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Why I, A Recent Convert, Love the Term “Eucharistic Revival”




By Marina Frattaroli Perpetual Pilgrim on the Seton Route July 8, 2024


I proudly refer to myself as the first convert of the National Eucharistic Revival.

 

During Covid, one of my hobbies became checking Catholic Twitter, a fascinating sociological pastime for a recently graduated Religious Studies and Art History major.

 

Early during the summer of 2020, I saw the term “Eucharistic Revival” in a tweet. I didn’t understand it, but it caught my attention.

 

I googled it and found a website that presented the Catholic view of the Eucharist to me for the first time: that Catholics believe Jesus is truly and substantially present in the Eucharist under the appearances of bread and wine.

 

A Presbyterian at the time, I had previously heard of the term “transubstantiation” that Catholics use to describe how they believe the bread and wine changes into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus, but I had never taken the step to imagine how that doctrine might affect a Christian’s devotional life.

 

It all hit me through my phone screen that day.

 

I realized that I did not actually know Catholic teaching on the Eucharist.

 

I grasped that if I did not know about that, then I must have a fundamental misunderstanding of the Catholic Church.

 

Therefore, I knew that I had to wrestle with this mind-blowing claim, that Catholics believe Jesus is really and truly present here on earth, today.

 

The term “Eucharistic Revival” evangelized me. It helped me to come to know Jesus in a new way.

 

The term also suggested that Catholics understood that this teaching, in some places, had been lost. That rang true to me, as someone who had gone to a dozen Masses over the years but had never perceived through Catholic behavior that this was a central aspect of Catholic faith. The expression primed me to go beyond what I had known before.

 

The name “National Eucharistic Revival” was a warm invitation that drew me in as a Christian and as an American.

 

The word “Revival” communicated to me, a Protestant, a Christian solidarity with my own desire for spiritual growth. It overrode my presumption that the Catholic Church was stagnant.

Revival spoke to me also as an American. It situated the initiative as a moment in American history, as a fulfillment of Americans’ Christian heritage. It blended the familiar with the unfamiliar, giving me the impetus to give this doctrine a chance.

 

After that initial exposure, I investigated the Holy Eucharist, other Catholic teachings, and happily joined the Church in 2022. My life has changed through this teaching and the awesome privilege to be able to receive Jesus every day at Mass.

 

Because the Eucharistic Revival was my door to the Catholic Church, I love to use the term. Over the past couple years, I would say it whenever possible, and post it on my Instagram stories, out of conviction for and confidence in its evangelizing potential.

 

Because in my journey to Catholicism, I came to believe so firmly in the mission of the Eucharistic Revival, I applied, within a year of becoming Catholic, to spend a whole summer on the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage. I gave up other opportunities and obligations, to walk and travel somewhere new each day in order to spread the good news of great joy: that the Eucharist is Jesus truly present.

 

To be American is to be a pilgrim. We learn this identity in the first Thanksgiving.

 

It echoes in every story of industrious immigrants making the journeys here.

 

It resonates in the term “melting pot,” which embeds our ancestors’ transition to a new reality.

 

It also reverberates in the stories of our beloved American saints.

 

We see it in Saint Juan Diego’s finding our Lady of Guadalupe on his miles-long daily journey to Mass, to Saint Kateri Tekakwitha’s journey from what is now New York to Montreal, to the exile of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton from New York to Maryland, to the west coast’s walking church planter, Saint Junipero Serra, to the missionary arrival of Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini from Italy to New York.

 

American Catholics share in this pilgrim heritage.

 

For the Catholic Church in America to be salt, light and leaven, I believe we must lead with our greatest treasure, the Holy Eucharist, Jesus himself. And to do so as our great predecessors did: as pilgrims.

 

In the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, we are bringing the Holy Eucharist out to the people Jesus loves, meeting them in literal common ground — out in public. We are bringing Jesus to new people each day. We worship him at Mass and adore him in Holy Hours.

 

As a pilgrim on the Seton Route, I have come to see the true glory of the Revival, and the wisdom of the bishops who called for it.

 

The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage is one of the chief fulfillments of the mission of Catholic revival. It draws people to the true perfection of the words “Eucharistic Revival”: The Eucharistic Jesus himself, The Word of God incarnate, the one who came to restore us to life and bring it to overflowing.

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