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Eucharistic Lent Series

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Area Catholics interested in developing a deeper understanding of the Eucharist will have a unique opportunity to do so this Lent, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter in Chains in downtown Cincinnati.

A guest cleric will deliver a homily during a 7 p.m. vespers service every Friday of Lent (after the Stations of the Cross at 6 p.m.). This is the first year the basilica is doing a guest homily series. Because the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is promoting a National Eucharistic Revival, Basilica Rector Father Jan Schmidt chose the Eucharist as the homilies’ focus.

“The homilies will focus on the Eucharist in the context of what the Lenten readings provide in the background,” Father Schmidt said. “My hope is that this will continue into the future, although each year will be a different focus.”

The first vespers homily is on Feb 24 and titled, “What does the New Testament say about the Eucharist?” It will be given by Father Kevin Scalf, chaplain and faculty member at McNicholas High School. Bishop Earl K. Fernandes of the Diocese of Columbus returns to Cincinnati for the March 24 vespers with a homily titled, “Towards a Eucharistic Culture: Characteristics of Evangelizing and Eucharistic Communities.”

The other homilists are Father Chris Geiger, Father Ryan Ruiz, Father Dan Hess and Father Ethan Moore. Fathers Geiger, Ruiz and Hess are on Mount St. Mary’s Seminary & School of Theology faculty, and Father Moore is pastor of the three-parish Uptown Catholic region near the University of Cincinnati.

“They are experts in preaching. I’m excited because they are all young, energetic, attractive to the people, and interesting and thought-provoking to listen to,” Father Schmidt said. “We wanted folks who would be able to focus us on [the Eucharist]. They’re theologians with training in specific areas; sacramental theologians, systematic theologians; folks that know Who the Eucharist is and can help us to better understand Christ’s presence in it.”

The archdiocesan cathedral became a basilica in 2020, due in part to its significance to the diocese and the worthiness of the art within it. Father Schmidt believes the homilies’ content is reason enough to plan a Lenten visit to the basilica, but he offered a special invite to those who have not visited before.

“This is the mother church of the archdiocese,” Father Schmidt said. “All are welcome. We hope those who are parishioners of the archdiocese would come visit and see [its] beauty[, …] grandeur and peacefulness at some point in their lives. [The Lenten homilies offer] a really great opportunity to do that.”

This article appeared in the February 2023 edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.

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