It’s Eucharistic Revival Time

Photo by Jeffrey Bruno

 

It’s Eucharistic Revival Time

By Blackfriars Staff

 

“What is the Lord about to do in our country? Are we receptive to what the Lord wants to do in this National Eucharistic Revival?” These are questions Fr. Peter Martyr Yungwirth, O.P., pastor of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena Parish in New York, asked himself as he was helping plan part of the eastern route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage (one of four routes) which passed through Manhattan, making a stop at St. Vincent Ferrer on May 25.

As you may know, the US bishops called for a National Eucharistic Revival largely in response to a 2019 Pew study which found nearly 70% of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The three-year Revival has several dimensions aimed at building (or rebuilding) a fundamental understanding of the Eucharist, first on the diocesan and parish level, culminating with a National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis this July. Many Dominican friars from the Province of St. Joseph have been involved in the Revival, helping Catholics learn more about the Eucharist and deepen their love and devotion of the Eucharistic Lord through their preaching, but a couple of our friars are central to the planning and execution of this year’s cross-country pilgrimage and the National Eucharistic Congress.

Fr. Peter Martyr was tapped as point person for the northern Manhattan leg of the eastern Eucharistic Pilgrimage route, known as the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Route. The theme of the pilgrimage through New York is “the Saints of New York” so the Eucharistic procession stopped first in northern Manhattan at Mother Cabrini’s Shrine, wended its way through Central Park, and ended the day at St. Vincent Ferrer for Adoration, preaching, and compline celebrated by Bishop Colacicco, auxiliary bishop of New York and a third order Dominican. With Rose Hawthorne being named a venerable a few months earlier, this is perfect timing to celebrate this saint of New York, said Fr. Peter Martyr. He noted a special connection—it was on the recommendation of a Dominican friar from St. Vincent Ferrer that Rose Hawthorne, daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne, founded the Hawthorne Dominican Sisters in 1900.

 

Fr. Peter Martyr Yungwirth, O.P. leads Benediction at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park. Photo by Jeffrey Bruno.

 

From St. Vincent Ferrer Church, the Eucharistic Lord processed to St. Patrick’s Cathedral where Venerable Pierre Touissant is buried, to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s Shrine in lower Manhattan, then to the Brooklyn Bridge where there was Benediction as the monstrance was passed from the Archdiocese of New York to the Diocese of Brooklyn. The Eucharistic procession through New York highlighted the saints who made New York their home, Fr. Peter Martyr noted.

The eastern route continues through New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, as it makes its way to the National Eucharistic Congress this July where Fr. Joseph-Anthony Kress, O.P., is overseeing the logistics of 18 official liturgies at 8 sites over the course of the five-day National Eucharistic Congress.

Fr. Joseph-Anthony, Catholic chaplain at the University of Virginia, has as his primary focus the liturgies taking place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis which, at capacity, seats 55,000 people. The challenge for him and the Eucharistic Congress liturgy team is to make Lucas Oil Stadium into an environment that is prayerful, beautiful, and that evokes the sacred. “We’re thinking through all the details of how to make the liturgies intentionally sacred, so whether it’s Mass or evening prayer or Adoration, it needs to be set apart from other programming of the Congress,” Fr. Joseph-Anthony said.

He is also tasked with overseeing a 1.5-mile Eucharistic procession through downtown Indianapolis, starting at the Indianapolis Convention Center, through the streets of the city, including the city’s well known Monument Park, ending with benediction. He expects between 1,500 to 2,000 priests to process while 40,000 pilgrims line the streets. And as the Lord processes by, pilgrims will follow behind, joining the procession. “When we walk behind the Lord, through the streets of a city, it communicates something different to our humanity,” Fr. Joseph-Anthony said. “To truly be a disciple of Jesus and to walk behind him as he leads me ultimately to a place of benediction. Eucharistic procession through a city or any location is not just about publicly showing off, but has a deep spiritual meaning for each pilgrim, each disciple, to walk behind the Lord, to follow him to a life of blessedness.”

Fr. Joseph-Anthony gladly takes on this task of thinking through logistics and complications of large- scale liturgies for the Eucharistic Congress so that others don’t have those distractions and are able to pray. Drawing on his vast experience for these types of liturgies, he recalls moments where he’d be in crisis mode trying to figure out why there’s a bottleneck in the communion line and then he sees someone deep in prayer. “I see them having that peace come over them, knowing that they’ve just received our Lord. Those are the moments that I’m here for and that’s why I do this—because our Lord desires to be with his children. This is why he’s given us the gift of his presence in the Eucharist.”

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