There’s never been a better time to be a Catholic in America

As we prepare for the 10th National Eucharistic Congress, I am filled with hope. This gathering is not merely an event but a pilgrimage of faith, drawing Catholics from every corner of our country to celebrate the source and summit of our lives: the Eucharist. Organizers anticipate more than 50,000 will participate in the event in Indianapolis held July 17-21.

I love that we’re gathering in Indianapolis, in the heartland. (Full disclosure, as a Hoosier, this is a special point of pride.) The Eucharist is the heart of our Catholic faith. I hope people don’t miss that!

I’ll be participating in the liturgies, serving alongside many priests who have been laboring for months to organize the beautiful ceremonies to help pilgrims pray. I’ll also be recording a live episode of “Godsplaining,” a podcast I co-host with my Dominican brothers. We’ll be inviting Katie McGrady to join us for that special episode. I’m also looking forward to the extraordinary Eucharistic procession, which I expect will be a massive sign to our nation about our belief in the Real Presence and our love for the Church.

As the National Eucharistic Revival has proceeded, I’ve been moved by its early results. I’ve met people who have converted to Catholicism because they read about the revival on X, formerly known as Twitter. I’ve walked alongside pilgrims participating in the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage who wanted nothing more than to thank God for his goodness. I’ve seen church parking lots busy overnight, with parishioners coming and going from Eucharistic adoration. I’ve walked the streets with outreach ministries endeavoring to offer new signs of God’s love, especially for those experiencing homelessness.

A call for heroic work

Just this week, I read a new study of religion produced by the Washington Post. The study surveyed religious practice based on anonymous cellphone data. The Post’s article about the study begins, “When you map the primary religion in every county in America, the Catholics stand out.” We show up everywhere, which is not much of a surprise, since we’re America’s largest single religious group.

That reality comes with a heavy call. God has entrusted us with the special and sacred duty of evangelizing our country.

You may be surprised to learn that President Gerald R. Ford addressed the attendees of the 41st International Eucharistic Congress held in Philadelphia in 1976. He told participants, “For millions of men and women, the Church has been the hospital for the soul, the schoolroom for the mind and the safe depository for moral ideals.” Those words ring even truer now than then.

President Ford also said, “We are rightly concerned today about the rising tide of secularism across the world.” That rising tide remains both a challenge and a summons.

Going on mission

From Indianapolis, participants will be sent on a mission: to share the joy of our faith and bring the healing light of the Gospel to a dark world, wounded and weary from sin. The exciting thing is that the further our world moves from religious faith, the more brilliant and salutary the light of the Gospel shines. Who would dare claim that the truth can be known and loved today? Only the Church! Who would claim something more radical still: the truth is a person who knows and loves us?! Only the Church!

There’s never been a better time to be a Catholic in America. This is the age of discipleship. This is the age of evangelization. This is the age of mission.

Next week, readers of Our Sunday Visitor will receive a special double issue. That special issue is designed to help you share in the graces of the National Eucharistic Congress. I pray that the graces of the congress will help transform your own prayer and renew your love for the Church and the Church’s greatest treasure: the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith!

This post There’s never been a better time to be a Catholic in America appeared on Our Sunday Visitor.

Your custom text © Copyright 2024. All rights reserved.