Parishes across the archdiocese are planning Corpus Christi processions for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ June 19 that, in conjunction with similar celebrations around the country, will kick off a three-year National Eucharistic Revival.
The bishops of the United States are calling for the three-year grassroots revival of devotion and belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
The celebration will culminate in the first National Eucharistic Congress in the United States in nearly 50 years in Indianapolis.
The Diocesan Year of Eucharistic Revival begins June 19 and runs to June 11 of next year.
On Corpus Christi Sunday this year, which falls on Father’s Day, an outdoor Eucharistic procession is planned around the block of St. Patrick’s Cathedral after the 10:15 a.m. Mass. (See the listing of other Eucharistic processions in parishes across the archdiocese to date. The list will be updated on cny.org.)
Elizabeth Guevara de Gonzalez, director of the Adult Faith Formation office in the archdiocese, spoke with CNY last week. Ms. de Gonzalez is the diocesan contact for the Eucharistic Revival in the Archdiocese of New York, which includes the upcoming Eucharistic procession.
Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Colacicco is serving as the episcopal adviser.
“The beauty of the procession is, first and foremost, in the fact that our Lord is present to us,” Ms. de Gonzalez said. “It’s just another reminder of how much He makes Himself available to us.”
It is us who need to draw closer to Him, she said. Being together, united with other believers, “adoring our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is so powerful.”
“We’re visibly, in a way, prostrating ourselves when the Blessed Sacrament comes closer or, if we’re actually processing and walking, we’re physically” participating within the procession. “We’re a tactile people. We need these things. Just as in part of the Mass we have the different gestures to signify our interior posture but within the procession it’s another way in which we can grow closer to our Lord and also grow closer to each other, within our parish community.”
A Eucharistic procession also provides an opportunity for public witness. Passersby can discover the beauty of the Blessed Sacrament themselves. For those who are not familiar, the procession could pique their curiosity as they wonder “what it is that we’re doing, why it is that we’re doing it,” Ms. de Gonzalez said, and “be intrigued and perhaps want to get closer to learn more.”
“It’s another way to witness to the faith, the more people, the better,” she said.
The archdiocesan outreach, under the umbrella of the nationwide initiative, is integral. “Each local church, each diocese, is renewing their commitment to Jesus as our Lord, renewing our commitment to seeking Him and to bringing others to Him,” Ms. de Gonzalez said. “It’s another way of us renewing our mission and really giving us that extra encouragement perhaps that we needed.
“It’s a good step for every local church and for every diocese.”
The hope is that through the three-year Eucharistic Revival there will be a “ripple effect,” she said, that “lukewarm Catholics will become on fire and fervent Catholics will become even stronger disciples.”
“The bottom line is to bring people closer to Jesus,” she concluded. Ms. de Gonzalez personally hopes to bring that to fruition by helping not just the faithful, but anyone, to see that despite the richness of the faith and the beautiful tradition therein, it’s “very simple.”