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Visit a Model of the Eucharistic Revival

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by Matt Hess

The Church in the U.S. is experiencing a national Eucharistic revival—a time to reflect more deeply on who we encounter and receive at Mass. While it’s a national movement, it starts in our local parishes, through prayer and education. The visit of a relic of Blessed Carlo Acutis is one opportunity coming to St. Joseph Church in Wapakoneta, of the Petersburg Family of Parishes in the northern part of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Father Sean Wilson, Pastor of the Petersburg Parishes, said, “Blessed Carlo Acutis is a Millennial who shows us that the Eucharist is still vital for our lives. From him we learn to marvel at the Eucharist.”

Born in 1991, Carlo had a special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. As an amateur computer programmer, he used modern technology and his website to compile descriptions of Eucharistic Miracles and spread the word about Jesus present in the Eucharist. These intimate encounters with the Body and Blood of our Lord help readers better understand Eucharistic reception at Mass. Carlo accomplished this before the age of 15, when he died of leukemia.

He is an inspiration for the Eucharistic revival in our own country. As a young lay person on fire with his faith—he is not someone we usually expect. He started small, with his family. Through his enthusiasm for the Blessed Sacrament, he encouraged them to attend Mass and pray before the Tabernacle. His hobby, creating a Eucharistic Miracles website, began as a way to connect two of his passions and went on to reach more people than Carlo could have imagined. His accomplishment illustrates how one person on fire with a Eucharistic faith can inspire not just his or her church, but the whole Church.

Father Wilson hopes “Catholics around the area come to venerate the relic, learn about Eucharistic Miracles, and grow in love of Jesus in the Eucharist.”

The Petersburg Parishes are planning several events to ignite hearts over the week that Blessed Carlo’s relic, a piece of his heart muscle, will be enshrined in St. Joseph Church. It will be welcomed on Monday, Jan. 30, after which the church will remain open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily for people to come and pray with the relic. Mass will be celebrated most evenings at 6 p.m. Young adults are invited to a Holy Hour at St. Joseph on Friday, Feb. 3, beginning at 7:30 p.m. The Petersburg Parishes invite school and parish groups to make a pilgrimage in the mornings and early afternoons throughout the week of Jan. 30.

Three talks are planned, each presented at both 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Matt Hess, director of ministry at the Maria Stein Shrine, will talk on Monday about the importance of Holy Relics and give a sketch of Blessed Carlo’s Life. On Tuesday, Father Michael Willig, parochial vicar of the Petersburg Parishes, will present on the Eucharist. Sister Ignatia, a Sister of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, will speak on Thursday about the importance of Eucharistic Adoration. Relic veneration and confession will be available in the church after each talk.

A Eucharistic Miracles display features moments when the Eucharist lost the appearance of bread to reveal flesh. It will be hosted at the Parish Life Center next to St. Joseph Church throughout the week. It chronicles these miracles throughout history and the globe. The display of miracles that fostered Blessed Carlo’s devotion to our Lord in the Eucharist, will again be presented after Mass on Sunday, Feb. 5 (coffee and donuts will be served).

The Petersburg Parishes are excited to offer this unique opportunity to local Catholics. Be sure you make it to some part of the celebration! Check out their website, petersburgparishes.org, for more information and a detailed schedule of events. We pray this local event might, through the intercession of Blessed Carlo, bear fruit with the national Eucharistic revival we are experiencing.

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

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