Father Marcus Knecht, associate pastor at St. Gerald Parish in Ralston, holds the Blessed Sacrament aloft during a June 18 Corpus Christi Procession that began and ended at the parish’s Lakeview Chapel. SUSAN SZALEWSKI/STAFF

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Corpus Christi events kick off three-year National Eucharistic Revival

The June 19 Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – also known as Corpus Christi – inaugurated a three-year National Eucharistic Revival organized by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Weekend Corpus Christi events launching the initiative in the Archdiocese of Omaha included a 17-year-old Corpus Christi procession between Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Peter churches in Omaha, which drew about 700 participants despite sweltering afternoon heat.

The pastor of St. Peter Parish, Father John Broheimer, center, bears the Blessed Sacrament in the first part of the Corpus Christi procession from Our Lady of Lourdes Church to St. Peter Church. SUSAN SZALEWSKI/STAFF

Other events included an evening Corpus Christi procession on June 18, the vigil of Corpus Christi, beginning and ending at St. Gerald Parish’s Lakeview Chapel in Ralston. About 70 people were part of the half-mile procession, according to Father Marcus Knecht, associate pastor at St. Gerald Parish.

Another 400 people participated in a morning Corpus Christi procession June 19 that began and ended at Immaculate Conception Church in Omaha, said Father John Berg of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, pastor of the parish.

Father John Audino, associate pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish in Omaha, begins a June 19 Corpus Christi procession inside the church, after a morning Mass. GABRIELLE MCDANELD

Ablaze Worship kicked off the weekend with a eucharist revival on June 17, with outdoor praise and worship at SumTur Amphitheater in Papillion. About 200 people joined in, said Father Michael Voithofer, founder of Ablaze and pastor of St. Benedict the Moor Parish in Omaha, who led the crowd in song and prayer.

Dave Cotton of St. Gerald Parish draws close to the Blessed Sacrament during an Ablaze Eucharist Revival June 17 at SumTur Amphitheater in Papillion. SUSAN SZALEWSKI/STAFF

The National Eucharistic Revival – with the theme “Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ, Source of Our Healing and Hope” – aims to enkindle “a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist” in each individual, the USCCB said in a press release.

U.S. bishops saw the need for the revival, voting for it overwhelmingly last November. A 2019 Pew Research Study indicated that 70% of Catholics didn’t believe in Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist.

“All Catholics are invited into a renewed encounter with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, especially those Catholics who don’t fully understand the power of the Eucharist,” said Bishop Andrew Cozzens, chairman of the board of the National Eucharistic Congress, the culminating event of the three-year revival, set to take place in Indianapolis in 2024. 

People are encouraged to sign up for a weekly newsletter for inspiration, testimonies, eucharistic teachings and news about National Eucharistic Revival events at https://www.eucharisticrevival.org/heart-of-the-revival-newsletter.

People also can be involved through prayer, fasting, penance and testimony and can visit https://www.eucharisticrevival.org/get-involved for more information.

Scroll for more photos from Omaha eucharistic processions.

The procession at Immaculate Conception went around a block and back to the south Omaha church. GABRIELLE MCDANELD

Participants in a June 19 Corpus Christi procession stream from Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Omaha. The procession ended at St. Peter Church in Omaha.

The Corpus Christi procession makes one of four stops for Benediction at an altar in Hanscom Park.

Two girls who made their First Communions this year pray during Benediction at Hanscom Park. First Communicants spread flower petals before the Blessed Sacrament as they walked.

Deacon John Zak of St. Peter Parish reads from the Gospel at a stop in Hanscom Park.

Deacon Gregorio Elizalde of St. Peter Parish holds the monstrance as the group leaves Hanscom Park toward St. Peter Church.