By MONICA OPPERMANN, Special to the Bulletin | Published January 4, 2023
Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., invited all pastors to nominate two (or more) representatives to serve as liaisons between their parish and the wider archdiocesan and national Eucharistic Revival efforts. During the closing Mass of the 25th Eucharistic Congress, the archbishop commissioned the first 75 pastor-nominated parish representatives as Eucharistic Revival Missionaries.
More pastors have continued to appoint participants to the group, commissioning them by delegation of the archbishop. It is a diverse group of now 120 missionaries representing more than half of the parishes in the archdiocese.
The main objective of this group is to build awareness, to pray for the revival, to be a spark and ignite their individual parishes and support their pastors and parish leaders during the parish year of the revival (June 2023–July 2024) and beyond.
The Office of Evangelization and Discipleship is leading the formation and networking of the missionaries, both in English and Spanish. Many missionaries have been gathering virtually every month since September, listening to special guests, sharing testimonies and initiatives and praying together.
Early this month, missionaries spent a day of prayer and reflection together at the Chancery building, experiencing and reflecting on the power of the principal proclamation or message (kerygma) of the Gospel—the good and extraordinary news of our salvation in Jesus Christ. A dedicated retreat day for Spanish speakers is coming in January 2023.
Missionaries have also been participating in the Virtual Eucharistic Conference. Launched in September, this online conference offers presentations in both English and Spanish by renowned theologians and ministry leaders and is free to all those who register (see archatl.com/revival). It will be available throughout the three years of the revival, with plans for added presenters to come. In addition, the archdiocese, in partnership with the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Catechetical Institute, is offering two special tracks (English and Spanish) for the formation of the Eucharistic Revival Missionaries during all of 2023.
The most important work of the missionaries right now is dedicated, intentional prayer for the revival. They are prayer warriors for this endeavor here in the archdiocese, and it’s anticipated that their prayers—and yours—will bear much fruit. How each missionary serves his or her parish will differ according to the pastor’s and parish’s needs and the gifts and charisms of the missionary.
The work of the revival is ultimately God’s work, but we each have a part to play. We are thankful for our Eucharistic Revival Missionaries who step-by-step are helping us advance the revival through their prayers, time and talent. The hope is that the revival will help reinvigorate a eucharistic culture in our parishes, schools, homes and communities, founded on a renewed encounter with the Lord Jesus in the Eucharist and a renewed experience of the good news of the Gospel. Please join the missionaries in praying for the revival.
More resources are coming in the new year. With God’s help, we can begin to reverse the trend shown in the 2019 Pew study about lack of belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, to foster the return of Catholics to Mass after the pandemic and to chart a renewed path of missionary discipleship.
Talk to your pastor about who the Eucharistic Revival Missionaries are in your parish and how you might be of support. If your parish does not have pastor-nominated missionaries yet, it is not too late!
Monica Oppermann is ministry lead for evangelization strategies in the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship and a member of the archdiocesan Eucharistic Revival Task Force. Pastors may contact her by email to email@example.com to begin the process of nominating missionaries.