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Bishop Edward J. Burns of Dallas carried the monstrance in a procession on Aug. 2 during a gathering for U.S. pilgrims at World Youth Day at Quintas das Conchas e dos Lilases Park in Lisbon, Portugal.
Bishop Edward J. Burns of Dallas carried the monstrance in a procession on Aug. 2 during a gathering for U.S. pilgrims at World Youth Day at Quintas das Conchas e dos Lilases Park in Lisbon, Portugal.
Photo Credit: Bob Roller | OSV News

National Eucharistic Revival Prayers that we may be eucharistic missionaries

Here’s what to expect from the upcoming National Eucharistic Congress and the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage

The tens of thousands of Catholics planning to attend the five-day 10th National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis in July will experience large-scale liturgies, dynamic speakers and opportunities for quiet prayer and faith-sharing, with six different “impact session” tracks tailored to their peer groups or faith journey.

Leaders hope attendees become “a leaven for the Church in the United States as eucharistic missionaries going back to their parishes, but also sort of a gathering of people who are standing in the breach, or in proxy, for the entire Church across the United States, inviting that new Pentecost, and that new sending (of) healing and life to the full,” said Tim Glemkowski, CEO of the National Eucharistic Congress Inc., in a January meeting with media.

The event is the pinnacle of the National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year initiative of the U.S. bishops to inspire a deeper love for Jesus in the Eucharist that began in 2022. The revival focused its first year on dioceses, the second and current year on parishes, and the final year, beginning after the congress, on “going out in mission.”

Catholic leaders have described the National Eucharistic Congress as potentially transformational for the Catholic Church in the U.S.

“I believe this event and the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage leading up to it will have a generational impact on our country,” wrote Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota, and chairman of the board of the National Eucharistic Congress Inc., in a commentary published by OSV News in January.

The congress will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, and the adjacent Indianapolis Convention Center. The congress distinguishes itself from other Catholic conferences because it “invites the entire Church to come to pray together for revival,” said Joel Stepanek, the National Eucharistic Congress’ vice president of programming and administration.

“We’re going to gather with those there to pray for the Holy Spirit to fall on us, to pray for revival in the Church in the United States, to pray for healing in our own lives so we might be eucharistic missionaries, and we’ll do that through powerful experiences of prayer and with the encouragement of a wonderful keynote speakers,” Stepanek said.

The congress’ theme is centered on Luke 24, which describes Jesus meeting two disciples on the road to Emmaus following His death and resurrection. The disciples did not recognize Him at first but listened to Him explain Scripture, only to later realize their companion was Jesus during their evening meal “in the breaking of the bread.” They raced back to Jerusalem to tell others what they had seen.

Day one, Wednesday, July 17, is themed “From the Four Corners.” The congress is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. that day with an opening ceremony in Lucas Oil Stadium. The evening’s speakers include Bishop Cozzens; Cardinal Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the U.S.; and Sister Bethany Madonna, a Sister of Life who is the local superior and mission coordinator of the sisters’ Phoenix foundation.

Day two, Thursday, July 18, is themed “The Greatest Love Story.” The morning schedule begins with 8:30 a.m. Mass, with options to worship in English or Spanish, including an additional Mass for youth.

Mass is followed by impact sessions, where attendees can choose from six options with “dynamic preaching and music tailored to their state in life and mission,” according to the congress’ website. Following lunch are breakout sessions and “special experiences” tailored for specific groups or interests.

The evening includes a three-hour “revival session” with Father Francis “Father Rocky” Hoffman, Relevant Radio’s CEO and executive director, leading a Family Rosary Across America live from Lucas Oil Stadium. Father Michael Schmitz, host of the popular podcast “The Bible in a Year,” also will speak.

Day three, Friday, July 19, is themed “Into Gethsemane.” Friday’s schedule mirrors Thursday’s, with morning Mass and impact sessions, afternoon breakout sessions and an evening revival session with the Family Rosary Across America’s keynote speaker Sister Josephine Garrett of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

Day four, Saturday, July 20, is themed “This is My Body.” Saturday’s morning and early afternoon schedule follows the order of the previous days. In the mid-afternoon, attendees will form a large eucharistic procession in downtown Indianapolis, which Stepanek described as “a profoundly impactful experience.”

The evening includes a revival session featuring the Family Rosary Across America and speakers Bishop Robert E. Barron of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota; Mother Adela Galindo, founder of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary religious order and lay Apostles of the Pierced Hearts; and Gloria Purvis, host of “The Gloria Purvis Podcast.” Musician Matt Maher will lead worship.

Day five, Sunday, July 21, is themed “To the Ends of the Earth.” The morning schedule begins with a revival session with speaker and author Chris Stefanick, founder and president of Real Life Catholic, followed by the revival’s closing liturgy celebrated by a papal delegate, with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

The congress’ main events will be emceed by Montse Alvarado, president and chief operating officer of EWTN News; Sister Miriam James Heidland of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity; and Father Josh Johnson, a speaker, author and priest of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Dave Moore, co-founder of Catholic Music Initiative, will provide music throughout the congress.

>> National Eucharistic Pilgrimage

On May 18-19, groups of eight young adults will leave San Francisco; New Haven, Connecticut; San Juan, Texas; and Itasca State Park in Minnesota.

For eight weeks they’ll travel, mostly on foot, along four routes through major U.S. cities, small towns and countryside toward Indianapolis, where they’re expected to arrive July 16, the day before the opening of the National Eucharistic Congress.

Together, they’ll cover more than 6,500 miles over 27 states and 65 dioceses. With them every step of the way will be the Eucharist, held in a specially designed monstrance or reserved in a support vehicle’s tabernacle.

The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage is a major prelude to the National Eucharistic Congress.

The pilgrimage’s four groups of Perpetual Pilgrims are young adults ages 19-29 selected in an application process to travel the full length of each route. Their names will be announced March 11.

People who wish to travel as a “day pilgrim” or attend a pilgrimage-related event along the routes may register online at www.eucharisticpilgrimage.org. Day pilgrims must make their own arrangements for meals, transportation and lodging, as needed.

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