GREENVILLE — A week filled with prayerful events centered on the Traveling Rosary Congress heralded the inaugural event in the diocese’s celebration of the Eucharistic Revival.
The Eucharistic Revival celebration in the diocese opened on Friday, Oct. 7, with a Holy Hour and Solemn Vespers at 7 p.m. at St. Philip’s Church, where Father Phillip Dufour, assistant pastor, presided over the evening’s ceremonies.
Father Dufour also serves as the head of the Diocesan Committee for the Eucharistic Revival Initiative.
Prayers were chanted by the schola of Our Lady of Providence Seminary, led by Henri St. Louis, the organist and choir director for Our Lady of Providence Seminary. Together with the recitation of the Office of Vespers, those present also recited the Rosary.
“The gift of our Lord’s true presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament is the most precious gift our Lord entrusted to the Church,” Father Dufour said during his homily. “That Christ would desire to tangibly dwell with us and even humble himself to be consumed by us, should fill us with reverence and awe.”
“And yet, in recent times, we have seen love, reverence, and even belief in Christ’s True Presence wane,” Father Dufour went on to say, further adding that the recent Eucharistic Revival “calls each and every one of us, clergy and laity, to fall deeper in love with the Eucharistic Mystery, to grow in reverence for and devotion to our Lord’s true presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”
Plans for the Eucharistic Revival Initiative were first presented to the USCCB in 2019 by The Most Reverend Andrew Cozzens, Auxiliary Bishop of Crookston, Minnesota, in response to a recent survey from the Pew Research Center showing that two-thirds of American Catholics do not believe in the Church’s official teachings on the Eucharist.
“We want to see a movement of Catholics across the United States that are healed, converted, formed and unified by an encounter with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist and then sent out on mission for the life of the world,” said Bishop Cozzens in an official USCCB video describing the intentions of the Initiative.
Bishop Cozzens went on to note that the purpose of the various programs associated with the initiative is to “empower” the faithful to deepen their devotion to the Eucharist and spread this enthusiasm for the Blessed Sacrament to the local community.
The Eucharistic Revival, which was met with great enthusiasm by the members of the USCCB, is divided into three phases.
During the first phase, beginning in July of 2022, each diocese across the nation was asked to organize events to raise awareness of the traditional Catholic view on the Eucharist, including public prayer services and the circulation of educational materials related to the Eucharist.
“Personally, I am grateful that the bishops have called for this much-needed Eucharistic Revival,” Father Dufour told Rhode Island Catholic. “It is no secret or surprise that devotion to Our Eucharistic Lord has waned in recent times due to a wide variety of factors, both secular and ecclesiastical.”
Father Dufour noted how the Revival initiative can help to reverse this decline.
“In order to combat this trend, it will be necessary for the Revival to focus not only on the devotional life concerning the Eucharist but also authentic catechesis regarding Christ’s True Presence in the Eucharist.”
He noted that the Diocesan Committee for the Eucharistic Revival Initiative is currently in the process of organizing various Advent-themed Eucharistic events in the upcoming months.
The week’s Traveling Rosary Congress began at St. Patrick’s Parish in Providence on October 1, and over the course of the next seven days was held at: SS. Rose and Clement (Warwick), St. Brendan (Riverside), Immaculate Conception (Westerly), St. Joseph (Woonsocket), St. Pius V (Providence), and St. Philip’s (Greenville).
Participating parishes hosted a 24/7 traveling rosary, featuring all-day Eucharistic Adoration, with volunteers leading those present in a recitation of the Holy Rosary and the Divine Mercy chaplet for an hour-long period. Those present were free to come and go as they pleased.
The event was organized by the Rhode Island branch of the Rosary Congress.
The international organization was formed in 1979 when a group of lay faithful in Poland organized a series of public prayer services centered on the Rosary which were offered on behalf of the then-reigning Pope St. John Paul II, a native of that country, in response to the political contentions that surrounded his visit to Poland that year.
In 1988, the Rosary Congress spread to the United States and eventually evolved into a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping alive the mission of the movement in this country, promoting various Marian (primarily Rosary-based) events in honor of the Immaculate Heart. Branches of the Rosary Congress are found in several dioceses throughout the country. They hold events coordinated by local clergy and/or lay faithful.