In the late 90s, a plea by the Cincinnati faithful to bring adoration, i.e., Eucharistic Exposition, to their parish was usually met by a rebuke from the archdiocesan Worship office that Catholics shouldn’t “gaze” at the host. Now, Archbishop Schnurr is answering Pope Benedict’s and Pope Francis’s call to mark the forthcoming Feast of Corpus Christi (June 2) with “holy hours” and processions “through the streets” across the AOC to intensify our faith in the Eucharist. Pastors are provided with a suggested homily to preach on the Eucharist and with catechetical materials to distribute. On a disappointing note, the catechetical materials are rather blasé, and the suggested homily by Joyce Ann Zimmerman, C.PP.S., is heavy on social action and light on the Real Presence. Yet it does speak of adoration favorably, which, again, would have been … unlikely not so long ago. For that we can be grateful. Here’s a snippet from the homily:

The Blessed Sacrament has been reserved beyond the celebration of the Eucharist from the earliest times. The primary purpose for this reservation is to have the Bread from Heaven available for the sick and those who are dying. Jesus is ever the compassionate One. In our gravest need, he is there to strengthen and nourish us. A second purpose for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament is to have an extended time for adoration outside of Mass. Here we can take as much time as we want adoring the risen Christ present to us in the reserved Blessed Sacrament. Here we can turn to the ever compassionate Jesus and pour out our heart’s needs, knowing that he hears us and responds in some way that enables us to grow in our faithfulness in following him. Let us take opportunities to spend time before the Blessed Sacrament in awe, wonder, and gratitude for the risen Jesus’ continual Self-giving. So, we continue our adoration.

Pastors seeking better materials geared toward strengthening faith in the Eucharist and the Real Presence would be wise to consult the USCCB website, especially its “The Real Presence Of Jesus Christ In The Sacrament Of The Eucharist: Basic Questions And Answers.” It is also serialized into six sections that could be printed and distributed as bulletin inserts. Here are links to all six: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

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