January 1, 2023 | Evangelization
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Fr. Connor Danstrom speaks to the 256 priests, parish staff and others gathered for the Dec. 6 Eucharistic Revival convocation held at the Owensboro Convention Center. RILEY GREIF | WKC

Time for a change?

​BY DR. JEFF ANDRINI, OFFICE OF EVANGELIZATION AND DISCIPLESHIP

I expect you’ve heard about the National Eucharistic Revival, and you may wonder what this effort will offer you and our wider Church. You might not know that this effort is coming out of the Office of Evangelization at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Fifty years ago, Pope Paul VI said, “The Church exists to evangelize.” Meaning, we exist to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with a world that desperately needs answers. Since the great commission in Matthew 28:18 when Jesus told the disciples to “Go and make disciples of all nations” the Church has been about this mission. And clearly, the Holy Spirit has led our Church throughout every generation to serve our world in Christ’s name.

So why the Eucharistic Revival now? Priests and parish staff members from our diocese gathered in early December to learn the “why.” Fr. Connor Danstrom, one of the National Eucharistic Revival Preachers, offered two talks.

The first talk focused on the call to personal and communal transformation. His three points were: sacrifice, communion, and presence. He said that “human beings are made to live in communion with the Holy Trinity.” We are to be changed by the one sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, which is represented at each Eucharist. As we receive Jesus, we are called to become what we receive! To be transformed into “perfect self-giving love.” We are to become Christ’s presence in all we do throughout the week for others.

The second talk offered three points as well, and it is interesting to note that all 56 Eucharistic Revival Preachers were trained together and sent out to share this message across the U.S. He spoke about relationship, identity, and mission.

And here’s where the change is being offered to our average Catholic experience… We are called to engage in an intimate and personal relationship with God. And we do this best through what he called Mental Prayer. This involves giving and receiving and leads to intimacy and trust. Like in human relationships, there are seven levels of intimacy. Think of your loved ones and your relationship with Jesus. The first three are surface levels: cliches, facts, opinions. These do not disclose a great deal about us and do not lead to much depth. However, the following lead to great depth and need to be present in our loving human relationships and with God; hopes/dreams, feelings, fears/faults/failures, and our deepest needs.

Changing our prayer to a conversation with God, to a communion with the Holy Trinity rooted in an intimate and honest conversation that is vulnerable and real, is essential in our daily prayer life. Our identity must come from our deep and loving relationship with God, and our mission is to live this love well, which will reflect out in all our relationships with others!

The Eucharistic Revival in an invitation to deeper intimacy with God.

Peace,

Jeff

Dr. Jeff Andrini is the director of the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship. He wants to hear from you and maybe feature your questions in his column! Please email questions and comments to jeff.andrini@pastoral.org.


Originally printed in the January 2023 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

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