Lisa Kochanowski
Assistant Editor/Reporter
January 7, 2024 // Diocese

Eucharistic Congress Offers ‘Once-in-a-Lifetime’ Opportunity 

Lisa Kochanowski
Assistant Editor/Reporter

As 2024 begins, many will use the beginning of a new year to embark on a weight loss journey, commit to reading more books, vow to exercise more, and get their finances in order. Some use the beginning of a calendar year as an opportunity to dive deeper into their faith. With the National Eucharistic Revival ongoing and the historic National Eucharistic Congress taking place this summer in Indianapolis, 2024 is the perfect time for spiritual renewal. The congress, which will be held on July 17-21 at Lucas Oil Stadium, will bring laypeople, clergy, and religious from across the country with the aim to foster among the faithful a deeper devotion to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

Those involved in the event told Today’s Catholic that the congress provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Catholics.

“Disneyworld and Legoland aren’t going anywhere,” said Katie Prejean McGrady, a speaker, award-winning author, and host of “The Katie McGrady Show” on the Catholic Channel on Sirius XM, who will serve as the Impact Session Emcee in Indianapolis. “This Congress is this summer, and I think it’s really important for families to see the breadth, depth, and beauty of the Church in America.”

Katie Prejean McGrady is an international Catholic speaker and author. She writes the “Window Seat Wisdom” column for Catholic News Service. (CNS photo/courtesy Katie Prejean McGrady)

McGrady continued: “This past summer, my daughters
were able to come to the Sunday Mass of a Steubenville Youth Conference I was hosting. After Mass was over – a Mass filled with gorgeous music, checked-in and deeply devoted teenagers, and profound preaching that inspired the entire congregation – my 6-year-old turned to me and said, ‘Mommy, is Mass always like this here? Because if it is, that was so great.’ It was amazing to see her faith lit on fire in a new way because she experienced this sort of ‘Upper Room’ of young people gathered together to pray and worship together,” McGrady told Today’s Catholic. “The coals burned a bit brighter because there were more of them. I think that’s what this Congress can do for us, in our families and in our own hearts. It’s a chance to be lit on fire in a new way, to feel the sense of community and togetherness, to learn and to pray, and then to go home and light fires of faith in our parishes and communities.” 

Damon Owens, executive director of JoyToB, offered the keynote address at the FOCUS-sponsored Student Leadership Summit Dec. 31 at the Phoenix Convention Center. (CNS photo/John Caballero/Catholic Sun)

Damon Owens, an international speaker and evangelist, is Executive Director of Joyful Ever After, a National Parish Engagement Officer for, and an Impact Session speaker. He said he is honored by the invitation to speak at the congress and believes his work in marriage catechesis and as Director of the Theology of the Body Institute brought him this opportunity.

“I’m glad early on they saw the connection that I see very clearly, that any discussion around Eucharist, certainly Eucharistic revival, has to involve marriage,” Owens said. “There’s a direct connection between marital revival and Eucharistic revival, and that’s going to be the focus of my talk. The invitation really was for me a confirmation that they see that as well.”

“I’m excited about what really is an invitation to marital revival,” Owens continued. “And I don’t just mean in a moral sense, I mean in a real experience of joy, just as in the Eucharist where we have this one flesh union with Christ. A little bit of theology, but it’s so practical that we’re called to have the Eucharist so that we can be in intimate communion with God. He made that possible. We didn’t create that. We didn’t invent that, but we’re invited to it. And a Eucharistic revival is about reviving the intimacy that we have with Our Lord who’s the only begotten Son of God the Father.”

Owens told Today’s Catholic that we have to accept the invitation each of us is being offered.

“If we don’t participate, there’s no possibility of a revival,” he said. “Revival isn’t something that happens to us; it’s something we enter into. It’s something we allow to transform us. And I would invite people to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that is an invitation from Pope Francis, an invitation from our leadership, from the Church, and therefore from Christ, for us to revive – really, to re-alive, to reawaken the life of Christ in our everyday life. And only we know what that everyday life is. It’s ours, it’s a gift. So, to attend to this event is to really raise your hand, to stand up and say, ‘I want new life. I want more joy. I want my faith not to be just a part of my life, but to animate it – literally, to be its soul,’” said Owens.

Mary Healy

Mary Healy an author, international speaker, and professor of Scripture at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, is an Impact Session speaker and encourages people to join this monumental moment in history. 

“The Church in the U.S. today is often marred by polarization, disillusionment, discouragement, and fatigue,” Healy said. “We have not had a Eucharistic Congress since 1941. There is a great need for a rekindling of our hope! There is an extraordinary power in a whole national Church together turning our faces toward the Lord, worshiping Him, and asking for His blessing. I believe this event will truly bring revival and help launch a new wave of evangelization so that more people in this broken world can come to know the saving power of Jesus,” Healy said. 

Healy served for three years as a consultor to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis. She said she feels privileged to see the vision for the Eucharistic Revival unfold under the leadership of Bishop Andrew Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota.  

“It has been amazing to see the creativity, energy, talent, prayer, and fervor with which the congress is being prepared, and the number of lives that have already been touched by it. And I have no doubt that the Lord has much more in mind,” Healy said. 

At the congress, Healy said she is planning to talk about the healing power of Jesus, who gives Himself to us and draws us into the whole mystery of His passion in the Eucharist.  

“Everyone is in need of healing on some level – physical, emotional, relational, or spiritual, or all of the above – and the Lord loves to heal. My hope is that people’s faith will be stirred up to realize just how much the Lord desires to heal them, so they can actually experience His healing through the Eucharist,” Healy said. 

Healy, Owens, and McGrady said the congress provides a unique opportunity to connect with fellow Catholics from around the United States to reconsecrate hearts to the source and summit of our faith. 

“The witness of families at the Eucharistic Congress will be, I think, one of the most profound things we experience this summer in Indianapolis. I just have this picture in my head of kids and their moms and dads kneeling on the floor of an NFL football stadium, arms raised in worship before the Blessed Sacrament, heads bowed in awe as we kneel before Our Lord, and it moves me to tears just imagining the collective power of praise and community in that moment. This is a moment for a movement, and hopefully it sparks fires in the hearts of our kids that can set a new generation ablaze with a love of the Lord, and that fire can be lit at the congress. We’ll be there, no doubt about it, and I can’t wait to experience it as a family,” McGrady said. 

Healy agreed, saying: “In my experience, an event like this where a huge number of people gather in Christ’s name is an occasion of tremendous grace, often life-changing grace. I would encourage people to attend the whole event if possible, because each day will have its own unique character, new insights, and surprises of grace.” 

Owens believes this opportunity is especially important for families. As the father of eight, traveling with 10 can be a challenge, but attending something of this magnitude can be life-changing for people of all ages. Owens encourages fellow dads to make the trek with their families. The location of something in the United States gives even more reason to attend. Unlike events such as World Youth Day that are overseas and require passports and extensive travel, this event is happening close to home for many. Owens said his first stateside event was the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. He was in awe and appreciated the chance for an American Catholic experience.

“Having this here in the United States, in the Midwest, here in Indianapolis, gives everyone access here in the United States to participate in a community that we just don’t get the opportunities to do. It’s more than our parish,” Owens said. “It’s more than our diocese. It’s more than even our region – the North, the South, the West, the Midwest. This is an American opportunity to build and to live as an American Catholic community, authentically. And there’s really no way to replicate this anywhere else. It really is a once-in-a-lifetime moment.”

For a detailed list of schedules and speakers, and to purchase five-day passes or single-day passes, visit

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