By ANDY LICHTENWALNER, Special to the Bulletin | Published December 6, 2023
The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1324).
These words from the Second Vatican Council, handing on the depth and breadth of the mystery of the Eucharist, are enough for a lifetime of meditation. They also help explain why every authentic Christian renewal and revival are eucharistic at their core. The agent of every revival is Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Eucharist is our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, substantially present under the species (appearances) of bread and wine. The Eucharist is his one perfect sacrifice for the glory of the Father and the salvation of the world, re-presented at every Mass so that we may participate in his perfect worship and be transformed ever more into the Body of Christ through Holy Communion.
We are midway through the U.S. bishops’ call for a Eucharistic Revival. I emphasize “call for a revival” because revival is first and foremost God’s work. Let us continue to beg for a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit, through our eucharistic Lord Jesus, to set hearts on fire with the Gospel!
We were blessed to have Rescue Atlanta on Sept. 9 as a catalyst event to assist this Parish Year of Revival. Several parishes now have been moving forward with The Rescue Project, a small group video series aimed at helping all of us experience and appreciate the unmatched power of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
When we talk about the need for revival, so much revolves around how we are seeing the world, our life, our past, our future and our now. Recovering a biblical perspective—seeing the world through God’s eyes—is key for all of us. This is one reason we have emphasized the Gospel—the Good News—as foundational for the work of the Eucharistic Revival. Learn more at www.evangelizationatl.com/rescue.
As the fruits of Rescue Atlanta and various initiatives around this archdiocese continue to unfold, we now set our sights on a national event—the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis on July 17-21, 2024. This remarkable event is meant to be a catalyst for the final year of the National Eucharistic Revival, the Year of Mission, and all that is to follow from God’s generosity and our faithful cooperation with His grace. This will be the 10th National Eucharistic Congress in our country, but it has been over 80 years since the last one!
Here in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, we have been blessed by many recent years of local Eucharistic Congresses arising from the Eucharistic Renewal begun by Archbishop Donoghue of beloved memory. We now have an extraordinary opportunity to bring this eucharistic witness to Indianapolis next summer and to pray with tens of thousands of Catholics around the country for a revival, for new life in our hearts, families, communities, parishes, dioceses, and country.
What to do now? Pray, of course, but also make plans to attend the National Eucharistic Congress! Archbishop Hartmayer is inviting all in the archdiocese to consider participating. A special pilgrimage package (hotel + free tickets) is available. Also, discounted tickets are available for all coming from Atlanta at www.eucharisticcongress.org/atlanta. For any leaders bringing parish groups, limited free tickets are available. Please contact the Office of Evangelization & Discipleship at email@example.com for details on discounts and a special QR code for the hotel package.
Thank you for your continued prayers for the Revival—see you in Indianapolis.
Andrew W. Lichtenwalner, Ph.D., is director of the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship and the diocesan point person for the Eucharistic Revival. For more information on the Eucharistic Revival, go to https://archatl.com/revival.