National Eucharistic Revival

National Eucharistic Revival

Have you heard about the National Eucharistic Revival?   If so, you may be wondering, what is it?  What’s the history behind it?  Why are so many people talking about it right now?  Let’s break it down:

A Concern:

In 2019 the Pew Research Center released survey results indicating that only 31% of Catholics in the United States believed that “during Catholic Mass, the bread and wine actually becomes the body and blood of Jesus.”  Rather, the Pew survey indicated that 69% of Catholics believed that Communion “are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus.”

A Hope:

In 2023 the Diocese of Pittsburgh conducted a wide-ranging survey in every parish, the Disciple Marker Index Survey.  Results indicated that 91% of Catholics in our Diocese strongly agree or agree that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ!  This is a vast difference from that national survey only a few years prior!

What We Believe:

During the Last Supper, the night before Jesus’ Crucifixion and death, Jesus met with his apostles in the upper room to celebrate the Jewish feast of Passover.  That night, Jesus instituted a new Covenant as He raised bread and said “Take and eat. This is my body.” (Matthew 26:26)  His words were not merely symbolic.  Rather, Jesus made himself physically and spiritually present, to be consumed by his faithful during that first Eucharist and in every subsequent Catholic Mass.  Today, as an ordained priest repeats our Lord’s words, “Take and eat. This is my body.”, Jesus changes the substance of the bread and wine into His body and blood. 

The early Christians recognized this Truth from the very beginning.  On the day Jesus rose, the original Easter Sunday, He appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus and “made himself known to them in the breaking of the Bread.”  (Luke 24:25)  

The Gospel of John, Chapter 6, records Jesus’ words, teaching about the Eucharist.  Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever, … he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and… abides in me, and I in him (Jn 6:51, 54, 56).  

The early Christians believed in the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  The sacrifice of the Mass is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles and has been celebrated ever since.  During the Protestant Reformation, the True Presence came into question. In response, in 1551 The Council of Trent declared the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation as a dogma of faith.  Today, the Catechism of the Catholic Church writes, “The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian Life.” (CCC 1325).  “By the consecration, the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about.  Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner.  His Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity.”  (CCC 1413)

Eucharistic Revival:

The Holy Spirit is constantly guiding His Church.  In 2022, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops launched a 3-year initiative of National Eucharistic Revival which will conclude on Pentecost 2025.  This summer, a National Eucharistic Congress will occur on July 17-21 in Indianapolis, IN, bringing together between 40,000 and 50,000 Catholics from across the country!  Additionally, four Eucharistic Pilgrimages started in each corner of the country this spring and have been processing across the nation and will meet on July 16th in Indianapolis.  One of these processions passed through the Diocese of Pittsburgh between June 12 and 19th.  

A Journey of Faith: The Eucharistic Revival Walk Passes Through Pittsburgh

From June 12 to 19, 2024, Pittsburgh witnessed a profound expression of faith and community as the Eucharistic Revival Walk passed through our city. This spiritually uplifting event, part of the National Eucharistic Revival initiative, brought together believers from all walks of life to celebrate and deepen their understanding of the Eucharist.

On June 13, many local Vincentians joined in the Eucharistic Revival Walk portion that took place between Resurrection Church and St. Pius X Church (both part of St. Theresa of Kolkata Parish in Beechview/Brookline), ending right next door to our office in the Brookline neighborhood of Pittsburgh. After gathering at the church, not only Vincentians, but many other participants of the Procession also joined us at our office for fellowship and refreshments. Thank you to all who participated in this much needed and welcomed revival walk with our Lord Jesus Christ! The procession has since moved on outside of our diocesan borders on its way to Indianapolis.