Hispanic Eucharistic Convention leads thousands to renewed faith in the Real Presence

Hispanic Eucharistic Convention Sandra Miley emcees the Hispanic Eucharistic Convention on April 27, 2024, at the Gaylord of the Rockies Convention Center in Denver. | Credit: Denver Catholic

In an environment filled with joy and hope, thousands of people met at the Gaylord of the Rockies Convention Center in Denver last Saturday to testify to and celebrate the Eucharist.

“I’m here because God called me to be here; I didn’t plan on coming,” Laura Paredes shared. “I had another event out of state. But God put some people in my path and my plans changed. This morning, as I entered the convention and saw the image on the screen, I said to myself, ‘What a waste it would have been if I didn’t come!’ I’m filled with joy, that soul-filling joy, in my heart, and I know I’m here because he wanted me to be here.”

For many, like María de Jesús Fernández, attending this convention was a way to draw nearer to God and enhance her relationship with him.

“I very much need to grow closer to God, and I hope that I will leave here renewed,” Fernández told the Denver Catholic.

“Just recently, I learned of a miracle in which the Eucharistic host became cardiac flesh and began to beat. God is calling us to reflect on how the world is doing right now. We have to lean on him, we have to draw closer to him, and it makes me so happy to see so many people here today,” she continued.

With a moving introduction, Monsignor Jorge de los Santos, pastor of Our Lady Mother of the Church Parish in Commerce City, Colorado, invited all participants to open their hearts to God and to participate in the convention as fully as possible to experience the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

“Brothers and sisters, take advantage of this moment of grace, this day that the Lord has given us, this day to come together as brothers and sisters and be in the presence of Christ. May Christ the King reign!” de los Santos said, exhorting and encouraging those gathered.

From parish groups to individual participants who attended the convention to draw nearer to God and to get to know the Eucharistic Lord, the center quickly filled with the 2,500 participants who were able to get tickets for this one-of-a-kind event.

With the hope of learning more and strengthening his faith, Miguel traveled with his wife and children to be part of this event.

“More than anything, I came today to learn more about the Eucharist and Eucharistic miracles,” he said. “We’ve come today with open hearts to listen and learn from all the speakers.”

The convention began with a testimony from Daniel Rivas, a seminarian of the Archdiocese of Denver, who shared how God called him to his vocation after a profoundly difficult time in his life.

Modern-day Eucharistic miracles

Dr. Ricardo Castañón spoke on two themes of faith and his discoveries about the real presence of Christ through Eucharistic miracles, offering a powerful and moving testimony of how faith connects with science and the real presence of Jesus in the consecrated bread we receive at each Mass.

Dr. Ricardo Castañón speaks on two themes of faith and his discoveries about the real presence of Christ through Eucharistic miracles at the Hispanic Eucharistic Convention on April 27, 2024, in Denver. Credit: Denver Catholic
Dr. Ricardo Castañón speaks on two themes of faith and his discoveries about the real presence of Christ through Eucharistic miracles at the Hispanic Eucharistic Convention on April 27, 2024, in Denver. Credit: Denver Catholic

“It has been phenomenal! I was shocked by all the miracles Dr. Castañón explained to us. I was seriously surprised. Now, I value the Eucharist so much more,” Virgilio Pedraza said. “Come closer, truly come closer to live with Christ present in your life.”

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila celebrated a special Mass for those in attendance. In his homily, he stressed the importance of the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist as well as the importance of keeping our hearts open to the Father.

“Our fervent hope as bishops is that love for the Eucharist and faith in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist might burn in the hearts of the faithful,” Aquila said, referencing the National Eucharistic Revival, which will culminate in the National Eucharistic Congress this summer.

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“When we come to Mass, we ought to prepare our hearts to adore the Father through, with, and in Jesus. In his one sacrifice we recognize and receive the love of the Father for us in Jesus and in the Eucharist,” he emphasized.

At the end of his homily, Aquila invited the faithful to pay extra attention to the prayers offered during each Mass and to carry the Eucharist to those in need through works of charity.

“I encourage you, my brothers and sisters here, as we continue this Mass, to be conscious of how we are adoring the Father. Listen attentively to the prayers offered during the Mass, especially the Eucharistic Prayer and the Our Father,” Aquila said. “Offer your lives to the Father with Jesus. Give yourself to the Father just as Jesus gave himself to the Father. Ask the Lord how we ought to bring the Eucharist to the world with our works of charity. By praying for those who are in need of our prayers, praying for those who do not know Jesus, now they come to know and love him more, especially in the breaking of the bread.”

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila celebrates a special Mass for those in attendance at the Hispanic Eucharistic Convent on April 27, 2024, in Denver. Credit: Denver Catholic
Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila celebrates a special Mass for those in attendance at the Hispanic Eucharistic Convent on April 27, 2024, in Denver. Credit: Denver Catholic

Young people present

Among those present at the Eucharistic Convention were numerous young people such as Giselle Chávez, who shared with the Denver Catholic her excitement over the opportunity God offered her to participate in this unique experience.

“I’m letting the Holy Spirit lead,” she said, adding an invitation to other young people to participate in events like these and encouraging them not to be afraid of drawing closer to God.

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“Don’t be afraid,” she continued. “Don’t focus on the stereotypes or think that these sort of events are only for older people. It’s really beautiful to have faith and live a spiritual life as a young person so that we can carry it into adulthood and pass it on to our children and future generations.”

After lunch, the event continued with a concert with the religious music group Jeséd and a talk given by Luis Soto, director of Evangelization and Discipleship at the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. Following Soto’s talk, participants heard testimonies from Sister Isabel Muñoz de Lara of the Allied Discalced Carmelites of the Holy Trinity, Leopoldo Soto of the Apostles of the Word ministry, and Emma González.

“We are a Eucharistic Church; we are a Church that is born from the Eucharist and that lives for Christ,” Soto shared with the Denver Catholic before his talk. “Today, in my talk, I will do my best to present a biblical account of the real presence of Christ, to try to understand the Mass and what it means, but above all to reinforce the idea, the understanding, and the certainty that Christ is present in a real way in the Eucharist.”

For San Juana, expanding her faith in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is as simple as coming to know the love of God.

“They say that no one loves what they do not know. So, it’s very important to get to know Jesus to love him more and reinforce our faith, coming to know him more through a bit of science,” she said, referring to Castañón’s talk. “We believe in this real presence more than anything by faith, but if we bolster that with science, it’s something even stronger.”

Concluding adoration

The Eucharistic Convention concluded with an emotional Holy Hour of Eucharistic adoration in which participants were able to open their hearts and experience the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

Some of the participants who were present for the convention shared their emotion and satisfaction over being able to be a part of this unique experience and how the event marked a “before and after” in their faith lives.

“Today has been a blessing to reinforce the fact that Jesus Christ is present in the bread and the wine,” said Lucio Rodríguez, a parishioner of St. William Parish in Fort Lupton, Colorado.

“The Eucharistic miracles are the biggest gift that we have as Catholics. I’m really interested in making sure that people know what is actually happening in the Eucharist,” Flor Palafox, a parishioner of Queen of Peace Parish in Aurora, Colorado, told the Denver Catholic.

“I came to learn something new so that I can put it into practice in my life, in my service, with my family and with all those around me,” said Raúl Garcia, a parishioner of St. William Parish in Fort Lupton.

“I don’t even know how to explain what I’ve felt,” said Rosa Raudales, a parishioner of Our Lady of the Plains Parish in Byers, Colorado. “When I received the Eucharist, it was something that I needed. I needed the Lord!”

This story was first published by the Denver Catholic and is reprinted here on CNA with permission.

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