Renewing the Church Through Eucharistic Renewal

Last week, in this column, I wrote about Churchwide plans for a post-pandemic rejuvenation through a renewed devotion to the Eucharist. As Catholics, we believe the Sacrament of the Eucharist is the sum and summit of our faith. We renew Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross every time we come together at Mass. At the Mass, the Real Presence of Jesus feeds us with His Body and Blood. We call this Church teaching transubstantiation.

During the summer, while our gospel readings came from John’s gospel’s Bread of Life Discourse, I gave a series of homilies on the Eucharist. In them, I spoke about a recent survey of US Catholics conducted by the Pew Research Center. According to the study, most Catholics say they incorrectly believe the Eucharist to be only a symbol of Christ’s presence and not the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. They were also under the mistaken impression that is what the Church teaches about the Eucharist. The survey results are, of course, a great concern to US bishops. For that reason, the bishops plan to initiate a program of education about the proper Church teachings on the Eucharist over the next few years. There will be a diocesan phase beginning in June of 2022, followed by a parish phase set to start the following year. I’m making plans to include Holy Redeemer in these initiatives.

Bishop da Cunha will be releasing a pastoral letter before the end of the month. It is entitled, Journeying Together: With Jesus on the Path of Faith & Hope. Copies of the letter will be available here in church once they are delivered. Plan to take a copy and read it over. It is very readable and practical. It isn’t a heady theological treatise.

Every faithful Catholic needs to prepare to be an evangelist as we become a post-pandemic Church. We need to share our love of the faith with others. No one wants to be part of a dying institution. We need to demonstrate to the world the joy and love we feel for the Catholic Church. We need to show our growth and vibrancy in the faith.

Last week, I shared with you several of the Mission Steps Bishop da Cunha encourages us to take to help revitalize our local Church. He urges us to help young people develop a devotion to the Eucharist. He mentions the example of Blessed Carlo Acutis. Carlo was a teenaged Italian boy who died of cancer about fifteen years ago. Before he became sick, Carlo had developed a website devoted to spreading the message about Eucharistic miracles. Carlo’s parents were not particularly devout Catholics. It was his Polish nanny that introduced him to Eucharistic devotion as a mere toddler. His dedication to the Eucharist helped him develop into an exceptionally compassionate and loving young man who is an example of faith for young people today.

How do you plan to increase your devotion to the Eucharist and help others to grow too? It, of course, begins by attending Mass every weekend. If you have not been attending Mass since the pandemic, plan to return to church as soon as you feel safe. In the meantime, you can watch our Livestream of Mass on our parish website Don’t forget receiving the Eucharist in person at Mass can’t be replaced by virtual participation.

Spend some time in prayer before the Eucharist in church. We open the church at 7 AM and keep it open until the middle of the afternoon. Stop by for prayer. Start attending daily Mass at 8 AM as often as possible to increase your relationship with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Throughout history, when the Church faced peril, it has depended on Jesus in the Eucharist for strength and renewal. I’m sure we can rely on the Eucharist again today.

Cardinal Medeiros Residence Collection

This weekend a second collection will be taken up for the operations of the Cardinal Medeiros Residence. The Cardinal Mederios Residence is the retirement home for priests of the Diocese of Fall River. The collection provides some of the funds to service debt and operations costs for the residence. Please generously support this collection and the retired priests who have faithfully served the diocese throughout their lives.

Bereavement Ministry Plans New Series

“We do not grieve as those who have no hope.”

The Holy Redeemer Bereavement Ministry holds its next series of support group sessions, “Journey from Grief to Hope,” in the Parish Center beginning Tuesday, October 5, from 10:00 AM-11:30 AM. Sessions will be held for six weeks. The death of a loved one is an intense and painful experience for most people. Having the proper support makes all the difference, and here at Holy Redeemer, we want to make the difference by reaching out and helping members and families through their grief.

Participants will follow CDC COVID guidelines for social distancing and mask-wearing.

Attendees, RSVP to Marilyn Whelden at or call 508-776-6795.

Respect Life Kick-Off Conference

The Family and Respect Life Office plans an October Respect Life Month Kick-Off Conference for Saturday, October 9, 2021, from 8:30 AM-1:30 PM at St. Julie Billiart Church, 494 Slocum Road, Dartmouth, MA 02747. The day will begin with Mass, Morning Refreshments, Feature Talks, Q&A Panel Discussion, ending with a light lunch. There is a $5 entrance fee collected at the door. Please RSVP to the Family and Respect Life Office @ or phone (508)669-7966 by October 5, 2021.

Please also save the date of Sunday, October 3, 2021. Bishop Edgar da Cunha will be the celebrant of the Annual Pro-life Month Mass at 10:30 AM at St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Fall River. The Mass is in collaboration with the Knights of Columbus of the diocese.

Holy Cross Retreat House Reopens

The Holy Cross Retreat House in N. Easton will reopen in September after a pandemic-caused hiatus. The retreat house hosts Matt Talbot Retreats for those recovering from addiction and Cursillos for men and women seeking a closer encounter with Jesus Christ in a small Christian community settling. For more information about these retreats, visit their website: or call them at (508) 238-5051.

Scientific Evidence of God

The secular world often tries to contend there is a conflict between faith and science. They overlook the reality that many great scientists have been and are people of faith. The Catholic Schools Alliance of the Diocese of Fall River is sponsoring a talk by Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, on There is Scientific Evidence of God's Existence. The lecture will be held at the Bishop Connolly High School Auditorium, 373 Elsbree Street, Fall River, MA, on Thursday, November 18, 2021, from 7-8:30 PM. There is no admission charge. The topic is interesting to students in grades 6-12, college students, parents, grandparents, and educators.

Fr. Spitzer is a renowned Jesuit philosopher of ontology and science. He has made numerous television appearances on programs such as Larry King Live, The Today Show, The History Channel's "God and the Universe, PBS "Closer to the Truth," and his own EWTN series "Father Spitzer's Universe." To reserve a seat, RSVP to or call (508) 687-7301.