A Look at The Eucharistic Revival Parish Experience
Perhaps many of you have heard of and some of you may have experienced the Eucharistic Revival in your parishes. An initiative of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, this is intended to be a movement put in play in every parish within the United States.
It began very quickly and - to this writer’s impression – with an inordinately large budget in June 2022. The mission: to renew the church. That first year was the Year of Diocesan Renewal, and perhaps you took part in some group discussions or surveys to help determine high level directional thought. I filled out lots of things and sat in on some discussions, but how and who that all filtered up or down to, I have no idea.
From June 2023 and through June 2024 we are in the Year of the Parish. I am very blessed to be within a parish community with a Pastor who is realistic about the goals of the revival movement while at the same time striving to achieve as much as possible – after all, post Covid and given the challenges of the world and the state of affairs in general, the goal of the movement is worthwhile. He asked me to be the lay point person for our parish, and to that end I have been very active with weekly bulletin and email blasts and all sorts of things.
We have hosted Revival Preachers twice, have weekly Adoration, there have been Intentions, pulpit announcements, banners and posters in our narthex, announcements before Masses, encouraged our parishioners to go to events at sister parishes and at our Cathedral, information is regularly posted to our Parish Facebook page and our Parish website about the process. A Deacon is also a point person and dedicates time to the process.
In practice, you would think: WOW! So much awareness and energy must be going on there! Well, not really. Despite our best efforts, it has been an uphill battle. The most recent evening with a Revival Preacher had moderate attendance but received some negative reviews. We are struggling to get enough volunteers to support the 7-week study groups that we will roll out in late September. And the 7 hour retreat that was offered by the national team was challenging us to find a volunteer to participate as a representative from our parish – perhaps in large part because it was scheduled on the Saturday of the Labor Day weekend. Yes, a holiday weekend day away from family and friends. Apparently, no consideration was given to respecting family time and some traditional down time when this was scheduled.
And so, we continue on with a highly funded project. A project built perhaps with the best of intentions, that I know many of my sister parishes are barely starting to do much with. And then in June 2024? The Year of Mission begins in Indianapolis with a Congress. The vision is that people will be set afire! And they will go forth with the message that our Church is indeed the only one where you can get the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. A message that studies show only 30% of those in our pews even understand! And as we are instilled with a sense of missionary discipleship, we will go and spread the good news to friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, or . . . the lost, the last, and the lame.
I can’t help but wonder if this is how Christ would have handled it if he had walked into the meeting when the decision was made by our Bishops. This is so flashy. Where are the simple acts of mercy and kindness? The ordinary outreach to those in need.
Could there be a simpler way to empower the ordinary person to understand the great mystery of what happens on the altar when that ordinary bread and wine is transformed and we consume that sacred host and wine and go forth – what is in our body and soul? What is our obligation and mission?
Half way in, I’m not at all sure we’re successfully preparing to communicate to those in our pews. . .
much less serve the lost, the last, and the lame.