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Allentown bishop proclaims Year of the Real Presence

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CNA Staff, Apr 19, 2021 / 18:25 pm America/Denver (CNA).

The bishop of Allentown, Pennsylvania has proclaimed a jubilee year to promote a greater dedication to the Holy Eucharist.

Bishop Alfred Schlert of Allentown declared a “Year of the Real Presence,” which began on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 11, and will end on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, June 19, 2022.

The jubilee also aligns with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the diocese, which occurred on January 28.

During the jubilee year, Catholics in the diocese can obtain a partial indulgence by taking part in any of the jubilee events, especially the opening Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday and the closing Eucharistic Procession and Benediction.

An indulgence is the remission of the temporal punishment due to sins which have already been forgiven. It may be applied to oneself or to a soul in Purgatory.

Schlert’s decree clarified that those who are sick, elderly, or unable to leave their homes may still obtain the indulgence if they spiritually unite themselves to the event taking place and offer their prayers and sufferings to God.

A 2019 Pew Research study found that just 31% of U.S. Catholics believe that the bread and wine used in the Eucharist, through a process called transubstantiation, become the Body and Blood of Jesus— a fundamental teaching central to the Catholic faith, known as the Real Presence.

The survey’s release prompted calls for better catechesis and formation for Catholics in the country.

Bishop Schlert said it is his obligation as a bishop to foster greater devotion to the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and provide spiritual sustenance to help the faithful maintain their Christian vocations so “that they may know more fully, and live out the Paschal Mystery of Christ, by leading lives of holiness, promoting the growth of the Church, and contributing to the sanctification of the world.”

He challenged all Catholics in the diocese to reflect on the Last Supper, when Christ instituted the Eucharist. He said the bread and wine, which become the Body and Blood of Christ, are a promise of God’s love for his people.

“Because this Mystery of Faith was mandated by Christ to be carried out by the Apostles and their successors until He returns, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of the Cross perpetuated down throughout the ages,” he said.

“When a Priest, acting in the person of Christ, the Head, offers this Sacred Oblation, all of the faithful are invited to proceed to the Sacred Banquet, in which Christ is truly received. Having been illuminated by Sacred Scripture, the Churches led to the Altar of Sacrifice, where the Bread of Angels, the Bread of Heaven, the Most Precious Blood, and the Medicine of Immortality is adored and received, as our minds are filled with grace, and we are given a pledge of future glory.”

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