January 19, 2024 // Diocese

‘I AM HERE’: Personal Testimonies Share the Power of the Eucharist

In June of 2022, the Archdiocese of Detroit launched a project in conjunction with the National Eucharistic Revival that aimed to foster in the faithful a deeper sense of devotion to Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist by inviting those in Detroit and beyond to share personal stories of how the Eucharist has impacted their lives in a real and powerful way.

The project, “I AM HERE,” contains hundreds of personal stories of how the Eucharist has transformed people across the country, including dozens of Catholics who live and worship in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

Throughout the next several months as the Church continues to prepare for the National Eucharistic Congress, which will be held July 17-21, 2024, in Indianapolis, Today’s Catholic will feature the stories of local men and women who have submitted their powerful testimonies to “I AM HERE.” To read more, or to submit your own story of how the Eucharist has shaped your life,
visit iamhere.org. To learn more about the upcoming National Eucharistic Congress, or to purchase tickets, visit diocesefwsb.org/congress.

‘It Is When I Feel Closest to Jesus’

By Suzanne Horban
Corpus Christi Community, South Bend

The Eucharist is everything that my faith is centered around. Jesus gives us His body and blood so that we can have eternal life. It is when I feel closest to Jesus.

COVID-19 gave me an appreciation for the Eucharist because I was not able to attend Mass or receive Jesus’ body and blood because of the restrictions. I also suffered with COVID for three weeks. I took the Eucharist for granted before then. Since our Masses are still livestreamed, the Prayer for Spiritual Communion is offered. I like to pray along with it in my head, changing the words slightly, to affirm my belief in the Eucharist and prepare myself to receive Jesus.

I have been fortunate with the help of my family to be available to attend daily Mass, hear the word of God, and receive the Eucharist. It has been a blessing.

Our world is full of so much noise. It is wonderful to just be able to listen to Jesus speak to me. Whether I am praying, reading, or just kneeling or sitting there, His guidance comes to me.

‘My Life Is So Much Richer’

By Margie Buschur
St. Mary of the Presentation Church, Geneva

I grew up in a small Midwestern town of about 2,500 people. There were a few factories around and a large number of farmers. My father was a farmer, and my mother was a homemaker. They raised a family of eight children. Although they both worked very hard, it was equally important to raise us as “good Catholics.” 

Ours was a predominantly Catholic community, and everyone went to Mass on Sunday. Many of us also attended Mass on weekday mornings before school. We sat with our classmates. We went to confession once a month. We received our first holy Communion and were confirmed by a bishop who drove almost three hours one way to get there. We also had a Mass when we graduated from high school. There were many impressive things going on at church. We had 40 Hours of devotion from time to time, and frequent Benediction. 

In the afternoon of the Sunday before All Souls’ Day, we would form a procession using the main highway in town and walk to our cemetery about a mile away while praying the Rosary. A homily would follow. 

I married my husband in that same church and raised my children in the Catholic faith. Even though I taught CCD and was involved with the youth group, the busyness of life placed my faith somewhat in the background. This was not intentional; life pulls us in many directions. But it does go full circle. This is what drew me to the Eucharistic Revival and I AM HERE. I think I was thirsty. The revival and I AM HERE made me realize that Our Lord has been with me every step of the way – through the good and the bad. 

Since I attended the opening meeting of the Eucharistic Revival for our diocese in Huntington, I have been drawn in by the faith and desire to be more about Christ’s body and blood. I also read the book “The Real Presence.”

Knowing the number of faithful who do not totally believe the Eucharist is truly His body and blood surprised me and made me sad. But the “Walk With Me” event in Warsaw showed me how many people do get it. I felt the Holy Spirit follow us in the procession to the final stop, where we witnessed Benediction. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades’ lectures and Mass at St. Charles Parish in Fort Wayne once again brought alive to me the meaning of Jesus made present. This immersion has definitely deepened my love of the Eucharist. 

We must remember that when receiving His body and blood, Jesus is present in us. He told us this Himself, and our actions should display this always. 

My life is so much richer knowing the Lord is fully with me during the Eucharist and every moment of my life. I feel it throughout my entire day.

‘Being in Front of the Blessed Sacrament Is Comforting’

By Emma Saunders
St. Jude Church, Fort Wayne

I have experienced the power of the Eucharist at a few different points in my life, but the one that comes to mind first is during a moment of adoration where the monstrance was being processed through the room. Seeing hundreds of people on their knees worshiping and adoring was very moving, but the moment the priest walked by my section, it felt like kneeling wasn’t enough. I wanted to reach out to the Blessed Sacrament. I’ve returned many times to that moment and thought about how I always want to feel that way about my faith. 

We are lucky enough to have a perpetual adoration chapel at our parish, and I know that each week I have one hour set aside to really focus on my relationship with God. Being in front of the Blessed Sacrament is comforting. It is the physical reminder that I am not alone in my struggles and joys in life.

‘I Sit in Silence and Listen’

By Mary Goldthrite-DeKever
Queen of Peace Church, Mishawaka

During the past couple of years, I have begun going to Adoration before work a few times a week. I bring a journal with me and simply write what I feel God is saying to me as I sit in silence and listen. I am blown away by what I write in the silence. 

God encourages me, centers me, redirects me, and shows His love to me in all things great and small. In the silence, God whispers to us and immense peace overflows. If I miss a week, I feel depleted and a little lost.

‘God Is Actually with Me’

By Barbara Hillman
Our Lady of Good Hope Church, Fort Wayne

The Eucharist makes me feel very close to God. When I receive the Eucharist, I receive a warm and loving feeling through my whole body, like God is actually with me. 

I love being with my family and receiving the Eucharist together and being with the Church family. I love adoration because it is a quiet time for my mind and heart to be with God.

‘Jesus Showed Me the Way Through’

By Cathi Kennedy
St. Monica Church, Mishawaka

January is a time when people choose a word for the year. This is often something like “courage,” or “resilience,” or “light.” This practice can be a good tool to help focus on positive self-talk or an aspiration for professional growth. I did not choose a word for the year, but I did have a word that came to me during adoration: resentment. That’s the word that, in quiet communion with God, came upon my heart. 

It was not what I was expecting, and I was confused at first. Resentment? Why not “connection” or “encouragement” – something with a more positive connotation? Something to aspire to? But as I sat in front of Jesus and thought about it, I realized it is exactly the word I need. As always, He showed me the way through. 

Working through the resentment that’s built up in my heart will create the space for good things like encouragement and connection, and maybe some peace.

‘I Thank God for Using My Son to Get Closer to His Son’

By Diae Hunter
St. Charles Borromeo Church, Fort Wayne

This morning at Mass, I saw a young boy begin to cry because he was too young to receive the Eucharist. His tears touched my heart because I, too, once cried for the Eucharist. 

I was raised in the Methodist Church and continued in that faith tradition after I married a Catholic man. When my 5-year-old son began talking about mommy’s church and papa’s church, I knew something had to change or my children would grow up thinking it doesn’t matter how they worship. I decided I could get as much from attending Catholic Mass as from a Methodist service, so we began attending Mass together as a family. It didn’t take long before my heart began to hurt when, Sunday after Sunday, I watched everyone else receive Jesus in the Eucharist and I couldn’t. The only solution was to become Catholic, and I began RCIA class as soon as possible. 

On January 25, 1998, I was confirmed and was finally able to receive Jesus – body and blood, soul and divinity. That day, 25 years ago, was the beginning of a new journey with Jesus. 

Changes came slowly at first. I had a lot to learn. After I was taught daily mental prayer and began to attend daily Mass, my relationship with Jesus only grew more and more. 

The hardest thing about the pandemic was not being able to receive the Eucharist for so many weeks. Jesus is always present but never so present as in the Eucharist. I thank God for using my little son to bring me closer to His Son.

‘I Have Never Left Adoration Empty’

By Jenny Born
St. Paul of the Cross, Columbia City

There is no physical limit to the depth of the soul. It is not like our physical body that gets full with food we eat. The food from heaven — the Bread of Life, the Eucharist — is eternal and not confined to the rules of the physical world. There is no limit to the graces from this food, the Eucharist. It’s a beautiful mystery that surpasses my understanding, but it fills my cup. I have never left adoration empty. 

Luke 24:5-6 says, “Why do you seek the Living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has been raised.” I don’t seek Jesus from the world, I find Him in the Eucharist.

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