Priests Reflect on the Gift of the Eucharist


As the Church of Altoona-Johnstown joins other dioceses in the United States in a Eucharistic Revival, Diocesan and religious priests reflect on the treasure of the Eucharist, the opportunity of this movement, and their hopes for their parishioners during this time of renewal.


The Eucharist can be called the Bread of Angels. In his Summa, Saint Thomas Aquinas explained that for the angels, they gaze upon the Risen Christ in Heaven. They receive spiritual nourishment from contemplating Him in His glory (III.80.2). Whenever we come to church to attend Mass, spend some time in front of the Blessed Sacrament during the day, or come to Eucharistic Adoration, we receive spiritual nourishment as well. The angels are with us, and these are truly peaceful and calm moments that bring Heaven to us on earth in the Lord’s hidden Presence. I hope that the people whom I serve, and everyone throughout the diocese, can experience this peace as I do.  —Father Derek Fairman, Pastor of Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Everett and Saint Stephen Parish in McConnellsburg


Greek: Εὐχαριστία – Transliteration: Eucharistia – Meaning: Thanksgiving
The gift of the Eucharist, by its very name (Εὐχαριστία) which means Thanksgiving, should inspire in the human heart an attitude of gratitude. Our Catholic Faith teaches us the reason for our gratitude. The Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Logos (λόγος), took on flesh and blood by the power of the Holy Spirit when He was incarnate of the Virgin Mary. The Logos became vulnerable in order to take upon Himself the complete nature of humanity, wounded by original sin. God became one with our broken humanity. Through His Life, Death, and Resurrection (the Paschal Mystery), Christ redeemed mankind. At every Mass, heaven touches earth, and Christ again becomes vulnerable under the accidents of unleavened bread and wine to become once more united with humanity through the reception of Holy Communion. By this Common-Union our broken humanity is healed and we should, with extraordinary joy, give thanks to our Redeemer, the Bread of Life, the Second Person of the Trinity, our Incarnate Lord, Christ Jesus in the Flesh. As a pastor, my greatest desire is for those precious souls entrusted to me to come to know more profoundly the unfathomable depth of God’s love manifested in the gift of the Holy Eucharist. And that they feel the eternal joy of being one with our Lord and Savior, through adoration of the Eucharist and the intimate union of the reception of this wondrous Sacrament.  –Father Timothy Harris, TOR, Pastor of Saint John Vianney Parish in Mundys Corner


At Mass, the minister of the Blessed Sacrament holds up the Eucharist and pronounces it to be the Body of Christ. Before we receive our Lord, we have but a moment to gaze upon this miraculous reality as we make our act of faith saying, “Amen.”  We don’t have time as the liturgy moves on to do more than perhaps a minute or two of private thanksgiving.  Eucharistic Adoration gives us that opportunity; to spend time intently gazing upon the sacred Body of our Lord, making repeated acts of faith, and allowing the loving awareness of God’s presence to inflame our souls.  –Father Joseph Orr, Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in Lock Haven and Administrator of Saint Joseph Parish in Renovo