Parishes create unique Eucharistic encounters through 40 hour devotions

Laura Keener, Editor

In a recent Sunday Gospel, Peter and the other disciples are in a boat on the sea as the wind and waves are kicking up. Jesus, on the shore, proceeds to walk on the water towards them. Peter asks Jesus to call him to him. Jesus does, and Peter leaves the boat and walks on the water towards Jesus. 

“Peter wanted to have a unique encounter with Jesus,” said Father Daniel Schomaker, diocesan director, Worship and Liturgy Office. “He had to get out of the boat in order to do that. He had to get out of the safety of the boat — his comfort area — in order to have an encounter with Jesus.” 

Today, Jesus still invites his disciples — you — to a unique encounter with him in the Eucharist — communally at Mass but also individually at adoration. The Catholic Church in the United States is in the middle of a three-year Eucharistic Revival. 

This year, on the feast of Corpus Christi in June, the Eucharistic Revival transitioned from the diocesan phase to the parish phase. To help unite the parishes around the Eucharist, Bishop John Iffert, at the request of the diocesan Worship Committee, has asked pastors to host 40 Hours of continual Eucharistic adoration. (See related article page 4.) 

These 40 Hours will be scheduled sometime during the year, from now until July 2024, when the revival culminates with a Eucharistic Congress, July 17–21, 2024, at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis. Discounted tickets for the Congress are available through the diocesan Office of Worship and Liturgy; an application is online at 

St. Augustine Parish, Covington, is the second parish to honor Bishop Iffert’s request to host the 40 Hours devotion. The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington, who held 40 Hours on the feast of Corpus Christi, was the first. St. Augustine’s 40 Hours will begin Friday, August 5, 7 p.m. continuing until Sunday, Aug. 27, 5 p.m. 

Father Schomaker said that at least two people need to be present during Adoration. This, he said, can be difficult for small parishes. To help accommodate parishes, adorers from all parishes in the diocese are welcome and encouraged to volunteer for a half hour or more of adoration at as many parishes as their time allows. Adorers can reserve their time at St. Augustine’s 40 Hours by visiting the parish website, 

“40 Hours devotions are being held throughout this Parish Eucharistic Revival year at different times so that the faithful will have the opportunity in their parish and at other parishes to spend time in Eucharistic Adoration,” said Father Schomaker. “This way, it’s a parochial celebration but it’s also a diocesan celebration, because we recognize that there is one local Church, which is the Diocese of Covington.” 

Spending time in adoration may be new to some. The good news is there is no specific ritual to know, so it’s hard to do Adoration wrong. The only requirement is to come prayerfully and reverently to gaze at and listen to Jesus. 

“The beauty of the Church is that her treasure trove of prayer is vast, and there’s not one way to pray,” said Father Schomaker. “In fact, most of the time, we need to remember that prayer requires listening. Prayer is not a monologue. It is a conversation. We have to be able to hear the Lord speak back to us.” 

For anyone who likes a little structure in their prayer they are welcome to pray the rosary or the Liturgy of the Hours, or they can bring along some spiritual reading — a book of the saints or a saint, or bring a Bible. 

“St. Augustine says that the Sacred Scriptures are love letters from home. Well, let’s read the love letters from the one who loves us,” said Father Schomaker. 

The best part of Adoration is taking the time, putting oneself in the presence of the Eucharist, to have that unique encounter with Jesus. 

“Peter had to get out of the boat. Sometimes we have to do that too, to get out of our comfort zone,” said Father Schomaker. “Today, the wind and the waves are oftentimes our culture that make quiet difficult. Silence is hard because we’re surrounded by all forms of noise. Get out of the boat. Enter into the silence. Go have an encounter with Jesus.”

Serving at the altar grows youths’ relationship to the Eucharist

Maura Baker, Staff Writer St. Tarcisius, a Roman martyr celebrated as the patron saint of altar servers and as one of the first recorded instance of a youth fulfilling that role in the Church, held the special responsibility of carrying the Eucharist to the people. As the story goes, St. Tarcisius was a young acolyte charged to deliver […]

Meet Blessed Carlo Acutis — a witness of Christ for all

Mike Krokos, Catholic News Service

Italian teenager Carlo Acutis was beatified Oct. 10, 2020, in Assisi, Italy. He is the first millennial to be declared “blessed.” His feast is celebrated Oct. 12. 

Carlo used his computer programming skills to spread devotion to the Eucharist, which he called his “highway to heaven.” On the website he created, Carlo told people that “the more often we receive the Eucharist, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven.” 

Although he grew up in Milan, Carlo requested to be buried in Assisi, because of his love for St. Francis of Assisi. 

Carlo’s faith was evident early in life. At age 7, he wrote, “To be always united with Jesus, this is my life program.” 

Before his death from leukemia at age 15 in 2006, Carlo was an average teen with an above-average knack for computers. He put that knowledge to use by creating an online database of Eucharistic miracles around the world. ( 

Carlo’s life centered around his faith: He attended daily Mass, prayed the rosary each day, received the sacrament of reconciliation weekly and prayed before the Blessed Sacrament. 

In his apostolic exhortation on young people, “Christus Vivit” (“Christ Lives”), Pope Francis said Carlo was a role model for young people today who are often tempted by the traps of “self-absorption, isolation and empty pleasure.” 

“Carlo was well-aware that the whole apparatus of communications, advertising and social networking can be used to lull us, to make us addicted to consumerism and buying the latest thing on the market, obsessed with our free time, caught up in negativity,” the pope wrote. 

“Yet he knew how to use the new communications technology to transmit the Gospel, to communicate values and beauty,” the pope added (#105). 

There was fruit born from Carlo’s devotion. His witness of faith led to a deep conversion in his mom, because, according to the priest promoting his cause for sainthood, he “managed to drag his relatives, his parents to Mass every day. It was not the other way around; it was not his parents bringing the little boy to Mass, but it was he who managed to get himself to Mass and to convince others to receive Communion daily.” 

Carlo also was known for defending kids at school who were picked on, especially students with disabilities. 

Pope Francis called Blessed Carlo a witness of Christ for younger generations. But Carlo’s words and actions are worth all people emulating. 

“The only thing we have to ask God for, in prayer, is the desire to be holy,” Blessed Carlo once said. 

As we celebrate his life and continue our journey of faith, together we say: Blessed Carlo Acutis, pray for us. 

Mike Krokos is editor of The Criterion, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. 

Going deeper 

Carlo Acutis used his talents in digital media and devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist to create a website dedicated to sharing Eucharistic miracles that have occurred around the world. The website offers an especially useful digital “museum” where all of the Eucharistic miracles are beautifully organized and displayed. Visit his website at 

St. Henry Parish, Elsmere, has created 41 Eucharistic Miracle panels, including two panels that introduce Carlo Acutis and his miracles project, that schools and parishes are welcome to borrow. Contact St. Henry Parish, (859) 727-2035.

Let the ‘Soul of Christ’ lead you on the Eucharistic Revival

Laura Keener, Editor

On the Feast of Corpus Christi in June 2022, the Diocese of Covington, along with dioceses across the United States and in collaboration with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, launched a three-year Eucharistic Revival. The mission of the revival is to renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. The key to achieving that mission is to restore understanding and devotion to the real presence of Christ in the Eucharistic. 

The revival will be implemented in three phases. Year 1 — June 2022 thru June 2023, is the Year of Diocesan Revival. Each Diocese is tasked to encourage the faithful to grow in their understanding and devotion to Christ in the Eucharist. 

In the Diocese of Covington, Father Daniel Schomaker, director, Office of Worship and Liturgy, will be leading the diocese’s efforts. To start, the diocese will be including Eucharistic adoration and benediction as a part of already scheduled diocesan celebrations. An example was the most recent Pro-Life Mass, which ended with a few minutes of adoration and benediction. 

In collaboration with the Messenger, the Office of Worship and Liturgy begins with this edition a yearlong, weekly series of brief articles to engage “the head and the heart;” to increase the understanding of and love for Jesus in the Eucharist. The series will introduce or re-introduce Eucharistic prayers; Eucharistic art and music, which are seen and heard in parish churches; praying the Mass, the source and summit of our Eucharistic life; and sharing personal witnesses, both local and historical. 

The series begins by introducing a prayer — the “Anima Christi” (“Soul of Christ”). The Anima Christi is an ancient prayer. It is typically referred to as the prayer After Communion, since many people pray the Anima Christi after receiving holy Communion. It is often associated with 16th century St. Ignatius of Loyola, although historians have found the prayer in documents dating back to the 14th century. St. Ignatius uses the prayer as an opening to his Spiritual Exercises. 

Adding the Anima Christi to your prayer toolbox, especially after receiving holy Communion, is a blessed way to start a personal Eucharistic revival. 

Anima Christi 

Soul of Christ, sanctify me. 

Body of Christ, save me. 

Blood of Christ, inebriate me. 

Water from the side of Christ, wash me. 

Passion of Christ, strengthen me. 

O good Jesus, hear me. 

Within your wounds, hide me. 

Let me never be separated from you. 

From the malignant enemy, defend me. 

In the hour of my death, call me, 

And bid me come to you, 

That with your saints I may praise you 

Forever and ever. Amen. 

Digging deeper: 

Franciscan Media offers a line-by-line breakdown of the Anima Christi: 

Ignatian Spirituality offers “An Ignatian Prayer Adventure,” an online, eight-week, modified version of the St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises: 

Eucharistic Revival Timeline 

The Year of Diocesan Revival — June 2022 thru June 2023. Each Diocese will encourage the faithful to grow in their understanding and devotion to Christ in the Eucharist, to raise up Eucharistic missionaries at all levels of the Church. 

The Year of Parish Revival — June 2023 thru June 2024. During this year parishes are tasked to foster Eucharistic devotion at the parish level, strengthening liturgical life through Eucharistic adoration, missions, resources, preaching, and organic movements of the Holy Spirit. 

The National Eucharistic Congress — July 17–21, 2024. This five-day historic event will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, where over 80,000 Catholics are expected to gather and be reconsecrated to the Catholic faith as missionary disciples. 

The National Year of Mission— July 2024 thru July 2025. The entire American Church will be sent on mission to share the gift of the Eucharistic Lord with their local communities and beyond.

Through the Eucharist, we are ‘free to proclaim the word of God,’ Bishop Iffert preaches at SUMMIT22 Mass

Maura Baker, Staff Writer

Youth in the Diocese of Covington, age 13-22, attended SUMMIT22, a youth retreat, at Covington Catholic High School, Oct. 7–9. Following the model of World Youth Day, the weekend-long retreat engages youth in daily Mass, rosary, Eucharistic adoration and “dynamic catechesis.” Saturday, Oct. 8, Bishop John Iffert joined attendees of the weekend retreat to celebrate Mass. 

In his homily, Bishop Iffert draws parallels between the story of the lepers in Luke’s Gospel with the Eucharist. “Jesus sends them (the lepers) to the priest to be healed. He says to the priests, to pronounce them clean,” he said, “The priest examines the one who has been healed of leprosy. And if he finds no blotch on them, he might separate them out for seven days, and then examine them again. And if he still finds no blotch on them, then there’s a sacrifice that is prescribed… the person who has been declared healed of leprosy is to go procure two birds, perfect birds, without any blotch or scar.” Bishop Iffert then goes on to describe the process of this sacrifice as written in Leviticus 14, including the two “perfect birds” and a “pot of living water,” water from a flowing stream. 

“He takes one of the birds and he kills the bird, and he drains the blood from the bird into that pot of water that has been taken from a living source. And then, now with this pot of blood from the sacrifice bird, he takes the other bird, the one that is still live. He binds it to Cedar wood with scarlet thread. And then, the priest takes the living bird, the one who has been offered for sacrifice but is still alive… He takes the living bird and he dips that living bird into the blood of the bird that has been sacrificed, into that clay pot of blood and living water,” he said. After sprinkling the blood and living water with the bird seven times over the leper that has been declared clean, the living bird is then set free to “fly across the countryside.” 

Bishop Iffert goes on to compare the parallels of the sacrificial rites of the two birds to Jesus in the crucifixion, “What flows from Jesus’ side? When Jesus is pierced — blood, and living water,” he said, referencing the moment of the crucifixion when a Roman soldier pierces Jesus’s side with a lance. “We are washed in that. And, then like that bird, set free for a purpose, to proclaim the mercy and the glory of God.” 

Bishop Iffert then challenged those gathered to be “amazed at the hugeness of mercy” offered in the Eucharist, “and respond with hearts that respond well to graciousness. Hearts that are thankful. Can we do that? Are we determined?” He concludes by once again referencing and comparing us, the Church, to the “bird that was set free,” to proclaim the word of God. 

The annual Eucharistic retreat for youth and young adults is organized and sponsored by the diocesan Office of Catechesis and Evangelization and the Covington Retreat Committee. This year the retreat was led by the Mercedarian Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament from Cleveland, Ohio.

Image: Bishop John Iffert addresses attendees of SUMMIT22 during his homily at the retreat’s Saturday Mass service, October 8.