Civic reception held at the former Ak-Sar-Ben Coliseum for the sixth National Eucharistic Congress. ARCHDIOCESE OF OMAHA ARCHIVES


Almost a century ago, the sixth National Eucharistic Congress held in former ‘Diocese of Omaha’

Next summer’s National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis will be the tenth held in the United States since 1895. The Congress will take place July 17-21, 2024, as part of the National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year initiative sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to offer a renewed encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist.

In 1930, the sixth National Eucharistic Congress was held in Omaha from Sept. 23-25. The event attracted Catholics from across the country and abroad. Among the dignitaries attending the conference were Cardinal George Mundelein of Chicago, Bishop Joseph Schrembs of Cleveland and Bishop Pietro Fumasoni-Biondi, apostolic delegate to the United States.

Major film studios – including Fox Hearst Corporation of New York – filmed the event for use in its newsreels. Local and national news outlets covered it as well. The Catholic Diocesan Bureau reported at the time that the Congress was the second-largest convention ever held in Omaha. The Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition in 1898 was the first.

Bishop Joseph Rummel

Bishop Joseph Rummel of the Diocese of Omaha called on parishes and Catholics throughout the area to put visitors to the Congress up in their homes. Catholics were also encouraged to decorate their houses and businesses with Eucharistic Congress flags and emblems to celebrate the event.

A civic reception was held at the former Ak-Sar-Ben Coliseum with the mayor and Nebraska’s governor in attendance. Throughout the Congress, Masses were celebrated in private homes, the Cathedral and parishes throughout the city. A Holy Hour was held at the same time in every parish on Tuesday evening, Sept. 23, with a bishop presiding at each. Across the city, Holy Communion was offered daily and there were ample opportunities for confessions. Special Masses were celebrated for specific organizations such as the Knights of Columbus. There also was a women-only Mass.

A public Eucharistic Demonstration was held in the former stadium at Creighton University with 40,000 in attendance. The Eucharistic Congress closed on Sept. 25 with a procession that began at the Cathedral. Every parish in Omaha and the surrounding countryside participated in the procession, praying and singing hymns.

Program used at all Holy Hours on Tuesday evening.

A special Monstrance created for the Congress. It is still used today.

A close-up of the Monstrance created for the Eucharistic Congress adorned with diamonds and jewels. The Host was flanked by the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. A diamond necklace was donated to adorn the Monstrance. Look closely to see the clasp.

Flags hung at the Eucharistic Congress now hang in the St. Cecilia Cathedral Cultural Center.

The coat of arms and the year of the Eucharistic Congress is memorialized on the clerestory wall between the “Singing Windows” in St. Cecilia Cathedral.

Receipt for decorations for the Congress.


More photos from the Archdiocese of Omaha archives:

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