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Bishop Sirba: Recent, upcoming events show the Eucharist is ‘source and summit of our faith’

The Eucharist is the foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb in the heavenly Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 11:20; Revelation 19:9). The sacrament is called by a number of names to express different aspects of this inestimable gift.

It is called “the Eucharist,” because it is an action of thanksgiving to God. It is named “the Lord’s Supper,” because of its connection with the Last Supper the Lord took with his disciples on the eve of His Passion.

Bishop Paul Sirba
Bishop Paul Sirba
Fiat Voluntas Tua

It is also called the “Breaking of the Bread,” the “Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,” and the “Holy and Divine Liturgy.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches about the Eucharist in Part Two, Article 3. Please take the time to reread this section of the Catechism.

Food for our journey

As I look back over the month of August and look ahead to the month of September, the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life in our diocese. I offer a few examples that you can add to your own meditations about the Eucharist, as we thank God for giving us Jesus as our food for the journey.

On Aug. 15, the Monastery of St. Scholastica celebrated the installation of its new Prioress, Benedictine Sister Beverly Raway. Congratulations, Sister Beverly!

I had the privilege of celebrating Mass with the sisters on the Feast of the Assumption as they welcomed Sister Beverly as Christ. It was a moving ceremony that involved, among many other beautiful and symbolic actions, the individual greeting of each member of the community by Sister Beverly. Each sister placed her hands within Sister Beverly’s hands and offered her life anew to Christ through her, obedience being a “yes” to Jesus. The transition of leadership took place within the context of the Mass. Jesus is with us in times of change.

During this Year of Consecrated Life join me in prayers of thanksgiving for the prayer and work of the sisters of St. Scholastica over the entire lifetime of the diocese and for God’s blessings upon their future.

The faithful have been remembering Father Ben Hadrich at Mass and praying for his speedy and complete recovery from a brain hemorrhage. I witnessed firsthand the expression of the healing power of the sacrament, as a brother priest offered Mass by Father Ben’s bedside with his mother and father and siblings present. Jesus, Himself, came to heal and to love Father Ben. Jesus comes to us in times of hurt and pain, when we are powerless and not in control.

Mass is offered daily throughout our diocese thanks to the efforts of our priests and your joyful participation. Thank you!

Hope amid many trials

Our world needs Our Lord Jesus Christ to save us. Daily we face the inhumanity of the acts of our “throwaway culture” and their painful consequences.
We witness the destruction of innocent human life through the scourge of abortion — the horror of Planned Parenthood’s actions and our indifference.

Wars rage, families are broken or redefined, and entire nations are displaced. Addictions abound, and the poor get poorer. Even our planet groans under the weight of human sin. We bring our own afflictions, daily difficulties and sometimes overwhelming obstacles. We would be crushed if we did not have Jesus. We always have Jesus!

God knows we are powerless without Him. He knows our need. God the Father sent us His beloved Son, Jesus Our Savior, so that whoever believes in Him might have eternal life. Jesus is the Bread of Life. He comes to invite us to the eternal banquet in heaven and gives us Himself as manna for our journey. Jesus is our hope!

Procession to be a sacred act

On Sept. 12, our diocese will have a unique opportunity to walk with Jesus and to receive Him. As we conclude our 125th Year of Faith as a diocese, our expression of belief will take the form of a Eucharistic Procession, Benediction and Mass. The sacred action will prepare and strengthen us in our work of the New Evangelization in our beloved diocese.

Jesus remains with us always. I look forward to being with Jesus and with you as we give thanks together for God’s love these past 125 years and look forward with great anticipation to His coming again in glory!

Bishop Paul D. Sirba is the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Duluth.