June 11, The Body and Blood of Christ, Eucharist: a Sunday Scriptures blog

A year from now, about 70,000 U.S. Catholics will gather in Indianapolis for the 10th National Eucharistic Congress. The last one was 83 years ago; this one is July 17-21, 2024. Around the country, many dioceses are having their own local Eucharistic Congresses this summer. Why is all this happening? Consider a song we often sing at Mass called “Gift of Finest Wheat,” composed for an international Eucharistic Congress. Its familiar first line is “You satisfy the hungry heart… .” Unfortunately, it seems that the hearts of U.S. Catholics are not so hungry anymore, as Church attendance, especially among the younger generations, has fallen dramatically. Additionally, a fairly recent poll found that only a third of Catholics believe in the “true presence” of Jesus Christ in Eucharist. Our U.S. bishops are hoping for a revival of Eucharistic fervor as Catholics prepare for and then attend this event. We should pray about this. Active Catholics, those still attending Sunday Mass regularly, are polarized about Eucharist. Some wish to bring back liturgical practices of the past that emphasize reverence, adoration and belief in the term “transubstantiation” to explain the presence of Christ in Eucharist. Other active Catholics want liturgical practices that emphasize Vatican II’s themes of the People of God, gathered in public worship and sent forth to spread the Good News. There is no easy resolution of this divide, because different understandings about liturgy, Church and doctrines are involved. When we listen to Jesus’ teaching about “the living bread that came down from heaven,” may we invite the Risen Lord of Eucharist to touch our own neediness, the hungers of our hearts, and also to touch and heal the disunity in our U.S. Church over Eucharist.

— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia; photo by Jovan Vasiljević on Unsplash

One Comment:

  1. Thanks Mary, I know your evaluation is correct. So what can we do?

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