Congress goers agree, 'we have been commissioned' through receiving Christ in the Eucharist
CHARLOTTE — 'Do This In Memory of Me' was the theme of the 2011 Eucharistic Congress. For Congress goers, that meant the Eucharist should be at the center of our lives. When asked about the theme and what it means to them and how they live it in their daily lives, most respondents immediately said, "Mass! We go to Mass!"
People willingly shared how the bountiful river that flows from the gift of the Eucharist flows into them, through them and pours out into the world each and every day.
A group of slightly soggy students (who'd just come in from the rain during the Eucharistic procession Saturday morning) from the diocesan Catholic Campus Ministry spoke of the void that the Eucharist fills. They willing accept this gift knowing full well that with it also comes obligation: the obligation to pass on the teachings of Christ, to live what they believe and to live it on the inside and on the outside. The Mark of Christ is a joy, they said, and they want to "pay it forward."
"This theme reminds us of what our commission is, as Christians," said Dr. Jude Okoyeh.
He, his family and a companion spoke eloquently and at length about that authority and the responsibility to carry out that commission daily. They talked about the need for the sacraments and the joy the sacraments bring through the power of the Holy Spirit.
These gifts allow us to go into our communities, to work for our brothers and sisters – not for pay but for love of Christ, they said. They discussed the power and mystery of the Eucharist: We are brought into the presence of Jesus Christ during Mass. We focus on Him, we are gifted and we are given the graces we need to do for others what Christ has done for us, they pointed out.
Keeping our focus on Christ was one of the common points people made during the congress. From middle school students to the elderly, this simple joy was deeply important to people. Three teens from St. Aloysius Church in Hickory and St. Dorothy Church in Lincolnton lit up like sparklers when asked about this year's theme. They said,
"Christ is everywhere we are!"
They spoke in a jumble, but their love and joy were clear. To be able to focus on Jesus was huge to them – no distractions, just Jesus. They agreed that going to Mass, receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, meant they could learn how to be closer to God – and learn how to love. Then, they said, in no uncertain terms, they could go out and do this for everybody else.
Another common point for people was the immediacy and necessity of joining ourselves to the timelessness of the Last Supper. The congress goers understood that the Eucharist is for them and for their children, but it is a gift also to be shared with the world. They know that there is much work to do and that it is their obligation to do Christ's work and do it well.
What we do "in memory of Him" might often depend on where we are in life, our age or our circumstance, one young father said. But if we do everything in memory of Him, then we properly honor Him.
— Annette Tenny, correspondent. Photos by Doreen Sugierski.
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FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy