Bishop: Revival ‘an important moment’ for us to refocus on gift of the Eucharist

Father Luke Spannagel answers questions from parish representatives of the Galesburg Vicariate at an encounter in preparation for how the diocese will celebrate the National Eucharistic Revival. They are (from left) Alicia Ward of Immaculate Conception, Monmouth; Jennifer and Galen Baxter of St. Patrick, Raritan; Nancy Wong of Corpus Christi, Galesburg; and Christopher Admire of St. Patrick, Galesburg. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Parish representatives for the diocesan observance of the National Eucharistic Revival heard words of gratitude and encouragement from Bishop Louis Tylka when they met for the first time on Oct. 29.

“I thank you for your willingness to serve your parishes as representatives in this effort,” the bishop said in his homily at the opening Mass for the encounter at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria.

“What I ask of you is that for the next couple of years you look for every opportunity God presents to you in your local community to invite others to appreciate more the gift of the Eucharist, and to work together to see the opportunities we can create across our diocese to increase and magnify the presence of Christ in the Eucharist,” Bishop Tylka said.

When they reconvened at the nearby Spalding Pastoral Center after the liturgy, the 130 women and men learned more about the revival and what resources are available locally and nationally. They also had a chance to meet in their vicariate clusters to begin the conversation about what could be done over the next three years.

The speaker for the day was Father Luke Spannagel, a priest of the Diocese of Peoria who is one of 58 priests serving as National Eucharistic Preachers for the revival. In addition to giving them background, he told them that the eucharistic revival provides an opportunity for every person to grow and tell others what they have seen and heard.

“All of us have stories of when Jesus has helped us,” Father Spannagel said. “If people can see our joy . . . it is an opportunity to bring them back in our parishes; it will provide an opportunity for them to make a visit.”

“AN IMPORTANT MOMENT”

At the opening Mass for the gathering of parish representatives planning local celebrations of the National Eucharistic Revival, Bishop Louis Tylka encouraged them to look for ways to help others “appreciate more the gift of the Eucharist.”

“This is an important moment. It’s not that what we have been doing in years past or what we will do in the future is any different from the reality we already know,” Bishop Tylka said in his homily.

“Christ is present to us when we gather as a church to celebrate the Eucharist. Christ is present to us when we come to adore him in this most Blessed Sacrament. Christ is present to us at all points and all times of our life,” he said.

But because of our inability to stay focused and keep Christ at the center of our lives, we need moments when we are called back to recognize the gift we have been given and renew that in ourselves, in our church, and for the world, the bishop explained.

“That’s the invitation that has been given to us to enter into this eucharistic revival for the next several years,” he said. “To make a deliberate effort . . . to help once again to allow Christ to be magnified in our lives, in our communities, around the altar.”

Then we must help others who have become distracted or have yet to encounter Christ in the Eucharist, Bishop Tylka said.

“The Eucharist is the source and summit of our lives. It is here that Christ is present,” he told who filled St. Mary’s Cathedral. “Let us take up the task to go out and magnify, to make larger, to increase the reality in our own hears and the life of our church. Our world needs it. Our church needs it. We need it.”

HOLY HOURS BEGIN

Talking to the parish representatives after lunch, Phillip Lee, director of the Office of Divine Worship and point person for the National Eucharistic Revival in the Diocese of Peoria, said Bishop Tylka wants to be sure the eucharistic revival happens at home as well as at the diocesan level. For that reason, a special monstrance was commissioned and will travel to every parish for a series of Holy Hours.

They begin on Monday, Nov. 7, at 6:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria, and will continue on Mondays and Thursdays (except for holidays). The Holy Hours are open to everyone, not just the parishioners at the various host parishes, Lee emphasized. “The idea is it’s a regional event for all.”

While the National Eucharistic Revival will take place over three years, Lee said the last year is meant to be a year of mission, of sending out missionary disciples.

“Bishop Tylka knows and hopes this plan will continue for the next three years, but far beyond that,” he said.

To help the parish representatives share what they are learning and planning, the Diocese of Peoria has established a private Facebook page for them. Another meeting is planned for next fall, so they can evaluate where they’ve been and where they’re going.

WHERE WILL THE MONSTRANCE GO NEXT?

A full listing of where the traveling monstrance is scheduled to go can be found at cdop.org/eucharisticrevival/traveling-monstrance.  Following is where Holy Hours will take place in November and December, each starting at 6:30 p.m.

  • Nov. 10, Sacred Heart, Peoria
  • Nov. 14, Holy Family, Peoria
  • Nov. 17, St. Joseph, Pekin
  • Nov. 21, St. Mary, Canton
  • Nov. 28, St. Paul, Macomb
  • Dec. 1, Immaculate Conception, Carthage
  • Dec. 5, Sacred Heart, Warsaw
  • Dec. 8, Sacred Heart, Dallas City
  • Dec. 12, St. Patrick, Raritan
  • Dec. 15, St. Theresa, Alexis
  • Dec. 19, St. Anthony, Matherville
  • Dec. 22, St. Ambrose, Milan
  • Dec. 29, Mary, Our Lady of Peace, Orion
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