Local events for National Eucharistic Revival underway

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Wednesday, February 15, 2023

A eucharistic procession heads down the steps of Holy Name Cathedral after Mass on June 18, 2022, to kickoff the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Eucharistic Revival. An outdoor procession around the cathedral followed the Mass, concluding with Benediction. Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic

The National Eucharistic Revival is in its diocesan phase, so in March, each vicariate will host afternoon or evening prayer services at which the episcopal vicars will offer reflections on the Eucharist.

“This is the time for the vicariate bishops to meet with as many people as possible from the vicariate to speak about the importance of the Eucharist, the importance of the pope’s letter ‘Desiderio Desideravi’ that he wrote on eucharistic formation and also to have an important encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist,” said Bishop Robert Lombardo, vicar for Vicariate III and a member of the organizing committee for the National Eucharistic Revival.

These services will prepare people for a large gathering scheduled for Sept. 25 with Cardinal Cupich, he said.

The National Eucharistic Revival began June 19, 2022, on the feast of Corpus Christi, and culminates with the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis in 2024. Along the way, there will be parish, diocesan and regional events to increase Catholics’ understanding of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

The archdiocese is currently in the diocesan part of the revival, with initiatives such as eucharistic adoration and processions, the development of parish teams of revival leaders and conferences on the Eucharist.

Beginning with the feast of Corpus Christi in June, the revival will move to the parish level. The following June, it will reach a peak with a eucharistic congress in Indianapolis in 2024, the first to be held in the United States since one took place in 1976 in Philadelphia. It is expected to draw at least 80,000 participants from across the country. Tickets for the national gathering went on sale Feb. 15.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops established the revival in response to a 2019 a study by the Pew Research Center that reported that only a third of Catholics believe the Eucharist is really the Body and Blood of Christ.

Bishop Lombardo said parishes can begin to plan now for what they can do for the parish-level year starting in June.

“That’s an opportunity for a parish to think about what they can do to form their people into what the people is asking us in his letter — a community that encounters Jesus in the Eucharist,” he said. “The pope is exhorting the church to do eucharistic formation geared toward helping people encounter Jesus in the Eucharist. That’s exactly what the USCCB is hoping to do through the Eucharistic Revival — to encourage people and help people encounter Jesus in the Eucharist.”

One challenge the church in the United States faces is that many of its members think Mass is boring, he said.

“We have to figure out how it is that we can educate our people and provide the opportunity — set the stage for them — to encounter Jesus in the Eucharist, in the Mass,” he said.

An opportunity to introduce youth to the Eucharist is slated for the weekend of June 23-25, when the archdiocese will sponsor a Bread of Life retreat at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein.

“In a sense, it’s an intentional catechetical build up for the young people to really get to know who Jesus is, get a sense of ‘OK, what is it really in my life that kind of prevents me from having a personal relationship with him?’ … And then an opportunity for a very powerful, deep encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist, both in adoration and at Mass,” said Franciscan of the Eucharist of Chicago Sister Alicia Torres. Sister Alicia is also on the executive team for the National Eucharistic Revival.

Young people today are open to experiencing Jesus in the Eucharist, said Kambra French, director of mission effectiveness at Carmel Catholic High School, who is a lead retreat organizer with Sister Alicia.

“I’ve worked with young people for over 20 years, and I feel like I can honestly say there has always been a hunger from young people for Our Lord. I know that this is a common, repeated phrase but since the effects of the pandemic really took hold of them, I see that hunger so much more clearly on display,” French said. “They are searching.”

While there is much about today’s world that can bring young people down, there is much to hope for, she said.

“I see it on a daily basis at Carmel Catholic. There’s a deep openness and a deep receptivity to learn and to experience and encounter Our Lord. I think that, providentially, this retreat comes at a really good time,” French said.

For more information about local revival efforts, visit Visit the national revival at




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