Diocesan Catholics will take their faith to the streets of downtown Rochester June 19.
That morning, Bishop Salvatore R. Matano will preside over a 10 a.m. liturgy at Corpus Christi Church, 864 E. Main St., before leading a eucharistic procession through the neighborhood around the church, which is part of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish.
The paired events will launch the three-year National Eucharistic Revival in the Diocese of Rochester.
The revival is a movement — called for by the Catholic bishops of the United States — to renew Catholics’ belief in and devotion to the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
“The whole point of the Eucharistic Revival is to really refocus, recenter ourselves on the Eucharist, and to reconnect,” explained Leslie Barkin, director of the diocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.
National congress to cap eucharistic movement’s parish, diocesan phases
The revival’s first year will be marked by diocesan events, beginning with the opening liturgy and eucharistic procession, and eventually including an event for young adults as well as a retreat for high-school students, Barkin said. The various deaneries (regions) of the diocese will take turns planning and hosting other large-scale events later this year, she noted.
Parish-level events focused on the Eucharist will take place during the revival’s second year, and the revival will conclude with a National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis July 17-24, 2024. Information about upcoming events related to the eucharistic revival are available online at eucharisticrevival.dor.org.
Parishes throughout the diocese — along with local chapters of such Catholic organizations as the Knights of Columbus — will send representatives to the June 19 opening Mass at Corpus Christi Church, Barkin said. Children who received first Communion this year also were invited to participate in the Mass and procession with their families, added Father Daniel Ruiz, pastor at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish.
All invited to participate in ‘tremendous eucharistic sign’
Special invitations are not required, however, and everyone is welcome at Corpus Christi for the Mass — which will be bilingual — and the procession, he said.
“The very fact of having people from every corner of the diocese come together will in itself be a tremendous eucharistic sign, that we can come from all different places and still be one community,” Father Ruiz remarked.
He added that the people of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish are honored to host the opening of the Eucharistic Revival on the feast of Corpus Christi — or the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ — at the only church in the diocese dedicated to this solemnity. At the conclusion of the opening liturgy, Bishop Matano will lead those participating outside and begin the procession, which will pause for prayer at three altars set up along the route, Father Ruiz noted.
“I think it’s a beautiful way to show that the Lord is with us everywhere and walks with us as we try to find our way through life and the many challenges we face. It’s also a beautiful way for us to give witness to anyone and everyone else outside as we process with the Blessed Sacrament,” he said.
Eucharistic revival presents opportunities for catechesis, reconnection
Local Catholics firmly believe that Jesus is in the Eucharist, even if they struggle to put this belief into words, Father Ruiz said, acknowledging that some parishioners may not be able to explain the word “transubstantiation” — the process by which bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ during the consecration at Mass. Yet these parishioners show their faith in Christ’s presence in the Eucharist by heading straight to the tabernacle to pray before the Blessed Sacrament every time they enter the church, he said.
The Eucharistic Revival presents an opportunity for catechesis, helping people find the words to express the faith they already possess, Father Ruiz said. It also presents an opportunity for people who’ve fallen away from the church to reconnect with the celebration of the Eucharist, Barkin added.
“All that God is waiting for always is for us to say yes and open the door,” Father Ruiz remarked. “There are going to be so many offerings throughout these three years. Go to something. Make sure that you open the door.”