Year of the Eucharist to conclude with Eucharistic Congress in 2022

BRAINTREE -- After two years of planning, postponements, and replanning, the archdiocese has opened registration for the upcoming Eucharistic Congress, the culminating event of the archdiocesan Year of the Eucharist.

The Eucharistic Congress: Jesus Is Here will take place on June 18, 2022, at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell. Bishop Robert Reed is to emcee the daylong event, which will include music, guest speakers, Eucharistic adoration, opportunities for confession, and a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley. The day will conclude with a Eucharistic procession that, weather permitting, will end at St. Patrick Church in Lowell.

Talks will be delivered by Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles and founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries; Bishop Daniel Flores, bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas; author and Dynamic Catholic speaker Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers; and Jackie and Bobby Angel, fellows with the Word on Fire Institute. There will also be vendors and exhibitors from different organizations, as well as praise and worship music led by Village Lights.

Like the Year of the Eucharist itself, the Eucharistic Congress has been postponed and rescheduled, as plans changed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cardinal O'Malley first announced his intention to declare a Year of the Eucharist in December 2019. He had the idea for the Eucharistic Year after a study by the Pew Research Center found that only 31 percent of self-identifying Catholics said they believe that Christ is truly present in the bread and wine consecrated at Mass, and half thought the Church teaches that the bread and wine are only symbols.

The Year of the Eucharist was originally planned for 2020-2021 as a way to clarify Church teaching and celebrate the Church's Eucharistic faith. It was to begin on Holy Thursday in April 2020, but the closure of churches and suspension of public Masses during that time led to its postponement. The year officially launched in June 2020 on the feast of Corpus Christi, and was later extended to June 2022.

Liz Cotrupi, the archdiocese's director of family life and ecclesial movements, said it was "interesting timing that it all worked out this way," since the USCCB is also calling for a "Eucharistic revival" in the Church.

"Cardinal Seán was ahead of the curve," Cotrupi said in a Nov. 4 interview.

She said her office is "excited" about the speaker lineup for the congress. She said she expects Jackie and Bobby Angel, a married couple, to talk at the end of the conference about how the attendees can bring what they have learned and celebrated about the Eucharist back home to their families.

"You have to take this love of the Eucharist and bring that into your domestic Church. Because, the next day, parishes will be officially closing out their Year of the Eucharist in their own parish, and the hope is that they'll have something ... for families to make that a focus for them as well," Cotrupi said.

In parishes, Eucharistic coordinators have been leading events and programs for the Year of the Eucharist in their local communities. Cotrupi said they are asking Eucharistic coordinators to organize groups from their parishes to attend the conference

"I think this will go a long way for parish solidarity, for renewal, and something exciting for people to look forward to," Cotrupi said.

She said her office is inviting dioceses around New England to the congress, and asking schools to invite students, parents, and teachers.

The event will have Sign Language interpreters and seating for those in wheelchairs. Cotrupi said they are also looking into options for translating the talks into different languages.

In addition to the daylong Eucharistic Congress, there will be an event for youth and young adults at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross the night before. Jesus is Here for Youth and Young Adults will take place from 7:30-9:30 p.m. on June 17, hosted by Father Matt Williams, with music by Village Lights and a message from Jackie and Bobby Angel. Registration for this event will open on Jan. 28, 2022.

There is separate registration for the Eucharistic Congress for priests, who can attend for free and are invited to help with confessions and the distribution of Communion during the Mass.

Registration is open for individuals and groups at Early bird pricing will be available until March 31, 2022, and ticket sales will end on May 22, 2022.