PMD revives love for Eucharist
By Laurie Hallstrom
“Creation was perfect, but there was rebellion and that broke up the perfect order,” said Bishop Peter Muhich. “People have broken relationships, addiction rates are skyrocketing, and suicide rates are rising. Our culture is not well, but society does a really good job of telling people things are okay.”
The bishop continued, “As Catholics we have a rich history in the church. The sacraments are a way to encounter Christ and we prepare people carefully to receive them. One of the things we have found out about Mercy Nights and adoration is that they are very accessible. There is no barrier, the Lord is present in the monstrance, we have worship and praise music, we have candles burning, and we have a simple calming down. People may not understand it, but they will feel it.”
He delivered the opening address at Pastoral Ministry Days 2023. It was themed “Encounter — Turn to Jesus, Open Your Heart to Him, Experience the Peace He Can Bring.” It was held March 5-6 at Terra Sancta Retreat Center, Rapid City. It was attended by 215 people from across the diocese. In addition to the addresses, there were opportunities for Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, confession, prayer, and a Mercy Night.
The keynote speaker, Fr. Luke Spannagel, is a priest of the Diocese of Peoria, Ill., and a National Eucharistic Speaker. The event was a part of the three-year mission by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to “renew the church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the holy Eucharist.”
Joel Johnson, Sacred Heart Parish, Burke, said, “The Encounter revitalized a lot of things I hadn’t thought about for quite a while.” G.W. Ekroth, St. Joseph Parish, Gregory, said, “It revitalized my love for the Eucharist. There were a lot of gold nuggets.”
In his first address, Father Spannagel spoke on Bl. Carlo Acutis, a teenager who died of leukemia in 2006. Blessed Carlo put together a Eucharistic Miracles Display based on events that had happened in southern Europe. Panels from his display and relics from Bl. Carlo and St. Manuel Gonzalez Garcia toured the Diocese of Rapid City last fall. For more information on the Eucharistic Miracles Display in your parish contact Shawna Hanson, Eucharistic Revival Point Person in the diocese, by email, email@example.com.
In the afternoon, Father Spannagel spoke on the Eucharist and healing souls. He gave an example of a psychologist who put people in a room where Jesus was present. “Even though they weren’t told Jesus was present they felt better,” he said. In adoration he advocated silence. “When we are quiet enough Jesus starts talking to us,” he said.
“Mass is the perfect prayer,” he said. “How can we reach out to the people who are no longer there? Check on them, ask, ‘How are you? Come back.’”
He urged us to support our bishops’ vision of the Eucharistic revival. “We live in a broken world, certainly a world that needs Christ or the peace that he can bring. One of the great gifts of holy Communion is communion with Christ,” said Father Spannagel.
To listen to the audio version of PMD sessions go to www.rapidcitydiocese.org/revival/.