I look forward to welcoming you next month to the Eucharistic Congress. Our seventh annual Eucharistic Congress will be held Sept. 23-24 at the Charlotte Convention Center. I hope you have already reserved these dates on your calendar and that you are planning to attend. Preparations have been underway for more than a year, and many volunteers have already been working countless hours for this year's Congress.
The theme for our Congress is taken from Jesus' words to His Apostles at the Last Supper: "Do this in memory of me." (Luke 22:19)
During the Last Supper Jesus instituted the memorial of His sacrificial death and resurrection. He gave His Body and Blood to His disciples, but He also did more. In addition to giving Himself to His disciples, Jesus also instructed them, "Do this in memory of Me," indicating that He wanted His disciples to repeat what He did at the Last Supper.
In his book "Jesus of Nazareth (part II)," Pope Benedict XVI writes: "We may ask: what exactly did the Lord instruct them to repeat? Certainly not the Passover Meal.... The instruction to repeat refers simply to what was new in Jesus' actions that evening: the breaking of bread, the prayer of blessing and thanksgiving accompanied by the words of consecration of bread and wine."
What the disciples were told to do, they did in fact carry out, and as a result the Eucharistic sacrifice Jesus instituted at the Last Supper has continued to remain present in the Church through the centuries.
"Do this in memory of Me": What blessed words those are, and what fortunate words they are for us! They express the Lord's desire to remain really present among us, and His desire to continue His work of redemption.
In the encyclical "Ecclesia de Eucharistia," Blessed John Paul II reminded us of this double gift that comes to us in the Eucharist: "It is the gift of Himself, of His person in His sacred humanity, as well as the gift of His saving work.... When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, the memorial of her Lord's death and resurrection, this central event of salvation becomes really present and the work of our redemption is carried out.... Each member of the faithful can thus take part in it and inexhaustibly gain its fruits."
In the Eucharist Jesus Himself is really present, and at the same time He takes us up into the saving event of His suffering, death and resurrection. He thus continues the work of redemption, transforming us through His paschal mystery.
In the Eucharistic hymn "O Sacrum Convivium," we praise the Lord's gift of Himself and the gift of our being taken up into His redemptive act: "O sacred Banquet, wherein Christ is received; the memory of His Passion is renewed, the mind is filled with grace, and the pledge of future glory is given unto us."
Abundant grace is available to us through the Eucharist because of the Apostles' faithful fulfillment of the Lord's command: "Do this in memory of Me." May the Eucharistic Congress be for each one of us a joyful celebration of faith in our Eucharistic Lord, and an occasion of growth in holiness.
Bishop Peter J. Jugis leads the Diocese of Charlotte.
Dr. Kamila Valenta: Freedom of speech: A great gift and a great responsibilityFirst recognized by the democratic ideology of ancient Athens in the 5th century B.C., the freedom of speech is one of the most fundamental rights necessary for the functioning of a democratic society. In recent weeks, this freedom that we have...
The Poor Clares: Reflections on the Year for Consecrated Life: Self-emptying love: The gift of povertyHoly Mother Church calls us this year to turn our gaze, our focus and our prayers towards one of her greatest treasures: the vocation to the consecrated life. In this state, a member of the faithful is closely united to Christ by living a radical...
Bishop Peter Jugis: We want your input about the state of the family todayDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, At the conclusion of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, celebrated in 2014 to treat the topic, "The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization," Pope...
Batrice Adcock: Purity means exercising self-control, out of loveWhy is it that so many reject certain Church teachings, especially those related to sexuality? Perhaps we have not understood Christ's words to the Apostles, "He who hears you, hears me." (Lk 10:16). When we accept Church teaching, handed down...
Mercy Sister Jeanne-Margaret McNally: Divorce, remarriage and the Synod of the FamilyCatholics who have been divorced and have not remarried are in full communion with the Church. There has been some misunderstandings about this and perhaps, at times, incorrect teachings, but it needs to be stressed that divorced Catholics who...
Father John Catoir: Nonviolence is the ultimate path to peaceDr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a great American hero. He practiced the noble art of nonviolent opposition to injustice in the same way that Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela practiced. He led peaceful demonstrations against those in authority...
Tom Sheridan: Race, bias and fear of 'the other'It was funny. Sort of. Two decades after Civil Rights marches rocked the South, my wife and I would drive with our children to visit grandparents in Florida. Stopping for lunch in small Southern towns meant experiencing odd looks. Our children...
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
Many do not know about St. Gianna Beretta MolloOn July 20, 2014, Archbishop Charles Chaput announced that Pope St. John Paul II and St. Gianna Beretta Mollo have been chosen as the patron saints of the World Meeting of Families which will...
Home School Fine Arts Festival had outstanding quality, jubilant spiritIt was a pleasure to read the Sept. 12 article about the success of the Home School Fine Arts Festival. My husband and I attended the closing theatrical performance as guests, unaffiliated in...
Thank you for commentary on recent Latino CatholicsRico De Silva's recent commentary entitled "Growing number of Latino Catholics in the U.S. flying below the Church's radar" was so spot on that it had me immediately thanking God, this column,...
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Roger Arnsparger at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Jason Christian at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. Matthew Kauth at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Christopher Riehl's archive from St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe. Listen to homily podcasts.
- Fr. Joshua Voitus at St. Mary, Mother of God Parish in Sylva, including homilies in Spanish
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Gospel reflection videos from St. Matthew Church
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen and watch homilies from St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy