News: Diocese to Focus on Renewing Understanding, Love of the Eucharist

May 20, 2021

Bishop Joensen at a Holy Hour

 The Diocese of Des Moines is joining a national, renewed focus on the Eucharist.

The Spirit-led effort will reconnect the faithful to their baptismal call and focus on how important the Eucharist is to our identity as Catholic Christians.

The Eucharist is central to the Catholic faith. A Vatican II document (Lumen Gentium) described it as the “source and summit of our Christian faith,” and the Catechism of the Catholic Church says the Church “draws her life from the word and the Body of Christ.”

A plan from the U.S. bishops invites dioceses to enact a three-pronged approach to the initiative that includes catechesis and apologetics; devotion and worship; and conversion and mission. The Diocese of Des Moines is adapting the national plan to local needs.

The initiative is intended to help each of the faithful come to know and love God more deeply.

“Each one of us, as a unique member of the Body of Christ, is called to transformation through the Eucharist and then, in turn, to share that gift with others,” wrote Bishop William Joensen in a letter to parishes last month.

“Ultimately, there is nothing more essential to our life in Christ than gathering together to celebrate the Eucharist, the sacrificial banquet of thanksgiving that Jesus left us,” he said.

John Huynh, diocesan director of the Faith Journey program and coordinator of the Eucharisticnull renewal initiative, concurred.

“I hope this Eucharistic renewal initiative will remind us of our hunger for the only person who can satisfy our deepest longings,” he said. “Jesus comes to us most intimately through our reception of the Eucharist at the Holy Mass.”

Greg Samorajski, of St. Francis Parish in West Des Moines, is on a diocesan committee making plans for the initiative.

“I became a Catholic in the ‘90s because of my growing love and understanding of the Eucharist,” he said. “I joined the committee to help others learn about – maybe for the first time - the importance of the Eucharist in our spiritual lives. Through receiving the Eucharist we grow in love into our place in the Body of Christ.”

Upcoming opportunities to reverence the Eucharist may be parish processions, Holy Hours, adoration and benediction. The following are a few processions that are planned.

  • St. Anthony Parish in Des Moines on June 6 will have an 11 a.m. bilingual Mass at its grotto followed by a procession and luncheon in celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi.
  • St. Augustin Parish in Des Moines plans a procession and dinner June 6 at 3 p.m. in celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi.
  • Sacred Heart Parish in Chariton will hold a procession June 13 in connection with the parish’s 150th anniversary celebration.
  • Corpus Christi Parish in Council Bluffs will have a Eucharistic procession July 11 following its 10 a.m. Mass in celebration of the parish’s 10th anniversary.
Some parishes have begun to offer Holy Hours or opportunities for adoration, when the faithful can spend quiet time in prayer and reflection in front of Jesus in the Eucharist. Bishop Joensen celebrates a Holy Hour at 5 p.m. on Mondays at St. Ambrose Cathedral, which is livestreamed on Facebook.com/dmdiocese. Reflections on the Eucharist can be found at dmdiocese.org/ho