“We all need a revival, don’t we?” Most Rev. Daniel E. Thomas, Bishop of Toledo, asked 240 priests of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at their annual Day of Sanctification for Priests Dec. 5 at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.
Promoting the National Eucharistic Revival, sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Thomas in his Keynote Address urged priests to “renew the Church by enkindling our relationship with Christ,” in which “each of us stands in need of deepening.”
“Recall your priestly ordination and Mass the next day,” he suggested, noting the “fervor” that accompanied them. “Eucharistic revival must begin with each of us,” he insisted.
The National Eucharistic Revival began June 19, 2022, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), and will conclude with a National Eucharistic Congress, July 17-21, 2024, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Opening the National Eucharistic Revival June 19 with Mass followed by a Eucharistic Procession at Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral in the Diocese of Toledo, Bishop Thomas experienced the excitement of the children who participated. “Little children taught me how I should approach the Eucharist,” he observed, “to be a more faithful pilgrim.”
A former Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (2006-2014), Bishop Thomas encouraged the priests present to focus their attention on the prayers that the priest is directed to pray quietly when celebrating Mass. He cited as an example the prayer that the celebrant is directed to pray quietly after offering the bread and wine at the beginning of the Liturgy of the Word: “With humble spirit and contrite heart may we be accepted by you, O Lord, and may our sacrifice in your sight this day be pleasing to you, Lord God.”
The phrase “with humble spirit and contrite heart,” he explained, is taken from the prayer prayed by Azariah, accompanied by Hananiah and Mishael, in the fiery furnace, according to the Book of Daniel. Bishop Thomas advised his listeners to imitate those “bold, young, men,” who “exercised true courage and sacrificed everything.” He pointed out, “God heard their humble prayer. He rescued them.” He recommended that “we make the prayer of the young men our own.”
Archbishop Pérez, in his Oct. 20 letter inviting the presbyterate to join him for the Day of Sanctification, wrote, “There is nothing more powerful or renewing for our priestly spirit than to gather together, before our Lord, in the Blessed Sacrament and recommit ourselves to grow in holiness and fraternal charity.”
Father Quindlen is pastor emeritus of Epiphany of Our Lord Church, Plymouth Meeting. He resides at Nativity of Our Lord Church, Warminster.
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