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Through him, with him, in him: An introduction to the National Eucharistic Revival

The Bishops of the United States have launched an exciting initiative called the National Eucharistic Revival. The Eucharistic Revival has the stated mission to “renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.” All dioceses in the United States are invited to participate in this three-year initiative to increase Eucharistic devotion among the faithful and spread the Gospel message to those who have not yet received it, and the Archdiocese of Denver will be participating in full. 

The Eucharistic Revival comes on the heels of the worldwide synodal process requested by Pope Francis as well as the call by Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila to put on an apostolic mindset as we find ourselves navigating an apostolic age. All of these initiatives continue to reveal to the Church in northern Colorado God’s great plan for our salvation and mission. The Eucharistic Revival will be integral in helping the Church to put on an apostolic mindset by calling us to divine intimacy, without which no one could ever see as God sees nor love as he loves. It will also be a means by which the Church is able to build upon and respond to what the Lord spoke during the Archdiocesan Discernment Process. 

In the Archdiocese of Denver, the Eucharistic Revival will launch this Advent. The first year in the process is the Diocesan Year. It will run from Advent 2022 to the feast of Corpus Christi 2023. The second year is the Parish Year which will run from Corpus Christi 2023 to Corpus Christi 2024. The third year is a mission year. The launch of the mission year will be marked by the National Eucharistic Congress, a large national gathering in Indianapolis, and conclude on Corpus Christi 2025.

The Diocesan Year: Advent 2022 – Corpus Christi 2023

The Diocesan Year will kick-off with an Advent preaching series on the Eucharist and charity. While it will feature a number of events, formation opportunities and pilgrimage sites, the main focus of the Diocesan Year is to prepare parishes for the parish year.

The Parish Year: Corpus Christi 2023 – Corpus Christi 2024

The parish year is at the heart of the Eucharistic Revival. While the practice of Eucharistic adoration is treasured and highly recommended by the Church, the home of the Eucharist is the Holy Mass. Following that, the home of the Holy Mass is the local parish. The parish, then, is the ideal and most common place that the faithful encounter Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

The Mission Year: Corpus Christi 2024 – Corpus Christi 2025

Every celebration of the Mass ends with a reminder and call to mission. The Latin dismissal reads, “Ite. Missa est,” which translates to, “Go, (the Church) is sent.” The faithful’s participation in the Mass and reception of Holy Communion is intended to increase both their holiness and zeal to share in Jesus’ mission. As Pope Francis has written, “Jesus leaves us the Eucharist as the Church’s daily remembrance of, and deeper sharing in, the event of his Passover (cf. Lk 22:19). The joy of evangelizing always arises from grateful remembrance: it is a grace which we constantly need to implore” (Evangelii Gaudium, 13).

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The bishops also defined five pillars which will guide the Revival in accomplishing its goals.

I. Foster encounters with Jesus through kerygmatic proclamation and experiences of Eucharistic devotion.

The proclamation of the Gospel message remains central to the Church’s mission and is best understood in relation to the Eucharist. When one receives the Gospel message and believes in Jesus as Lord and Savior, the Church does not declare her work complete. She invites the new Christian to the table of the Lord’s Supper to share fully in the covenant between God and humanity, and to constantly remember what Jesus has done to rescue mankind from the slavery of sin and death.

II. Contemplate and proclaim the doctrine of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist through the Truth of our teaching, Beauty of our worship, and Goodness of our accompaniment of persons in poverty and those who are vulnerable.

The Eucharistic Revival will also highlight the three traditional “transcendentals” which belong fully to God himself: Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. In addressing the truth, the bishops acknowledge the need for the doctrine — the unchanging truth of the Eucharist — to be clearly taught, understood, and most importantly, believed by all of the faithful. The Revival also presents an opportunity for the faithful to discover anew the rich beauty of the Mass itself with the poetry of its prayers, antiphons, intentionally selected readings and feasts, symbols and actions. Furthermore, the Church has produced a treasury of beautiful hymns, art and architecture which expound the mystery of the Eucharist and draws hearts to ponder Christ’s presence and sacrifice more deeply. Finally, the Eucharist is the sacrament of Charity which both enables friendship with God and authentic love of neighbor because of that friendship with God. In the celebration of the Eucharist, we remember that Jesus emptied himself to become man and gave his life for the world. Likewise, in celebrating the Eucharist, we are called to imitate Jesus in accompanying and serving others to lead them to relationship with Christ.

III. Empower grassroots creativity by partnering with movements, apostolates, parishes and educational institutions.

The Eucharistic Revival is an incredible opportunity for both collaboration and empowering the creativity of the faithful at the grassroots level. The Holy Spirit breathes two ways: From the top down and wherever he wills. The Revival will be an opportunity to partner with movements, apostolates, parishes and institutions while also encouraging holy inspirations to be fed at the ground level. Be on the lookout for exciting formation opportunities from these institutions during these next three years.

IV. Reach the smallest unit: parish small groups and families.

Building from the third pillar, the Revival is intended to impact and transform the smallest units at the local level. In the Archdiocesan Discernment Process, the importance of faith in families came up consistently in almost every discussion. As the Revival is rolled out and developed, the family will remain a strong focus.

V. Embrace and learn from the various rich intercultural Eucharistic traditions.

Jesus is adored and glorified in all tabernacles across the world. As the Gospel message of salvation has spread, it has touched thousands of cultures in every age. The result is a robust diversity of pious traditions, modes of worship and prayer which all shed light on the universal truth of the Eucharist and the Holy Trinity itself. The Eucharistic Revival is an opportunity to learn more about how cultures across the globe embrace the Catholic faith and Eucharistic devotion, not only in other nations but even here within the Archdiocese of Denver! We are blessed with many cultural expressions of the Mass, Eucharistic adoration and communal prayer which all contribute to the glory of God.

In summary, the Church in Northern Colorado is blessed to be given these three years to grow in our participation in the Holy Mass, strengthen our Eucharistic devotion, and share our Eucharistic covenant with those who come to desire to follow Jesus as Lord. As the Church draws closer to Christ and his sacred mysteries, it must remember that Jesus poured out his blood as a sacrifice for the whole world. On the cross, Jesus thirsts. His thirst will not be quenched until, having been raised up, he draws all people to himself (Jn 12:32). Let us pray that in abiding in him, he will fulfill his promise in us and we will bear much fruit.

Scott Elmer (D. Min)
Scott Elmer (D. Min)
Scott Elmer is the Chief Mission Officer for the Archdiocese of Denver.
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