April 12, 2022 // Diocese

Diocese plans Eucharistic Procession and Festival to begin three-year Revival

It is now two years after churches closed their doors amid the rise of a global pandemic. Restrictions continue to lift and life is slowly returning to normal; yet, church pews do not look the same as before the pandemic. According to Pillar’s Nov. 2021 “Survey on Religious Attitudes and Practices,” the number of self-identified Catholics who say they attend Mass every week has fallen to 36%, with 29% reporting they never go to Mass. 

On March 27, 2020, an early point in the global pandemic, Pope Francis stood in a deserted St. Peter’s Square while men, women and children remained locked down at home. Here, Pope Francis united the world in prayer as he stood at the foot of the cross and blessed the world with the Blessed Sacrament through the Urbi et Orbi blessing. In doing so, he reminded the world that even amidst turbulence and crisis, “Jesus is present among us.” 

Echoing Pope Francis’ actions on the steps of St. Peter’s Square, numerous bishops are seeking to direct attention to the Blessed Sacrament. This was specifically addressed in the document “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church,” written in part by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, in which the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) reminded the faithful that “The Lord accompanies us in many ways, but none as profound as when we encounter Him in the Eucharist. On our journey toward eternal life, Christ nourishes us with His very self.”

To this end, the Catholic Church in the United States is preparing to enter into a three-year Eucharistic Revival, a grassroots invitation for every diocese, parish, school, apostolate, family and individual to renew the Church through a deepening relationship with Jesus Christ, present in the Holy Eucharist.

This emphasis on the Eucharist is a much-needed awakening in the U.S. In November of 2019, Pew Research Center released survey results that found 69% of self-described Catholics do not believe in transubstantiation, that is, the idea that the bread and wine used for communion become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Echoing Pope Francis as he stood alone in St. Peter’s Square, this three-year revival seeks to create a movement centered around the reality that “Jesus is present among us.” 

The three-year revival begins with a “Diocesan Year,” beginning on Corpus Christi Sunday in 2022, which will focus on equipping and empowering parish and apostolate leaders. This will be followed by a “Parish Year” of events and initiatives for all the faithful beginning on the same feast day in 2023. This will lead into the first National Eucharistic Congress in the United States in almost 50 years, which will take place from July 17-21, 2024, in Indianapolis, followed by a year of going out on mission “for the life of the world.”

Locally, the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend is preparing to enter into this revival by extending the same simple invitation Jesus extended to his first disciples in the synoptic gospels: “Follow me.” The lives of the disciples demonstrate how a simple “yes” to walking with Christ can transform the entire world. Catholics across the diocese are invited to literally walk with Christ through a diocesan Eucharistic Procession and Festival on June 19, 2022, in Warsaw. 

The day will begin at Sacred Heart Parish at 2:30 p.m., with a prayer service and music before the procession departs at 3 p.m. The 2.8 mile route will pause for 10-15 minutes in Central Park for prayer and a Eucharistic blessing before continuing to Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, where it will give way to a festival, which is expected to go from 5-7 p.m. 

The festival will feature food for purchase, including American and traditional ethnic foods. There will be a eucharistic miracles exhibit, activities for children, live praise and worship and more.

Participants are invited to park at Kosciusko County Fairgrounds where shuttles will provide transportation to the parishes and return participants to the fairground parking. Parishes can also secure bus transportation for larger groups of attendees and reservations can be made by emailing [email protected].

The planning committee is requesting but not requiring advance registration so that they can plan accordingly. To learn more about the Eucharistic Procession, register or volunteer, visit diocesefwsb.org/eucharist.

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