Eucharistic Devotional Project begins in schools

Each year, one of the annual initiatives of the Diocese of Venice Department of Education is the development of the devotional lives of our students through a Diocesan-wide devotional project.

The 2022-2023 devotional project is “The Most Holy Eucharist: The Riches of His Glorious Inheritance.” Father John Belmonte, SJ, Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Education, said the theme was approved and encouraged by Bishop Frank J. Dewane as it supports the ongoing National Eucharistic Revival, led by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress and Youth Rally on March 24-25, 2023. The devotional project during the 2021-2022 academic year was the Saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Saints, and during the 2020-2021 academic year it was St. Joseph.

To get the devotional project off the ground, a training session took place Nov. 4, 2022, at St. Martha Catholic School in Sarasota. The training included two eighth graders (a boy and girl) from each school who will act as Junior Catechists for this project. Just as they did in previous years, these student leaders will catechize their classmates with a classroom lesson and go classroom to classroom, teaching about our Catholic devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist.

“At our training day, we highlighted the importance of leadership in the faith, evangelization and discipleship,” Father Belmonte said. “We met for Benediction and Adoration, a training session with the students led by our Diocesan Curriculum Director, Jennifer Falestiny. I led the parents who brought their children to the meeting in a presentation on devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist.”

Father Belmonte started the training session for the Junior Catechists with the words of St. John Vianney, “There is nothing so great as the Eucharist. If God had something more precious, He would have given it to us.”

“The 15-week project is intended to bring to our students a deeper awareness and more ardent love of our Lord’s Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist,” Father Belmonte said.

The junior catechists were trained and received a Catholic Altar kit complete with miniature chalice, paten, cruets, ciborium, as well as all the elements for learning about the Mass. These eighth-grade leaders will visit classrooms at their schools to teach their classmates about the Most Holy Eucharist. They will teach on how to visit the Blessed Sacrament, encourage their classmates to learn about Eucharistic miracles and track their visits to the Blessed Sacrament.

High school students will be learning about the 15 Eucharistic miracles during their theology classes.

As part of the devotional project, Bishop Dewane gave each school a Lego Mass set, pocket prayer cards and informational cards relating to visiting the Blessed Sacrament.

“Our efforts are part of the National Eucharistic Revival initiated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to rejuvenate belief in the Real Presence among U.S. Catholics,” Bishop Dewane said.

The Catechism teaches us that the Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324). It is the sanctifying grace which is the point of everything in our Catholic religion. “By learning about the Most Holy Eucharist and teaching how to visit our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, our junior Catechists will help their classmates to participate in the very life of God. St. John Vianney would be very pleased indeed,” Father Belmonte said.

In addition to the student-led classroom lessons, there will be weekly teacher-led classroom activities.

Outside of Mass times, students are encouraged to visit Our Lord in the Tabernacle. With each visit during the 15 weeks, students are asked to say the Devotional Prayer to the Most Holy Eucharist which was provided in a pocket-sized card.

In addition to the classroom aspects, this devotional project has several other components.

There is also a Digital Blessed Sacrament Visit Tracker, a website where teachers can help students keep count of each visit to Our Lord (at Mass, during Adoration, in the school or Parish Chapel) from Nov. 15, 2022, to April 10, 2023. The school with the most visits will be recognized at the end of the devotional project.

Each school also received a Catholic Altar Learning Set for a differentiated STREAM project. In December, the schools will learn about CAD/CAM 3D modeling challenge for students.

Finally, there is an art competition. As in previous years, students will be encouraged to produce art work based on our Catholic artistic tradition around the Most Holy Eucharist.

“With Bishop Dewane, it is my hope that our emphasis on devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist and the study of these various Eucharistic miracles will bring us closer to Our Lord as we visit Him truly present in the Blessed Sacrament,” Father Belmonte said. “May He inspire all of us to emulate the love He has for us to others in our schools and in the world.”

For more information about this Diocesan devotional project, please visit www.dovblessedsacrament.com.

Adoration: Spending time with the Lord

Pope Francis often encourages the faithful to spend more time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Speaking before the 2021 International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, Hungary, the Holy Father said “Let us allow our encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist to transform us, just as it transformed the great and courageous saints you venerate. Let’s make time for adoration… The Eucharist is here to remind us who God is. It does not do so just in words, but in a concrete way, showing us God as bread broken, as love crucified and bestowed.”

For the faithful who attend the First Friday Eucharistic Adoration Holy Hour at St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples, these words are taken to heart in this devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The First Friday Eucharistic Adoration Holy Hour has a dedicated following of people who find beauty and peace during their time in the presence of the Lord.

“It’s absolutely wonderful,” said one devotee. “The power is sometimes overwhelming.”

The monthly Holy Hour includes music, intercessions and a procession, and there are several hundred people who attend with the numbers swelling up to 800 during the winter months.

The importance of a devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is the focus of a three-year National Eucharistic Revival in the United States which began on June 19, 2022, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). The Revival will culminate with a national gathering in Indianapolis in July 2024.

The Diocesan Year of the National Eucharistic Revival is from June 19, 2022, to June 11, 2023. During this year, there will be a series of events and retreats that encourage the renewal of the Church “by rekindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.”

A key part of this effort will be a two-day Diocesan Eucharistic Congress and Youth Rally, March 24-25, 2023, at the Conference Center and Luminary Hotel on the riverfront of downtown Fort Myers. The Youth Rally will take place on March 24 and the Eucharistic Congress on March 25. Details of the Eucharistic Congress and other events planned for this Diocesan Year can be found on the Diocese website www.dioceseofvenice.org. To learn more about the larger National Eucharistic Revival, please visit https://eucharisticrevival.org.

On Sept. 2, 2022, the Holy Hour at St. Peter the Apostle began as people gathered in silent prayer. Several dozen red votive candles were placed on stands on either side of the altar, while many candles were placed on the altar for those who had special prayer intentions for the Holy Hour. These candles sat as silent witness, adding a peaceful serenity to the occasion.

Father Wilian Montalvo Tello, IVE, Parochial Vicar at St. Peter the Apostle, lead the Holy Hour service, which included music and prayers in Spanish, Creole and English to accommodate the multicultural nature of the Parish community.

During the Holy Hour, several hymns were sung, and excerpts from Holy Scriptures were read in the three languages.

Then silence.

After the period of silence there were intercessions, which were prepared in advance and the congregation was encouraged to add to them by calling out.

This was followed by a Eucharistic Procession when Father Montalvo carried the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament among the people, as incense rose from the censer. The procession slowly wound its way down each aisle to allow everyone present to be closer to the Lord. As this took place, the Litany of Saints was sung.

The Benediction was given as the Blessed Sacrament was raised. This was followed by the prayer called the Divine Praises. Then everyone was asked to say in unison: “May the heart of Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be praised, adored, and loved with most grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time. Amen”

At the conclusion of the Holy Hour, Father Montalvo placed the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle and then the closing hymn of “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name” was sung and the service was concluded.

While not every Parish in the Diocese has a First Friday Holy Hour complete with music, adoration at Parishes is typically available on the First Friday or on another designated day each month. Meanwhile, many Parishes, such as Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, St. Raphael in Lehigh Acres, St. John the Evangelist in Naples, St. Charles Borromeo in Port Charlotte, St. Michael in Wauchula, and others, have Adoration Chapels where extended adoration is available. Check with your Parish, or nearby Parishes, for adoration hours. For Parish contact information please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org and click the “Find a Parish” link.

Diocesan phase of National Eucharistic Revival taking shape

A three-year revival of devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the National Eucharistic Revival, began with the Diocesan phase on June 19, 2022, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi).

Many Parishes hosted Corpus Christi Processions, public Eucharistic Processions along with Adoration, but this was just the beginning of an exciting time within the national Church and within the Diocese of Venice.

The National Eucharistic Revival is a focused effort by the U.S. Catholic Bishops to revive a devotion to and belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The U.S Bishops believe that God wants to see a movement of Catholics across the United States, healed, converted, formed, and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist—and sent out in mission “for the life of the world.”

During the Diocesan Year, there will be a series of events and retreats that encourage the renewal of the Church “by rekindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.” During this time, Eucharistic Missionaries will be trained and become equipped to share the love and the truth of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

The pinnacle of the coming year will be a Diocesan Eucharistic Congress on March 24 and March 25, 2023. This event, which is in the early planning stages, will take place at the Convention Center and Luminary Hotel on the Fort Myers riverfront.

The Eucharistic Congress will open on Friday evening with a rally for the youth of the Diocese and will include an outdoor concert and public Adoration. The following day, national speakers, presenting in both English and Spanish, will energize the crowd about the “Source and Summit” of our Faith. There will also be breakout sessions exclusively for women and men. All of this will be followed by a Eucharistic Procession through the streets of Fort Myers before Mass is celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane in an outdoor amphitheater.

The National Eucharistic Revival “is not a program but a movement” that is an invitation to the faithful from God to go on mission and be compelling witnesses of our faith, said Carrie Harkey, Director of the Diocesan Family Life Office and Interim Director of Evangelization.

“We are invited to be part of an exciting journey as the Eucharist stands at the center of our Faith,” Harkey said. “The timing of this is crucial in reminding the faithful about what the Second Vatican Council taught, that the Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life’ and is an opportunity to have an intimate encounter with Christ.”

The National Eucharistic Revival will culminate in the first National Eucharistic Congress in the United States in almost 50 years. More than 100,000 Catholics are expected to join together in Indianapolis in July of 2024 for a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to show their devotion to the “Source and Summit” of our Catholic Faith.

Stay tuned for more information about what is planned on the Diocesan level at www.dioceseofvenice.org. To learn more about the National Eucharistic Revival, please visit https://eucharisticrevival.org. There you will find a free online course from Bishop Andrew Cozzens, head of the Committee for Evangelization and Catechesis at the USCCB, “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church.”

National Eucharistic Revival to begin June 19

“The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ ‘The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.’” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324

The Bishops of the United States are calling for a three-year grassroots revival of devotion and belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The U.S Bishops believe that God wants to see a movement of Catholics across the United States, healed, converted, formed, and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist—and sent out in mission “for the life of the world.”

The National Eucharistic Revival will culminate in the first National Eucharistic Congress in the United States in almost 50 years. More than 100,000 Catholics are expected to join together in Indianapolis for a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage toward the “source and summit” of our Catholic Faith.

This three-year plan to revive the place of the Eucharist in the minds, hearts and lives of Catholics in the United States has its official start with the 2022 Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) on June 19. Parishes across the Diocese of Venice are planning Corpus Christi processions for June 19, in conjunction with similar celebrations around the country.

The Diocesan Year of the National Eucharistic Revival is from June 19, 2022, to June 11, 2023. During the Diocesan Year there will be a series of events and retreats that encourage the renewal of the Church “by rekindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.” During the Diocesan Year, Eucharistic Missionaries will be trained. These Missionaries are Catholics who through a deep encounter and experience with the Blessed Sacrament, become equipped to share the love and the truth of the Real Presence – Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. The Diocesan Year will culminate with a Eucharistic Congress held in the Spring of 2023.

The Parish Year will be from June 11, 2023, to July 17, 2024. During the Parish Year, Eucharistic Missionaries will encourage increased Eucharistic Adoration in their Parishes, family prayer, and small group prayer. Free resources will be made available to facilitate and encourage an increased devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in families and Parishes.

The U.S. Catholic Church’s three-year eucharistic revival “is not a program but a movement” that is an invitation to the faithful from God to go on mission and be compelling witnesses of our faith, said Carrie Harkey, Director of the Diocesan Family Life Office and Interim Director of Evangelization.

“The National Eucharistic Revival is part of an exciting journey as the Eucharist stands at the center of our Faith,” Harkey said. “The timing of this is crucial in reminding the faithful about what the Second Vatican Council taught, that the Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life’ and is an opportunity to have an intimate encounter with Christ.”

Taking its title from the Bread of Life discourse in John’s Gospel, “My flesh for the life of the world/Mi carne para la vida del mundo,” the Eucharistic Revival is not a step-by-step plan or a series of meetings; it is a grassroots call and a challenge for every Catholic across the United States to rekindle the fire of love and devotion for the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. Over three years, every Catholic Diocese, Parish, school, apostolate, and family is invited to be a part of renewing the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. The U.S. Bishops approved plans for the Revival and the Congress in November 2021 during their fall general assembly in Baltimore.

Stay tuned for more information about what is planned on the Diocesan level at www.dioceseofvenice.org. To learn more about the National Eucharistic Revival, please visit https://eucharisticrevival.org. There you will find a free online course from Bishop Andrew Cozzens, of the Diocese of Crookston and head of the Committee for Evangelization and Catechesis at the USCCB, “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church,” which can be utilized in parishes, small groups, or for individual study.

Prayer for the Revival

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You!

I beg pardon for those who do not believe, nor

adore, nor hope, nor love You. (Three times)

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I

adore You profoundly. I offer You the most

precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus

Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world

in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and

indifference by which He is offended. And,

through the infinite merits of the Sacred

Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

I beg of You the conversion of sinners.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Oración para el avivamiento

¡Dios mío, yo creo, adoro, espero y te amo!

¡Te pido perdón por los que no creen, no

adoran, no esperan, no te aman! (Tres veces)

Santísima Trinidad, Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo, yo

te adoro profundamente y te ofrezco el

Preciosísimo Cuerpo, Sangre, Alma y Divinidad de

nuestro Señor Jesucristo, presente en todos los

Sagrarios del mundo, en reparación de los ultrajes

con los que Él es ofendido. Por los méritos infinitos

del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús y del Inmaculado

Corazón de María, te pido la conversión de los

pecadores.

Nuestra Señora de Fátima,

ruega por nosotros.

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