ROCHESTER — A throng of people singing hymns in English, Spanish and Latin followed Bishop Salvatore R. Matano as he carried the Blessed Sacrament aloft through the streets surrounding Corpus Christi Church June 19.
The eucharistic procession began at the church on East Main Street and continued onto Prince Street, which the Rochester Police Department had temporarily closed to traffic. At the end of Prince Street, the procession continued onto Champeney Terrace before turning into the parking lot for Corpus Christi, which is part of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish.
Several neighbors stood in their driveways and watched as the procession moved reverently through the streets. The neighborhood was quiet but for the chirping of birds as the bishop stopped to pray at three altars that had been set up along the route. At one intersection, Bishop Matano paused to offer a prayer for an end to violence and a return of peace and tranquility to the streets of Rochester and elsewhere.
National Eucharistic Revival gets underway in Rochester Diocese
Earlier that day, approximately 800 people had filled the church as Bishop Matano celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, the feast of Corpus Christi. The bilingual Mass and subsequent eucharistic procession launched the Diocese of Rochester’s local phase of the three-year National Eucharistic Revival. Eucharistic processions also took place at several other parishes throughout the diocese June 19.
The Catholic bishops of the United States called for the revival to renew Catholics’ belief in and devotion to the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The National Eucharistic Revival provides an opportunity for people to refocus, re-center themselves on the Eucharist and reconnect, according to Leslie Barkin, director of the diocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis. The first year of the renewal will feature larger-scale regional and diocesan efforts and events, while the second year will focus more on parish-level renewal, she said. The revival will conclude in July 2024 with a National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis.
The revival — and the Mass and eucharistic procession that kicked it off — present “an unparalleled opportunity” for local Catholics to renew and deepen their love for and devotion to Jesus truly present in the Eucharist, Bishop Matano said during his homily.
The Real Presence means we have Jesus to help us carry life’s burdens
“We gather here today for the solemn opening of the Eucharistic Revival because I believe all here present have a common understanding, an understanding that is not debated. We know we need Jesus,” Bishop Matano said.
A host of burdens faced the people sitting in the pews at Corpus Christi that morning, he added. Parents worried about and prayed for their children, while children prayed for their parents, especially if those parents were elderly or ill. Mothers and fathers worried how they would provide for their children as inflation causes prices to skyrocket.
“The burdens of human life are all represented in this church, but the glory of the Eucharist, the glory of Jesus, my sisters and brothers, is that none of our burdens are ever carried alone,” Bishop Matano said. “Jesus helps us to carry those crosses, and you know, some days he carries it for us completely.”
Bishop Matano said it would be impossible to celebrate the Eucharistic Revival without including in prayer those suffering from tragic losses throughout the world, including the loved ones of those killed in recent shootings in Buffalo and in Uvalde, Texas, as well as the families of those killed in Ukraine.
“It is only in the Eucharist, in Jesus, we can make sense of all that surrounds this confused, fractured and divided world. Only in Jesus can we find the hope and the strength to go on, for we come to understand the faults of humanity, these are not the faults of Jesus. The faults of humanity emanate from a failure of humanity to follow Jesus,” Bishop Matano said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Information about upcoming events related to the Eucharistic Revival are available at eucharisticrevival.dor.org.