By Edwin Aldarondo, Special to The Anchor
NEW BEDFORD — In the midst of all the darkness and anxiety we see and experience, it’s a true blessing for the Catholic Church in our nation to witness the Holy Spirit at work as the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops has launched a three-year National Eucharistic Revival to renew the Church by kindling a living relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ Truly Present in the Holy Eucharist.
According to the most recent United States Census, there are 331 million people living in the United States. Seventy million of the 331 million are registered as Catholics. That’s 21 percent of the total population.
A Pew Research Center survey conducted in February 2019 found that most self-described Catholics in the United States do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. In fact, nearly seven-in-ten Catholics (70 percent) say they personally believe that during the Holy Mass, the bread and wine used in Communion “are symbols of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.” Just one-third of U.S. Catholics (30 percent) believe in Jesus’ true presence in the Eucharist.
Transubstantiation — the idea that during Mass, the bread and wine become the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ — is central to the Catholic faith. Indeed, Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, according to the “Catechism,” is the “source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC, 1324).
Most recently the Fall River Diocese held its 2023 Women and Men’s Conference at Stonehill College in North Easton in which the theme was the Holy Eucharist. Many missions with focus on the Eucharist have taken place during Lent throughout the various parishes in our diocese.
Pastor of St. Anthony of Padua in New Bedford, Father Mariano Varela, IVE said, “We struggle to help keep the faith in our parishioners and it’s my belief that this National Eucharistic Revival is the response to our prayers. As the Fall River Diocese responds to the call of the New Evangelization, it is with great joy and enthusiasm that we at St. Anthony embrace the exciting journey before us.”
The Church needs healing, and the world needs the Church. In the midst of roaring waves, Jesus is present, reminding us that He is more powerful than the storm. He desires to heal, renew, and unify the Church and the world.
How do we accomplish this? We unite once again around the source and summit of our faith in the celebration of the Eucharist. The National Eucharistic Revival is the joyful, expectant, grassroots response of the entire Catholic Church in the U.S. to this divine invitation.
Members of St. Anthony of Padua Church in New Bedford, have organized an event with Catholic speaker Tim Francis, entitled, “Signs from God — Miracles and their Meaning,” for the week of May 22, 23 and 24.
One of the ways that God brings people to faith and restores their faith is through miracles. For this reason, Francis, the founder of “You Shall Believe,” has conducted more than 500 “Science Tests Faith” parish missions to re-ignite the faith of Catholics, bring non-Catholics to faith, and give practicing Catholics the tools needed to help loved ones return to the Church.
A well-known lay evangelist, Francis has a profound story of conversion. He went “from altar boy to party boy and from non-denominational megachurch back to the Roman Catholic Church,” he says. The impact of these miraculous events changed Francis’ life and now he tries to share stories of miracles with others.
Mary Cardoza, a parishioner and Eucharistic Adoration Coordinator at St. Francis Xavier Church in Acushnet, commented: “Whether you are a skeptic or believer in the True Presence in the Holy Eucharist, Tim Francis will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. He proves this through the research of an atheist and a scientist. I have already heard his story and it inspired me to share it with others. When I heard, he was coming to St. Anthony of Padua Church I was elated. I plan to invite all my family and friends to this event in hopes that they will be forever changed by the truth.
Everyone is welcome to attend. There is no charge to attend this event, but there will be a free will donation to help alleviate the cost and expenses. Seating capacity 1,700 and it is recommended you call the rectory for instructions on parking.
There will also be reserve parking for any priest. Call the rectory to let them know. Please feel free to share information with others.
Monday May 22 — 6:30 to 9 p.m.;
Tuesday May 23 — 6:30 to 9 p.m.;
Wednesday May 24 — 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Same presentation each night. Choose one.
Please listen to Tim Francis preview at: https://www.sciencetestefaith.com/newbedford
For information call St. Anthony of Padua rectory at 508-993-1691 or visit us at: www.saintanthonynewbedford.com