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Bishop William Waltersheid: The Miracle of Bread's Becoming Christ Himself

MCKEESPORT, PENNYSYLVANIA, June 12 — At an evening Eucharistic Holy Hour at St. Patrick's Church in McKeesport, part of Mary, Mother of God Parish, Bishop William Waltersheid, auxiliary bishop of Pittsburgh, gave a welcome to the Lord and to the National Eucharistic Pilgrims and preached a reflection on the incredible gift of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

These are Bishop Waltersheid's words.


Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever! Amen.


My dear brothers and and Sisters in Christ,


We have welcomed the king into our midst what a great joy it is for each one of us and really for all of the faithful of the Diocese of Pittsburgh to welcome into our Diocese the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, to welcome Jesus Christ truly present, Body, Blood,

Soul and Divinity in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the altar.


It is a day that we have been looking forward to for a long time.


With our blessed Lord , we welcome his custodians into the Diocese: Father Roger Landry, an old friend of mine from the Eternal City; Father Joseph Mary Dean, Brother Philip James Gorum, Brother Joshua Vanot, Brother Felix Conley, our own Christoph Bernas, seminarian for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Dominic Carstens, Zoe Dongas, Marina Frattaroli, Natalie Garza and Amayrani Higueldo.


A most warm welcome to the Diocese of Pittsburgh, a place where the faith lives with great passion and where many graces have been poured out upon us in many ways, but especially now we're looking forward to this next week when our Lord will walk with us in a particular and special way as we make our way through the Diocese.


We are part of that heavenly host of those brothers and sisters, the Saints, who intercede for us be before the throne of God, before the Lamb in heaven that lamb who is made present on our altar at every Mass, before that lamb who is before us tonight as we bow down in adoration before him. That Lamb is the living heart of the church. He is the heart that beats with mercy and love for each and every one of us.


We are doing what we know is right to do: we come before him, we adore him, we love him, and we thank him for his constant presence in our midst.


Our blessed Lord before he ascended into Heaven, as recorded at the end of St Matthew's Gospel, when he gave the apostles their commission to go forth and to teach all nations, to teach all that he has taught them to observe, to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, he said, “Lo, behold I am with you to the end of the age.”


I always say if Jesus says it, that is good enough for me, because he is true to his word just as he is true to the word that he said in the Upper Room on the first Holy Thursday night when he took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to his disciples saying, “Take this and eat of it, for this is my body.” Not a symbol, not just some kind of a reminder, abstract in nature, but bread becomes Christ himself, who loves us and who longs to be with us.


Then, taking the Chalice, he said, “Take this and drink of it all of you, for this is the chalice of my Blood, the blood of the new and eternal Covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the remission of sins. Do this in memory of me.”


Dear brothers and sisters, for 2,000 years people have gathered around the altar as priests have said these words in the Sacrament of the altar, the living and beating heart of the Church who pours out his love for us.


How blessed we are to believe!


How strengthened we are to come before him!


How magnificent it is for us to receive him when we come to Mass!


Tonight as we begin this wonderful National Eucharistic pilgrimage through our Diocese, let us bring every need, every intention, every prayer before the King who is present here on the altar.


Let us lay those needs before him and trust that he will hear our every prayer and grant us all that we need.


For he is our Shepherd, who guides us and protects us through the dark valleys of life, through difficult days when things seem impossible. He dwells in our midst in the Tabernacle. He comes upon our altars at Mass. He asks that we come before him and lay everything before his most acred and Eucharistic Heart.


What a tremendous joy it is for us to gather here this evening!


How blessed we are to be in the presence of the King, united with the court of Heaven, united with our Blessed Lady in whose virginal womb he took flesh, that flesh that becomes present for us tonight on the altar as we kneel before him along with his Saints from every time and place who knew his Eucharistic presence and who intercede for us tonight, with the hosts of angels who gather around him and bow in adoration teaching us to do the same.


Tonight, dear friends, the King pours out his love and his mercy upon us. His Sacred Heart, present in this Most Blessed Sacrament and pierced for love of us, says to us, “Come and I will give you all you need! Come and trust in me, for there is nothing that you lack that I will not fill. There is no prayer that you utter that I will not heed. There is no sorrow that I will not soothe. There is no joy that I will not rejoice with you over, for I am true to my word. I am present. Lo, behold, here I am! Trust in me!”


Tonight, we ask also our Blessed Lady to intercede for us so that we too may learn from her Immaculate Heart how we are to worship her Son. She who said, “Fiat!” and her Son became present, teaches us how to say, “Fiat! Let it be done to me according to thy word!”


O Jesus, we give it all to you tonight.


We Rejoice!


We continue our pilgrimage through life.


And we recognize that the way to renew the Church, the way to revitalize our faith, our families, our parishes, and our nation, is to come before you and bend the knee and beg for your help for you are here and you will grant it to us!


We pray that in Jesus’ great Mercy, he will bless tonight especially the people of Mary, Mother of God Parish, with Father Terry O’Connor, with Father Adam Potter, with all of you. That he will grace you in a particular way and that you will know that he's with you to the end of the age!


O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine!


Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever! Amen.



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