ST. PAUL, Minnesota — The enthusiasm shown by the U.S. bishops in endorsing a three-year nationwide Eucharistic revival is “actually a true work of the Holy Spirit,” Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens said.
The U.S. bishops approved the revival plans at their November 15-18 fall general assembly in Baltimore. The revival is scheduled to begin next June and will conclude with a National Eucharistic Congress hosted by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis July 17-21, 2024.
Bishop Cozzens leads the revival effort as chairman of the Committee on Evangelism and Catechesis of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Currently Auxiliary Bishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, he was appointed by Pope Francis Oct. 18 to head the Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, where he will be installed Dec. 6.
Asked how the Catholic Church can deepen the understanding of the Eucharist with revival and congress, Bishop Cozzens referenced Jesus saying that a lighted lamp has no place under a bushel.
“Put it on a hill so people can see it and be attracted to it,” the bishop said. “And I think that’s what we want to do with our teaching on the Eucharist.”
Bishop Cozzens described the Eucharistic Revival and the Nov. 17 Congress during the Bishops’ Assembly and also in a Nov. 18 interview from Baltimore with The catholic spirit, journal of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Conducted by Editor-in-Chief Joe Ruff and Editor-in-Chief Maria Wiering, the half-hour interview was streamed live on the Archdiocese’s Facebook page.
Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis joined Bishop Cozzens for the interview.
Bishop Cozzens said he could feel the bishops’ unity and enthusiasm for the revival “throughout the week and in the conversations…and the gratitude and enthusiasm of the bishops who feel that there is a pastoral need that we are filling”.
During the assembly, the bishops also approved a 26-page statement titled “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church,” which explains the centrality of the Eucharist and addresses fundamental doctrine on the sacrament. .
Bishop Hebda said this represents the common understanding of the Bishops as they reaffirm the Church’s longstanding teaching.
The document provides a blueprint that will help throughout the Eucharistic revival, and especially for programs such as the Rite of Christian Initiation for adults and small groups in parishes, the Archbishop said. The catholic spirit.
“I think this is going to be really useful for people who want to deepen their faith and remember why the Eucharist and the Eucharistic sacrifice are the source and the summit of all Christian life,” he said. “I love how this reflects the enthusiasm of the bishops at the idea of being able to promote again, in new ways, our love for the Eucharist.”
Bishop Hebda said that when the faithful participate in the revival and the Eucharistic congress, the Holy Spirit will attract those who need to live this experience.
He hopes it will bring unity “with this worldwide effort” in a way “in which we can truly energize the faithful…and indicate a further deepening of our love for the Eucharist and our love for the church”.
The first year of the three-year revival will have a diocesan focus that could include Eucharistic processions, adoration and prayer, Bishop Cozzens said. The second year will focus on parishes, with catechetical resources being prepared that will help train parish leaders to share the meaning and depth of the Eucharist, he said.
“These leaders will really help us reach the people who are…little connected to the church,” Bishop Cozzens said.
They may call themselves Catholics and sometimes attend Mass, he said, but they still do not understand the gift of the Eucharist. Talking with people who aren’t Catholic or even non-Christian could also be part of the outreach, he said.
Parishes could set up small group opportunities, parish Eucharistic days and Eucharistic service days, with parishioners bringing the Eucharist home and inviting young people to this type of service, Bishop Cozzens said.
For the National Eucharistic Congress, he envisioned a sort of pilgrimage to Indianapolis that might involve processing a monstrance in various regions and provinces of the United States, with Catholics gathering at events with their bishops.
He gave the example of a potential prayer event for racial healing in the Twin Cities, an event in a migrant-focused Southern state, or an event in a prison where people could pray for healing and sorry.
The last National Eucharistic Congress in the United States was held in 1976, attracting more than a million people, Bishop Cozzens said.
“I think these big events, the Holy Spirit is working through them, and I think it will have a big impact on our country,” Bishop Cozzens said. He said several USCCB bishops told him, “We are coming.
“I think it’s going to be something exciting,” Bishop Cozzens said. He expects 80,000 to 100,000 people to attend, although some people have suggested it could attract double that, he said.
“You wonder if there could be a future pope and future saints there as well,” Bishop Hebda said, “that would be something that would nurture that love for the Church and the love for her Eucharist. It’s really exciting.”
Bishop Cozzens sees a World Youth Day style event with an opening mass in a stadium and events throughout the week – something for high school students, young adults, people from different cultures – in an atmosphere festive “which occurs with people using the arts and talents to honor the Eucharist”, he said, with catechetical talks, keynote addresses, a time of prayer and adoration and a great closing mass .
The plans are tentative and open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, Bishop Hebda said.
Bishops he spoke to about the National Eucharistic Congress mentioned how revival is led by the Holy Spirit, “and we should not be surprised if there were any surprises in the way the Holy Spirit Spirit leads us,” he said.
The archbishop said he’s given some thought to the symbolism of the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota – how something that starts small grows into something so powerful.
“This could be a real moment for us to come together and build something that is going to be powerful in our response to Christ’s call,” he said.