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 | By Dr. Mike Martocchio

Eucharistic Congress: Time and Eternity

We are on the verge of our very first diocesan Eucharistic Congress on April 6. It has me thinking about the Eucharist, about time and eternity. We have discussed the notion of presence many times here and have frequently discussed the physicality of the presence of our Lord in the Eucharist. It meets our bodily need to experience his love tangibly.

But, we have also spoken of the temporal nature of presence as well. Together, these reveal to us the logic of the Incarnation that undergirds the sacraments. God’s love for us is so great that God the Son enters human history (space and time) to transform it. We have also spent some time reflecting on the idea of a Eucharistic Congress in anticipation of the great things the Holy Spirit is doing in the Church locally and nationally.

One of the sometimes-frustrating facets of human experience is that we are temporal beings. We live in time, and at one point or another, everyone experiences a desire to live in a single moment forever, especially the most joyful and inspirational moments throughout our lives. It is in the unfulfillment of this desire that we experience the fleeting nature of human existence. This is what shapes our experiences of loss and mourning. But this desire also reveals to us that our deepest fulfillment can only be found in union with the eternal God. Nothing else will suffice.

All of this points us to the sacraments and, in particular, to the Eucharist. The liturgy is that place where the temporal and the eternal meet. In the here and now, we tangibly experience the eternal love of our Lord. This is what we mean by Real Presence. In the present, in the moment that is also forever, we encounter the truly real, the one who creates and sustains all reality. The sacramental participation of the human in the divine is made possible by Christ taking on our flesh; it is the experience that transforms and reorients our lives, directing us to eternal communion with him.

The message of the Incarnation, the message of the cross and the message of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, is that a single moment in time can have an eternal impact and radiate eternal repercussions.

Our Diocesan Eucharistic Congress is a fleeting moment in time. It will go by quickly. But through the graces of the Holy Spirit, it can be a moment that has eternal repercussions if we allow it to transform the other moments of our lives. This is how grace works. Grace is encountered through the temporal and through the particular, and it always aims us toward the eternal and universal.

With this in mind, I invite you to join us at the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress on April 6, and to do so with a heart completely open to the amazing, transformative things our Lord has in store for us. 



Because tickets are claimed by parishes and few are left, please reach out to your parish, or to join the waiting list, email

Michael Martocchio, Ph.D., is the secretary of discipleship and the director of the Office of Catechesis and Christian Initiation. Email him at

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