Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Jul 13, 2022

We have begun the first year of a three-year Eucharistic Revival announced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  This first year of this revival began on the Feast of Corpus Christi which we celebrated on June 19.  Here at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish we had a procession with the Blessed Sacrament beginning in the church and going to the center of town and back to the church.  It was an exceptionally beautiful day and a very prayerful procession.

One might ask why the bishops have proclaimed this three-year revival centering on the Eucharist, The Real Presence of Christ?  There have been several polls taken recently that seem to indicate that there are a number of Catholics, who attend Mass regularly, and do not believe that what they receive in Holy Communion is really the Body and Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.  There are many who think it is just a symbol of Jesus’ Body and Blood.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  At the Last Supper Jesus did not say to the apostles that He was giving them a “symbol” of His Body and Blood, He said, “Take and eat, this is My Body… take and drink, this is my Blood.”  This is what the Church has believed and taught since the very beginning of the Church.

The Eucharist, the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, is the heart of our Catholic Faith.  The Second Vatican Council teaches us that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic Faith.  Everything flows from it and everything flows to it.  Without the Eucharist there is no Church and without the Church there is no Eucharist.  In the Eucharist, Jesus gives us the gift of Himself and He suffered, died, and rose from the dead to do it.  He gives Himself to us to show us how much He loves us and that He wants to be with us always.  He wants to enter into our lives and hopefully we want to enter into His life too.  Every time we receive our Lord in the Eucharist He renews His Life in us.  Then we are sent into the world to show our brothers and sisters in Christ that they are loved by Jesus by showing them His love in our words and actions.  You cannot accomplish this with a “symbol” it must be the real Jesus in every way.

Our reverence for the Blessed Sacrament is shown by our posture in church, our gestures of reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament, our attentiveness and prayerfulness at Mass, as well as before and after when we are in His presence in the church.  The more reverence we show the Blessed Sacrament while in church, the more we can show that same reverence for Him in the way we treat one another, especially the poor and the needy, as well as those we do not always have a good relationship with.  It is a daily challenge that we can only meet by going to Mass every Sunday or more often, if possible, and by our daily prayers.

Please take time to reflect on how you reverence the Blessed Sacrament when you come to church in your appearance, your gestures, and your preparation.  Teach your children and grandchildren by sharing how important this is in their relationship with Jesus.  We can do this lovingly and gently as we share our love for them and our love for Jesus.  I plan to be writing a lot on the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament during this Eucharistic Revival.  Please take the time to read, reflect, and share this with others.

We had a very wonderful Vacation Bible School on July 5, 6, and 7.  We had many of our children come to learn more about their Catholic Faith and get to know Jesus a little bit better so they can share His love with others.  I am very grateful to Abby Cook for her leadership in our VBS this year as well as the many volunteers that helped to make it all possible.  I am especially grateful to all our teen volunteers for coming out to share the love of Jesus with the younger children. God bless all who made VBS possible.

This past weekend we had some thirty plus young people and volunteers go to Franciscan University in Steubenville for a Youth Conference.  This was an opportunity for them to come together with other young people to pray and come to know Jesus in a deeper way.  Thank you to Fr. Pat and our Youth Minister, Claire, as well as the other youth leaders who accompanied them.  May the love of Jesus grow stronger in their hearts and lives.

Fr. Joe Labak