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 | By Jennifer Antkowiak

What a Sacred Treasure the Eucharist Is

Bishop David Zubik on the importance of the Eucharistic Revival

Q.  2024 is an important year for the Church in the U.S. with the culmination of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, which makes a stop in Pittsburgh on the way to Indianapolis for the National Eucharistic Congress. How important is it to you that your diocese was chosen as one of the stops?

A.  It’s truly an honor, and recognition that southwestern Pennsylvania is a place that’s steeped in faith, not just Catholic, but all the other religious traditions as well. Pittsburgh used to be famous for steel. I believe that Pittsburgh can be known for its deep faith in God.

Q. How are you using the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage to infuse greater love for the Eucharist among the faithful in Pittsburgh?

A. I have entrusted all the initiatives relative to the Eucharistic Revival and Congress to our Auxiliary Bishop, William Waltersheid. He has been and will continue to be working closely with all our pastors, as he has been doing for these past three years, in an effort to infuse a great love of the Eucharist throughout our 60 parishes in the diocese.

We will be encouraging participation of the faithful in the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage as it moves through the Diocese of Pittsburgh in June.  Individuals, Catholic organizations and groups will be invited to walk the roads of our diocese with the Eucharistic Lord as a Pilgrim Church. All our strength will flow forth from the celebration of
the Eucharistic Sacrifice at Mass and as we spend time in adoration before the Holy Eucharist along the pilgrimage route. We will organize service to the poor as the perpetual pilgrims who bring the Blessed Sacrament will work at the Red Door at Divine Mercy Parish in downtown Pittsburgh.
On this pilgrimage we will go forth as Pope Francis asks us — to the peripheries bringing Jesus to all we meet. The pilgrimage will be a witness that Jesus is always true to his word: “Behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Mt 28:20)

Q. What factors do you believe have contributed to the loss of understanding among Catholics about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist?

A. It’s no secret that we’re living in a culture that is heavily secular. We’re also living in a culture that is losing respect for relationships on all fronts. When we look at the opportunity to receive the Holy Eucharist, we need to understand that it is the most intimate relationship we can have with God. Deepening our relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist leads to increasing respect for all relationships.

Also, we’re all still recovering from a difficult time in 2020 when, due to health concerns related to the COVID pandemic, dioceses throughout the world had to cancel Masses for several months. My hope was that once churches opened again, more people would be coming to Mass having missed the Eucharist for some months. But in many instances, overall that’s not what occurred. That’s why we must continue to work very hard to invite our faithful to a deeper understanding of the relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist to bring people back to the celebration of the Holy Mass, and the reception of Holy Communion. 

Q. How can dioceses and parishes build on the momentum of the Eucharistic movement?

A. We must pull out all the stops to catechize again our faithful on what the Eucharist is — the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Through religious education, elementary, middle, high school and adult formation, preaching in parishes, devotions, Eucharistic adoration and more, we can connect with peoples’ hearts and inspire them to have a deeper knowledge of and appreciation for the beauty of being with Jesus through the Blessed Sacrament.

Q. What role do you see for diocesan communicators in maintaining the momentum of the revival?

A. As diocesan communicators, we must make sure we use every medium possible to heighten people’s understanding
of the Eucharist – to remind people what a sacred treasure the Eucharist is!

Q. The Eucharistic movement presents a unique opportunity for evangelization. What messages should everyday Catholics share with their families and friends about the Eucharist?

A.  There are really two objectives: First, to help people understand what the Eucharist is. Evangelization done on all levels presents a golden opportunity for families to talk about the Eucharist and to see the importance of coming as a family to celebrate the Eucharist together. Second, the important reality that in receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord in the Eucharist we are empowered to act like, speak like and live more like Jesus. Receiving the Eucharist allows us to become more like Christ himself.

Q.  What do you believe will be the legacy of the Eucharistic Revival in Pittsburgh and the U.S.?

A. The legacy of more people returning to celebrate the Eucharist. Hopefully this three-year initiative of the Eucharistic Revival will result in a renewed understanding of the Eucharist and its transformation of each
of us to become more like Christ.


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Pittsburgh Catholic

The magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh

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