Jill Boughton
Freelance Writer
February 9, 2023 // Diocese

Eucharist: The Incarnation Brought to Completion

Jill Boughton
Freelance Writer

Celebrating “First Friday Mass and Clarification of Thought” at Our Lady of the Road Center in South Bend with members of the St. Peter Claver Catholic Worker community and their guests on Feb. 3, Bishop Rhoades shared “concrete guidance for a genuine Christian life” from Hebrews 13, validating the Catholic Worker “mission of loving hospitality.”

Citing the admonition of St. Benedict, Patron Saint of Hospitality, the bishop said, “All guests should be cherished as Christ.” He elaborated, “That involves willing their good, spiritual as well as material.”

“We are to invite and help others on the journey toward holiness,” he added, referencing his own experience in a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, parish with a soup kitchen.

In honor of the feast day of St. Blaise, Bishop Rhoades blesses the throats of those in attendance at Mass at Oratory of the Holy Spirit at Our Lady of the Road Center in South Bend on Friday, Feb. 3.

The epistle reading from Hebrews also said, “Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you … Imitate their faith,” an especially apt exhortation on the 10th anniversary of the death of Bishop John M. D’Arcy, who faithfully and lovingly shepherded the diocese for nearly 25 years before Bishop Rhoades.

Since it was the feast day of St. Blaise, Bishop Rhoades blessed throats after Mass, and after having told a story about his time as a college student at Mount St. Mary’s when a professor who dismissed the custom as a medieval superstition came down with strep throat the following day.

Photos provided by Jonathan Schommer
Following Mass at Oratory of the Holy Spirit at Our Lady of the Road Center, Bishop Rhoades is presented with a “Housing is Healing” T-shirt.

Before sitting down to share a meal at the center, Bishop Rhoades was gifted a yellow T-shirt designed by Rachel, one of the Workers, with the slogan “Housing is Healing.” Supporters plan to wear the shirts to a county council meeting on Feb. 14 to advocate for ongoing funding for Motels4Now, which ministers to many who were formerly unsheltered. The artist explained that her design was inspired by the words of Father Greg Boyle about becoming “the front porch of the house we all long to live in.”

“Clarification of Thought” was provided after the meal by Dr. Jonathan Ciraulo, a friend of the Catholic Worker, who said his claim to be the best theologian in the world at skateboarding has never been contested. He’s also a St. Meinrad Seminary professor and the author of a recent book on the Eucharistic theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar, which Ciraulo said he sees as inevitably overflowing in the works of mercy.

“The Incarnation finds its completion not at Bethlehem, but in every Eucharist,” Ciraulo stated. He pointed out the continuity between Bishop Rhoades’ homily and the Eucharistic Revival: The word “host” refers both to the Body of Christ and to the one who welcomes guests.

Bishop Rhoades was invited to talk about the three-year Eucharistic Revival, currently in its diocesan phase, which began on the Feast of Corpus Christi in 2022. The thousands of people who gathered in Warsaw took part in what is said to be the largest Eucharistic procession to date, but plans are underway for an even more ambitious set of processions for the final year. Monstrances blessed at the Vatican will process from the northern, southern, eastern, and western borders of the United States to Indianapolis for the 2024 Eucharistic Congress. Plans are also underway for a procession from Fort Wayne to South Bend this summer. Parishes will be the focus of the middle year, with Eucharist-focused small group meetings and 40 Hour Devotions taking place in each of the parishes in the diocese.

Bishop Rhoades encouraged everyone to participate in the Feb. 11 gathering at St. Pius X in Granger, where he will present three one-hour teachings on the Eucharist as Sacrifice, Presence, and Communion. There was a great response to the same event on the Fort Wayne side of the diocese in January. Some people in attendance at the January event reached out to tell Bishop Rhoades that the event and his talks in particular rekindled their belief in the Real Presence. “Despite the crisis in Eucharistic faith, there is a real hunger in our diocese,” stated Bishop Rhoades. “I am excited about this Eucharistic Revival. As Pope Benedict eloquently wrote, the Eucharist is a mystery to be believed, celebrated, and lived — as you do here at Our Lady of the Road.”

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