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Pope Francis’ ambassador conveys Holy Father’s enthusiasm for Eucharistic revival

June 14, 2024 Catholic News Agency 0
Cardinal Christophe Pierre, the Vatican’s nuncio to the United States, speaks to the U.S. bishops at their annual fall assembly in Baltimore on Nov. 14, 2023. / Credit: Screenshot of USCCB livestream

Louisville, Ky., Jun 14, 2024 / 12:30 pm (CNA).

Pope Francis’ ambassador to the United States conveyed the Holy Father’s support for the National Eucharistic Revival in a speech Thursday at the spring gathering of the U.S. bishops held in Louisville, Kentucky.

Cardinal Christophe Pierre, who has served as the apostolic nuncio to the United States since 2016 in addition to being the Vatican’s top diplomat in Washington, D.C., is tasked with representing the pope in his dealings with the U.S. bishops. 

“Pope Francis is united with us in his desire that people rediscover the power of the Eucharist,” Pierre said.

The National Eucharistic Revival, which launched on the feast of Corpus Christi in 2022, has a mission to “renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the holy Eucharist,” as stated on its website. Sponsored by the U.S. Catholic bishops, the revival aims to inspire people to encounter Jesus in the Eucharist. 

In his speech, Pierre said that Pope Francis has embraced this goal as a means to conversion of heart, a commitment to evangelization, service, and community.

“We have set out on this Eucharistic Revival because we want our people to come to a renewed and deeper appreciation of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist,” he said.

“We want them to know that Christ is there for them in the Eucharist: to receive their adoration, to accompany them in their earthly journey, and to feed them with the Bread of Life,” Pierre told the assembled bishops.

“We want them also to know the implications of encountering Christ in this way: how it calls them to an ongoing journey of conversion, and also how it commits them to a life of evangelization — of being people who offer an openhearted welcome of mercy to everyone who seeks a place in God’s Church,” Pierre said.

Synodality of Eucharistic pilgrimages

The apostolic nuncio also conveyed the Vatican’s support for the National Eucharistic Pilgrimages underway across the country, connecting them to the theme of synodality. 

“The Eucharistic processions that are going on right now, and which will converge on Indianapolis next month, are an outward symbol of what we want to happen on a spiritual level. We want people to turn to the Eucharistic Lord, to walk with him, and to be led by him. We also want this to happen in the context of community,” Pierre told the bishops.

“Our people need to experience that a journey with the Lord is also a journey with others who seek the Lord. That this journey is a true synod,” he said.

Bishops as wounded healers

He also called on the bishops to seek the fruits of a Eucharistic revival in their own lives.

“Let us not forget: We need Eucharistic revival too! Let’s be attentive in our own hearts to what the Lord is saying and doing among us,” he said. 

“The lesson is: The Eucharistic encounter with the risen Lord affords a new personal and ecclesial experience, one in which the wounds suffered in the body of Christ become signs of his victory over death,” he said.

He then suggested that the “woundedness” of the Church can similarly be a pathway forward to healing and listed those wounds.

“We are painfully aware of the most glaring wounds in today’s Church. The scandal of abuse and of failed oversight. The plague of indifference toward the poor and suffering, which can affect us all. Skepticism toward God and religion in a secularized culture. And an agitating temptation toward polarization and division, even among those of us who are committed to Christ and his Church,” he said.

“We find the answer in Christ. By showing the apostles his hands, feet, and side, the Lord is saying to them, and to us: ‘I choose to make your sin and failure a part of the story of my victory. If the marks of my crucifixion can exist on my resurrected body, then the marks of your own suffering and failures can exist in the body of my resurrected Church,” Pierre said.


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Archbishop Broglio reminds bishops about Church teaching on transgenderism

June 14, 2024 Catholic News Agency 1
USCCB President Archbishop Timothy Broglio speaks at the bishops’ spring meeting, Thursday, June 13, 2024 / USCCB

Louisville, Ky., Jun 14, 2024 / 08:00 am (CNA).

The president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, in a speech to his fellow bishops gathered in Louisville, Kentucky for their spring meeting, discoursed on the subject of the incompatibility of “sex change” with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

In his speech to kick off the meeting, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, who serves as Archbishop for the Military Services and is president of Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), reflected on the war in the Holy Land, the migrant crisis, the National Eucharistic Congress, and the persecution of the Church in Nicaragua, among other issues. 

The largest portion of his address, however, was devoted to a catechesis on the subject of the dignity of the body, with the prelate citing Pope Francis’ recent declaration on gender ideology, and referring specifically to the issue of “sex change.”

Broglio’s remarks come less than a month after news broke that a woman identifying as a man had attended seminary and was living a religious vocation as a male hermit in Kentucky, with the apparent approval of Bishop John Stowe, who leads the Diocese of Lexington.

In his speech to the bishops, Broglio quoted heavily from Pope Francis and his recent document on gender theory.

“We are grateful for the recent declaration Dignitas Infinita from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. There we read a clear message about many issues that plague our times. In particular, ‘Regarding gender theory, whose scientific coherence is the subject of considerable debate among experts, the Church recalls that human life in all its dimensions, both physical and spiritual, is a gift from God,’” he said.

“‘This gift is to be accepted with gratitude and placed at the service of the good. Desiring a personal self-determination, as gender theory prescribes, apart from this fundamental truth that human life is a gift, amounts to a concession to the age-old temptation to make oneself God, entering into competition with the true God of love revealed to us in the Gospel,’” Broglio quoted from the Vatican document.

Broglio also cited the the “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” saying it “expressly invites us to recognize that ‘the human body shares in the dignity of ‘the image of God.’”

“Such a truth deserves to be remembered, especially when it comes to sex change, for humans are inseparably composed of both body and soul,” Broglio said.

He concluded his discourse quoting from Pope Francis again on the dignity of the human body.

“Teaching about the need to respect the natural order of the human person, Pope Francis affirmed that ‘creation is prior to us and must be received as a gift. At the same time, we are called to protect our humanity, and this means, in the first place, accepting it and respecting it as it was created…”

At a press conference at the conclusion of the first day of the meeting, Broglio fielded a question about his speech. 

Asked whether the closed door sessions during the bishops’ meeting had included any discussions of the transgender hermit in the Diocese of Lexington and possible implications for action by the conference, Broglio said the subject had come up at the “committee levels.”

“There certainly hasn’t been any discussion in the general assembly of the bishops. There is concern that has been expressed at some of the committee levels because of the nature of what hermetic life is in the Church and also the preparation necessary for that,” Broglio said.

“And also it’s just the general honesty that should be a part of that whole process of determining a vocation and responding to that vocation. At this point, that’s basically where the discussion is,” he said.