Pope Francis’ ambassador conveys Holy Father’s enthusiasm for Eucharistic revival

Cardinal Christophe Pierre USCCB Cardinal Christophe Pierre, the Vatican's nuncio to the United States, speaks to the U.S. bishops at their annual fall assembly in Baltimore on Nov. 14, 2023. | Credit: Screenshot of USCCB livestream

Pope Francis’ ambassador to the United States conveyed the Holy Father’s support for the National Eucharistic Revival in a speech Thursday at the spring gathering of the U.S. bishops held in Louisville, Kentucky.

Cardinal Christophe Pierre, who has served as the apostolic nuncio to the United States since 2016 in addition to being the Vatican’s top diplomat in Washington, D.C., is tasked with representing the pope in his dealings with the U.S. bishops. 

“Pope Francis is united with us in his desire that people rediscover the power of the Eucharist,” Pierre said.

The National Eucharistic Revival, which launched on the feast of Corpus Christi in 2022, has a mission to “renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the holy Eucharist,” as stated on its website. Sponsored by the U.S. Catholic bishops, the revival aims to inspire people to encounter Jesus in the Eucharist. 

In his speech, Pierre said that Pope Francis has embraced this goal as a means to conversion of heart, a commitment to evangelization, service, and community.

“We have set out on this Eucharistic Revival because we want our people to come to a renewed and deeper appreciation of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist,” he said.

“We want them to know that Christ is there for them in the Eucharist: to receive their adoration, to accompany them in their earthly journey, and to feed them with the Bread of Life,” Pierre told the assembled bishops.

“We want them also to know the implications of encountering Christ in this way: how it calls them to an ongoing journey of conversion, and also how it commits them to a life of evangelization — of being people who offer an openhearted welcome of mercy to everyone who seeks a place in God’s Church,” Pierre said.

Synodality of Eucharistic pilgrimages

The apostolic nuncio also conveyed the Vatican’s support for the National Eucharistic Pilgrimages underway across the country, connecting them to the theme of synodality. 

“The Eucharistic processions that are going on right now, and which will converge on Indianapolis next month, are an outward symbol of what we want to happen on a spiritual level. We want people to turn to the Eucharistic Lord, to walk with him, and to be led by him. We also want this to happen in the context of community,” Pierre told the bishops.

“Our people need to experience that a journey with the Lord is also a journey with others who seek the Lord. That this journey is a true synod,” he said.

Bishops as wounded healers

He also called on the bishops to seek the fruits of a Eucharistic revival in their own lives.

“Let us not forget: We need Eucharistic revival too! Let’s be attentive in our own hearts to what the Lord is saying and doing among us,” he said. 

“The lesson is: The Eucharistic encounter with the risen Lord affords a new personal and ecclesial experience, one in which the wounds suffered in the body of Christ become signs of his victory over death,” he said.

He then suggested that the “woundedness” of the Church can similarly be a pathway forward to healing and listed those wounds.

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“We are painfully aware of the most glaring wounds in today’s Church. The scandal of abuse and of failed oversight. The plague of indifference toward the poor and suffering, which can affect us all. Skepticism toward God and religion in a secularized culture. And an agitating temptation toward polarization and division, even among those of us who are committed to Christ and his Church,” he said.

“We find the answer in Christ. By showing the apostles his hands, feet, and side, the Lord is saying to them, and to us: ‘I choose to make your sin and failure a part of the story of my victory. If the marks of my crucifixion can exist on my resurrected body, then the marks of your own suffering and failures can exist in the body of my resurrected Church,” Pierre said.

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