The revival would culminate in summer 2024 with a Eucharistic celebration event, held in a major city, that would serve as a national pilgrimage site.
The planned revival was spurred by a 2019 study by the Pew Research center, which found that just 31% of U.S. Catholics believe in the Church’s teaching on transubstantiation, that the bread and wine offered at Mass become the body and blood of Jesus.
More than two thirds of those surveyed, 69%, reported that they believe that the bread and wine at Mass “are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.”
At the time, Sample addressed his flock regarding the results of the survey. “These results have to be a real wake up call for all of us,” he wrote on Aug. 30, 2019. He challenged archdiocesan Catholic schools, parish religious education programs, and adult faith formation programs to put a greater emphasis on the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist.
“To simply shrug our shoulders at such disturbing news and move on with business as usual is simply not an option. We must do everything in our power to reverse this trend,” he wrote.
“People will more easily grow lax in the practice of their faith, or drop out altogether, if they don’t understand and believe the mystery we celebrate in the Holy Eucharist and how that drives everything else we do in the ministry of the Church.”
The plan for a Eucharistic Revival comes after the U.S. bishops last week voted to draft a teaching document on the Eucharist, which would include a subsection on “Eucharistic coherence,” or worthiness to receive Communion.
In a proposed outline of the document, the bishops’ doctrine committee cited the special need for Catholic public officials to uphold Church teaching in public life, but stressed that they are not drafting any national policy of denying Communion.
Jonah McKeown is a staff writer and podcast producer for Catholic News Agency. He holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has worked as a writer, as a producer for public radio, and as a videographer. He is based in St. Louis.