“I think my heart is going to explode,” said Montse Alvarado, describing the way she expects to feel when she gathers with tens of thousands of Catholics to adore the Eucharist at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium in July. “It feels like so much beauty at a moment when our country and our world is in the midst of war and so much pain, just to see this be our church’s response — wow, what a witness.”

The United States’ first event of its kind in more than half a century, the National Eucharistic Congress is expected to draw more than 40,000 Catholics July 17-21 for five days of prayer, speakers, liturgies and worship, all centered on Jesus in the Eucharist….

The congress begins Wednesday night in Lucas Oil Stadium with the first of the four evening revival sessions, with Eucharistic adoration, speakers and worship music. The event opens with a major procession with the 30 young adult “perpetual pilgrims” from all four routes of the eight-week National Eucharistic Pilgrimage. The pilgrims set out with the Eucharist on Pentecost weekend from points in California, Connecticut, Minnesota and Texas to meet in Indianapolis for the congress, covering a combined 6,500 miles — many of them on foot — as they encountered Catholics at parishes and other sacred and secular sites for Mass and other worship experiences, Eucharistic processions and fellowship.

The congress’s opening procession will culminate in Bishop Andrew Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota, entering the stadium with the Eucharist in a “massive” monstrance designed for the congress, leading to a time of silent adoration. Then participants will hear from Bishop Cozzens and the evening’s other keynote speakers, Cardinal Christophe Pierre, the Holy See’s apostolic nuncio to the United States; and Sister Bethany Madonna, a Sister of Life in Phoenix.

As with each congress evening’s revival session, Alvarado will be emceeing along with Sister Miriam James Heidland, a sister of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity and co-host of the Abiding Together podcast; and Father Josh Johnson, a priest of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and host of the Ask Father Josh podcast. Worship will be led by Dallas’ Dave and Lauren Moore, the founders of Catholic Music Initiative.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday have similar schedules. The days begin with Relevant Radio’s Family Rosary Across America with Father Rocky Hoffman, followed by Mass, with English, Spanish and youth options, celebrated by key American prelates such as Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston and Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington.

Following Mass, attendees are encouraged to remain in the stadium or head to the adjacent Indiana Convention Center for one of seven “impact session” tracks being held in both locations. With names like Encounter, Renewal and Empower, each track is tailored for particular audiences — including ministry leaders, families, youth and priests — and features well-known Catholic leaders, experts and speakers.

Following lunch, afternoon breakout sessions on Thursday, Friday and Saturday dive into a range of topics, from apologetics to social action, with more than 40 speakers over three days.

Varied styles of liturgies will be offered Thursday and Friday afternoons, with options including Masses in English and Vietnamese (Friday only), as well as Byzantine Divine Liturgy and Mass according to the 1962 Missal (widely known as the “traditional Latin Mass”) offered at nearby parishes.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons include a range of additional exhibits and experiences: the National Shroud of Turin Exhibit, which features a replica of the famous burial shroud believed to have covered Jesus in the tomb; the Eucharistic Miracles Exhibit, originally created by soon-to-be St. Carlo Acutis (one of the Eucharistic revival’s patrons); a chapel with relics from Blessed Carlo and other saints associated with the revival; Catechesis of the Good Shepherd atriums, which offer Montessori-style faith formation for children up to age 12; and the CatholicHOM Immersive Family Experience, which will include an interactive puppet show.

On Thursday, “Bernadette de Lourdes, the Musical” — a theatrical performance about the Marian visionary of Lourdes, France — will be staged at Lucas Oil Stadium at 6:30 p.m.

Thursday and Friday will include an opportunity to pack meals for the hungry with Indianapolis-based Million Meal Movement. The Denver-based Christ in the City will also train small groups of people to encounter chronically homeless men and women in Indianapolis.

A key congress highlight is Saturday’s 3-5 p.m. Eucharistic procession through downtown Indianapolis, which is expected to make a visual and spiritual impact on the city….

From Our Sunday Visitor