A 2019 study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that only 31 percent of Catholics believe in the real presence.
In response, the U.S. Church is launching an intentional effort this month to revive devotion to the Eucharist. Beginning on June 19, Corpus Christi Sunday, a three-year campaign begins, culminating with a National Eucharistic Congress in 2024, the first of its kind in nearly 50 years.
The Eucharistic revival initiative will include the development of new teaching materials, training for diocesan and parish leaders, the launch of a dedicated revival website and the deployment of a special team of 50 priests who will travel the country to preach about the Eucharist.
Many catechists who work with First Communicants believe that they are successful in introducing the idea of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, reflected in the reverence that the children show when they receive their First Holy Communion. But unless those lessons are reinforced through regular participation in Mass, continuing faith formation classes, and in the sharing of faith in the family home, skepticism about the Eucharist can begin to creep in as they move into teenage years and early adulthood. In a typical class of 20 middle school aged students, only about two or three attend Mass regularly, said catechist Diana Perez, so for the rest the idea of the real presence “is mind boggling for them.”
Blessed Carlo Acutis, the Italian young adult who used his computer skills to share online content about Eucharistic miracles, will be the patron of the national eucharist revival’s first year. Perez has used some of Acutis’ videos to teach her older students about the Eucharistic miracles. Soto said that while many of her students were unfamiliar with the Eucharistic miracles, they have become a persuasive tool for her in teaching the real presence. “They need more exposure to the mysticism of our faith,” she said.
Many local catechists agree that the early lessons about the Eucharist are not enough to sustain belief and connection for a lifetime.
“I actually didn’t know the teachings of the Church when I was young, it was me having to do that journey alone as an adult woman,” said Crystal Ramos, a catechist at Holy Family parish in Hesperia. “So, I tell my students, ‘Please keep coming to classes here at the parish so you don’t forget the importance of what is actually happening at Mass.’ ”
Added Perez, “I came back to Christ when I was about 25. I had a retreat experience that helped me to make a relationship with Him.” Soon after, she heard the call to become a catechist.
“I want others to know what I have found.”
Full story at Inland Catholic Byte.