By Tony DeGol
As the Catholic Church prepares for what is being called a “Eucharistic Revival” beginning next year, Father Matthew Reese thinks the renewal couldn’t be coming at a better time.
“We’re coming out of an unprecedented time in our Church where we were unable to gather due to a pandemic, and many people felt the loss of that Sacrament, and they yearn for that sacrament,” Father explained. “Other people, maybe, are still trying to understand the importance it still plays in their lives after this pandemic.”
Bishop Mark and other Bishops of the United States are especially eager for the opportunity that the Eucharistic Revival presents.
The vision is to light a fire among Catholics everywhere for the Eucharist as the “Source and Summit of our Christian Life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1324).
“It really is a moment in our Church’s history that we can unite across the world and say we all believe that the bread and wine consecrated at Mass is transformed into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ,” Father Reese added.
As Pastor of Our Lady of the Alleghenies Parish in Lilly, Father is not waiting until the Eucharistic Revival to invite people to draw closer to the Lord.
His parish is hosting a 40 Hours Eucharistic Devotion on September 12th, 13th, and 14th to which all are welcome.
Forty Hours is a tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages when the faithful would go from church to church and view the Eucharist being raised up during Mass.
“There was a special devotion at that moment of being in the presence of the Holy Eucharist,” Father Reese reminded. “After that came what we know as Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Eucharistic Adoration is the focus of 40 Hours, where we nurture our love for Jesus’ presence in the Holy Eucharist and also our prayer life.”
The 40 Hours Eucharistic Devotion at Our Lady of the Alleghenies begins on Sunday, September 12 with Mass at 11:00 a.m. followed by all-day Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Masses will be celebrated at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, September 13th and Tuesday, September 14th, also followed by all-day Adoration.
Devotional services will be held all three nights at 7:00 p.m. with guest homilist Father Peter Crowe, Pastor of Saint Andrew Parish in Johnstown and Diocesan Director of Vocations.
“Essentially, the devotional prayers of each night are connected,” pointed out Father Reese. “My intent with the parish is to present this as a retreat – to have these three nights connected with the message that Father Peter will prepare for us and deliver each night to give us all a renewal and a greater appreciation for the Sacrament that we have.”
Father Reese’s intent is to offer a traditional 40 Hours straight through from the beginning on Sunday to the close on Tuesday night, assuming at least some faithful are willing to be present during the overnight hours.
He extends a warm invitation for his parishioners and other Catholics throughout the diocese to be present as their schedule permits for this special opportunity.
“Now is a good time to renew our practices of the faith – with the Mass and beyond the Mass – to deepen our love and appreciation for the Sacrament that sustains us to eternal life,” assured Father Reese.