US bishops’ Eucharistic revival is a ‘movement,’ says new Eucharistic Congress director Tim Glenkowski
WASHINGTON – The three-year Eucharistic revival of the American Catholic Church about to begin “is not a program but a movement” which is an invitation from God to the faithful to go on a mission and be convincing witnesses of our faith , said Tim Glemkowski, the newly appointed executive director of the National Eucharistic Congress.
“We, the church, need to be clear about telling our story, getting to the heart” of our faith, that “God is not just some distant unengaged person,” he said. he told Catholic News Service on April 5. “He is alive and real and is found in the Eucharist, source and summit of faith. … This is where God is with us.
The National Eucharistic Revival begins on June 16, the feast of Corpus Christi, and culminates with the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis in 2024. Along the way, there will be parish, diocesan, and regional events to increase Catholic understanding of the real presence in the Eucharist.
The first year will begin at the parish and diocesan levels with initiatives such as Eucharistic adoration and processions, the development of parish teams of revival animators and conferences on the Eucharist.
The following year there will be regional revival events, leading to the Indianapolis Eucharistic Congress in 2024, the first to be held since 1976 in Philadelphia. It is expected to attract at least 80,000 people from across the country.
The U.S. bishops approved revival and congress plans last November at their fall general assembly in Baltimore. Both are led by the Committee on Evangelism and Catechesis of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, chaired by Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of Crookston, Minn.
As chairman of the board of the National Eucharistic Congress Inc., Bishop Cozzens announced Glemkowski’s appointment April 4.
“Tim is a true leader with a heart on fire for Jesus Christ and a desire to invite people to meet his love in the Eucharist,” Bishop Cozzens said in a statement.
“He brings a unique blend of skills to this important role – from strategic vision and operational excellence to theological insight and missionary mindset. … He lives and breathes Pope Francis’ call for a pastoral and missionary conversion of the Church,” the Bishop added.
National Eucharistic Congress Inc. was instituted earlier this year, and a nationwide search was conducted to find an executive director to lead the newly created entity.
“God is doing something significant in his church through this multi-year National Eucharistic Revival,” Glemkowski said in a statement after his appointment was announced. “Fundamentally, I believe the congress is a critical moment for how we realize Pope Francis’ vision of becoming a more missionary church.”
He added: “It is the fire of charity, born in our hearts from the reception of Jesus in the Eucharist, which impels us to the mission. This is a phenomenal opportunity for our church to grow closer to Christ and prepare to better share him with our postmodern world.
Until he was selected for his new position, Glemkowski had worked for the Archdiocese of Denver in evangelism and strategy. Prior to that, he was founding president of the Chicago-based L’Alto Catholic Institute, which works with parishes to address “the challenges and opportunities” of new evangelization.
A Chicago-area native, Glemkowski holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and theology from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, and a master’s degree in theology from the Augustine Institute of the Archdiocese of Denver.
He and his wife, Maggie, have three children, ages 6, 4 and 1. They are members of Light of the World Parish in suburban Denver.
“The heart of Vatican II is the universal call to mission, to holiness. We are all called to give our whole life to Christ and surrender to God and go on a mission,” he told CNS on April 5. “It is not optional…baptism is an invitation calling each of us” to intensify and share the joy of Christ and our faith with others.
He sees the revival and convention as “a landmark moment” for the church and also “a generational moment” that can truly change lives.
Glemkowski said that as a lay consultant to the USCCB Evangelism and Catechesis Committee, he was “engaged and involved in the genesis of (the) project for some time,” and when he watched live Bishop Cozzens’ Nov. 17 presentation to the bishops, “I felt God touch my heart and I wanted to be a part of it.”
So he applied for the position of executive director and said he was “humbled and honoured” to be nominated.
In his presentation and later in interviews, Bishop Cozzens said the Catholic Church can deepen the faithful’s understanding of the Eucharist with revival and congress by remembering that Christ said that a lighted lamp does not has no place under a bushel.
“Put it on a hill so people can see it and be attracted to it,” the bishop said. “And I think that’s what we want to do with our teaching on the Eucharist.”
Glemkowski noted that “the original vision” of the revival began to be discussed when Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron of Los Angeles was the Bishops’ Evangelism Chairman, shortly after the results of a Pew investigation of 2019 showed that only 30% of Catholics understood the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Bishop Barron is also the founder of the Catholic evangelistic organization Word on Fire.
In the Pew survey, 69% of all self-identified Catholics said they believed the bread and wine used at Mass were not Jesus, but rather “symbols of the body and blood of Jesus- Christ”.
The results struck a chord with many American bishops, who saw a catechetical crisis in this lack of fundamental understanding of the Eucharist.
In November, in addition to approving plans for revival and Congress, the bishops also approved a statement on “The mystery of the Eucharist in the life of the Church”, which is addressed to all Catholics in the United States and “strives to explain the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the Church”.
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, chairman of the bishops’ committee on doctrine, which authored the statement, also said the document was meant to be a theological contribution to the bishops’ upcoming eucharistic revival.” providing a doctrinal resource for parishes, catechists and the faithful”.
In addition, the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy at the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame has launched a new initiative for 2022 aimed at fostering a Eucharistic culture in parishes, schools and dioceses to promote deeper affiliation with the Church.
To learn more about the National Eucharistic Revival and the National Eucharistic Congress of the American Catholic Church, go to https://eucharisticrevival.org.