OVIEDO | Approaching the second year of the Eucharistic Revival, parishioners of Most Precious Blood Parish in Oviedo received the special gift of having former parochial vicar, Father Jorge Torres, come and share about the mission.
Father Torres is a Diocese of Orlando priest who was appointed in June 2021 to the Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis — in primary support of the Eucharistic Revival initiative.
“I think everybody’s having an examination of conscience of what can be done differently. It’s very easy as a Church to turn
inward and say, we should have done this better, and there’s certainly room for that,” he said. “At the same time, there’s also the reality that the world has changed.” “We do a search on the internet and in .28 seconds we have a bunch of websites that support what we believe and at the same time a bunch of websites that tell us it’s not that. Part of it is helping the world see this is not only about truth on the internet, but the eternal truth.”
Because of the challenging belief or lack of belief in the True Presence, and our living in a postpandemic world, the U.S. bishops
note it’s the perfect time to invite people back to church and help people see the Church is present.
The world needs the healing and unity that flows from “rekindling our love for this unspeakable gift,” Father Torres explained. “In order to renew the life of the Church, we must focus on the Eucharist as the source of our life.” He pointed to the works of mercy that flow from our belief—taking care of the poor and reaching out to the last, the least, and the lost. “These all flow from the Body and Blood of Christ,” he said.
Parishioner Carlos Mora agrees and is grateful the Church is taking action to “renew our faith, strengthen our beliefs which
sustain us, together.” His wife, Monica, said what stood out was, “We can’t take the Eucharist for granted.”
The Eucharistic Revival, which began on the Feast of Corpus Christi 2022, encompasses three years where the faithful will focus on the truth, beauty, and goodness of the Real Presence. It is the hope this will empower grassroots creativity by partnering with movements, apostolates, parishes and educational institutions, ultimately leading the faithful to go out and share our belief in the True Presence with family, friends and even strangers.
Those attending were fortified by the deep dive into understanding this most Holy Sacrament. From the Fathers of the Church to the Saints and Eucharistic Miracles occurring worldwide, much was shared about the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ.
Eva Zapata was excited that questions many might be embarrassed to ask, were answered. “Often, we are distracted, and we don’t take time to learn, strengthen ourselves, and pass it on to our children. I am looking forward to seeing how our church will participate,” Zapata said.
Facilitating memory of the Eucharist, Father Torres broke the participants into groups to share what they remembered about the first time they believed in the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. For some still struggling to believe, the exercise was difficult. For others like Karime Franklin, the opportunity brought her back to her childhood, sitting in church with her grandmother. As Franklin wiggled and questioned her grandmother, she would respond telling her to sit still. Then, at the
consecration, she would say, “Pay attention. Watch. You’re going to see a little dove.” Her eyes would be riveted on the altar.
Franklin said she loved the topic because the Eucharist is what separates our faith from any other faith or form of Christianity. The purpose of the Eucharistic Revival is that we understand exactly how precious that gift is and that we become Christ for others.
Currently appointed Executive Director of the USCCB’s Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, Father Torres also hopes the revival produces new apostolates when people reflect deeply on the Eucharist. For Alexandra Alexis, that process has already begun. “Just listening to the talk is like I’m living it inside. I’m feeling awe before God, and I want more. Then I ask God what He wants me to do with that.” She said she would like to see the world exposed to the Eucharist, to believe and bear fruit. As if God heard her plea, the mission concluded with Eucharistic Adoration – a time for contemplation, a quiet listening to the Lord.
This year, the Eucharistic Revival’s focus will be on providing priests, religious, and parish and school leaders with information about how to lead their congregations to greater belief. Year three, (2024) will culminate with the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis (July 17-21, 2024) – 20,000 people are already registered.
In 2024, there will also be Eucharistic processions across the United States, forming a Cross throughout the nation. Then parish ministries will manifest what they proclaim, that a simple host becomes the Body and Blood of Christ through transubstantiation.
“Our most prized possession is Jesus himself in the Eucharist,” Father Torres affirmed. “This is for the salvation of souls. This is to spread the Good News to the world. … I think the Lord will bless it. (The Lord) says, ‘I am with you in that sorrow.’ And that sorrow leads to mission.”
Similar presentations will begin in parishes around the country on the feast of Corpus Christi, June
8, 2023. To learn more about the National Eucharistic Revival go to https://www.eucharisticrevival.org. To register for the National Eucharistic Congress, go to https://www.eucharisticcongress.org.
By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic staff, March 09, 2023