Advent 2022 Pastoral Note: Were not our hearts burning?

Download as a PDF En Español

This past Summer, I celebrated the tenth anniversary of my installation as Archbishop of Denver. In reflecting back, one theme that stands out is the centrality of the Holy Eucharist to my ministry. The Holy Eucharist, which I have had the privilege of celebrating in the Cathedral and in multiple parishes in the archdiocese, has been part of many of the major decisions I have made as Archbishop. Jesus’ command, “Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4), has been a prominent theme in my own spiritual life and I cannot understand Jesus’ words apart from the Eucharist. This is why I am pleased to announce the launch of the National Eucharistic Revival here in the Archdiocese of Denver beginning November 20th with the Solemnity of Christ the King.

In 2015, I made the decision to restore the order of the sacraments of initiation. At the time, many people focused on how this would affect the sacrament of Confirmation. While Confirmation remains essential to our growth in Christian life, the decision most affected how we approach, understand, and receive the Eucharist. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “The holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Those who have been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by Baptism and configured more deeply to Christ by Confirmation participate with the whole community in the Lord’s own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist” (CCC 1322). My pastoral hope was not to declare third graders “spiritual adults,” but to give our young people every grace necessary to fully participate in the Mass and most fruitfully receive Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

In 2020, we together experienced possibly the most perplexing and challenging year of our lives. As Archbishop, I was faced with very difficult decisions around how to navigate access to the Holy Eucharist among the endless uncertainties of the pandemic and restrictions on public gatherings. It was a time of great suffering, confusion, sadness, and tension, but it was also a time that was rich with the Lord’s blessings. While I continue to mourn the absence of those who have chosen not to return to Mass, I rejoice in the incredible number of the faithful who found creative ways to keep the Lord’s Day holy and only grew in appreciation of and anticipation for receiving the Eucharist.

Now, we find ourselves on the threshold of a three-year national initiative to build up faith and devotion to Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist and the gift of his sacrifice in the Holy Mass. My deepest longing is to see a renewal of love for the Eucharist in the heart of every Catholic. I have many hopes for the faithful in the Archdiocese of Denver during these three years and I share in the Lord’s desire expressed through our diocesan synodal process to “bring our Eucharistic Lord to others and to bring others to our Eucharistic Lord.”1