachers.

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The U.S. bishops’ conference suggests that the preachers could be asked to come to gatherings for diocesan and parish leaders, special diocesan Masses and Eucharistic Holy Hours, youth and young adult events, clergy convocations and retreats, and diocesan Eucharistic assemblies and congresses. The preachers are being provided at no cost.

Grandon said he has committed to making himself available to preach at several locations throughout the next year. He said the intent of his preaching will be to call people to a devotion to the Eucharist, and for those who are already properly devoted to the Eucharist, to call them to an even deeper devotion.

“The understanding is that if we can help Catholics more deeply encounter Jesus in the Eucharist, with proper understanding, that our Church will be dramatically better for it, and lives will be transformed,” Grandon said.

He noted that many Catholics may view weekly Mass as simply a duty, rather than as an opportunity for renewal. Through his work with FOCUS, Grandon said he has observed — and seen data proving — that the young missionaries they work with are most fruitful in their ministry when they cultivate a devotion to the Eucharist, both in the Mass and in Adoration.

“The whole theology of the Eucharist that we Catholics have, by God’s grace, is absolutely amazing, and it’s true — and it’s very unfortunate that not every Catholic understands this or is committed to it.”

He said his preaching will be primarily directed toward Catholics, leaning heavily on New Testament scripture — especially the sixth chapter of John — sharing the experience of the saints who have encountered Christ in the Eucharist, as well as his own personal experience.

Above all, he said, he wants to present the truth about what — and who — the Eucharist is. He hopes that truth will be attractive to non-Catholics who may be listening, as well.

“The truth presented is very attractive, and the Holy Spirit will draw everyone, whether it’s a lukewarm Catholic or an unbeliever, or a serious Protestant evangelical as I was, will draw them forward into this deeper relationship, and then to a proper commitment to receiving the Eucharist regularly. And also examining their lives so that they receive worthily,” Grandon said.

Beginning in July 2022, dioceses across the country will be encouraged to hold Eucharistic events and make the Eucharist a primary focus. Following that, in July 2023, parishes will be encouraged to do the same.

The revival will culminate in summer 2024 with a National Eucharistic Congress held in Indianapolis.

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