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 | By Dr. Mike Martocchio

A Eucharistic Revival

The Eucharist and The Gospel

Over the last year or so, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have been discussing an exciting pastoral initiative that will affect all of us over the next few years (2022-2025). We are all being invited to join in a national movement of eucharistic revival. This will have several phases — diocesan, parish and national — and several components.

The revival, however, is not envisioned as a singular event or even a series of events. The idea is to begin a movement by which we, as Catholics, share the Gospel flowing from and leading toward the encounter with Christ in the Eucharist. Real movements begin in the heart. So, we should see this invitation not simply as a teaser for some future event, but rather as a call to renew our own Eucharistic spirituality in the present moment.

The springboard for this movement has been given to us by our nation’s bishops in a new document entitled The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church. In this document, the bishops present the Eucharist as a gift given to us, the gift of Christ himself who took on our humanity, suffered and died for us and transformed death into life. The Eucharist, as a sacrificial meal patterned after Passover, brings us into God’s own life of eternal communion.

Christ invites us into this life of divine communion by bridging the natural gap between God and creation by taking on our humanity, and also by bridging the gap caused by our sin through his life and death. All of this is made present to us in the Eucharist. Just as he did so many years ago, today Christ continues to bring us into God’s life by entering ours, transforming his creation from within. This is the Good News of the gift of salvation that we are offered. This is the Good News of the Eucharist.

Like every gift, the Eucharist elicits a response.

The appropriate response to a gift, at minimum, is the thankful reception of it. It’s especially true when talking about this sacrament. Even the term Eucharist means “thanksgiving.”

It is for this reason that the liturgical life of the Church, where we encounter Christ in the Eucharist, is envisioned in our Tradition as one that involves the active participation of all the faithful.

This active reception involves allowing ourselves to be transformed by the Eucharist. After all, transformation is what grace is all about. Encountering Christ in the Eucharist should turn our hearts towards him in constant, ever-deepening conversion. Our conversion is not a singular moment, but an ongoing process — a journey.

The Eucharist, Christ himself, is our food and sustenance for the journey.

In this process of revival, each of us is asked to deepen and renew our fervor for the amazing gift we are given, the gift of Christ himself. But that’s just the beginning. We are called to share the Good News of the gift, and the transformation that we experience through it, as we allow Christ to transform us in this encounter.

All are called to be eucharistic missionaries, each in a unique way. Christ enters our reality to transform it. He then calls us and sends us out to work with him to do the same in the world around us.

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