Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Lancaster Region of Order of Malta Hosts Event on Eucharist

In celebration of the National Eucharistic Revival, the Lancaster Region of the Order of Malta gathered for Mass and a presentation on the Eucharist on June 6, during the Diocesan 8 Days of Eucharistic Joy event. Reverend James J. Greenfield, president of DeSales University in Center Valley, spoke on “Jesus in the Eucharist: Just the Facts.”

Throughout his presentation, Father Greenfield reflected on comments from the Holy Father to the United States’ Bishops in light of the National Eucharistic Revival, the Pew Research study regarding Catholics’ belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, how the Sacrament of Baptism plays into our faith, and the Gospels.

“In the Gospels, the miracle of the loaves and fishes is a precursor to the Eucharist,” he said. “It is the only miracle that appears in all four Gospels.”

Father Greenfield continued that God knew “we needed a God with some skin, because we are all men and women of the senses.” But the Ascension of Jesus doesn’t end in Christ having “flesh” on earth because the Body of Christ means three things, he said. It refers to Jesus who walked on earth for 33 years; it means the Eucharist; and it refers to the body of believers.

Father Greenfield then spent time discussing the 2019 Pew Research study and how the data presented in that study may not be as accurate as has been assumed.

“The poll suffered two major theological mistakes,” he said. Pew reported that only 31% of self-identified Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, yet how the study presented the questions related to the Eucharist and the Real Presence was wrong, he remarked. This then lead the McGrath Institute for Church Life to partner with CARA for a more comprehensive survey, the results of which were released in September 2023. This second survey found that 95 percent of weekly Mass-goers and 80 percent of those attending Mass once per month believe in Christ’s Real Presence.

When speaking about the Sacrament of Baptism, Father Greenfield shared that roughly “one-third of the world population is baptized….When we are baptized, we are claimed for Christ forever, no matter how bad we screw it up….Yet, for many people, baptism hardly seems to matter. Do we really believe that we are born into eternal life?”

“The Eucharistic faith of the Church lies in the heart of its faithful,” he said. “We had Mass before this conversation and called heaven down to earth.”

Father Allan Wolfe, pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Chambersburg, celebrated the Mass at St. Leo the Great Church in Lancaster prior to the presentation.

During his homily, Father Wolfe spoke of how Jesus, during the Last Supper, instructed His Apostles to “Do this is memory of me” and instituted the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

“But if the Lord had not followed through with what He is describing as His Pascal Mystery, not only we would not have the Eucharist…..we would not have salvation,” he said.

To learn more about the Lancaster Region of the Order of Malta, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LancasterSMOM/.

(Photos by Rachel Bryson, The Catholic Witness.)

By Rachel Bryson, The Catholic Witness

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