National Eucharistic Congress includes special events for priest, deacon participants

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Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas, poses for a photo in the offices of the General Secretariat of the Synod at the Vatican April 12, 2023. (CNS photo/Robert Duncan)

(OSV News) — A special track just for priests has been added to the schedule of the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis July 17-21, with speakers including two bishops and prominent theologians.

The 90-minute “impact session” titled “Abide: The Priest Experience” will be offered on days two, three and four of the five-day congress.

Speakers for impact session for priests

Day Two features speakers theologian Scott Hahn, founder and president of the St. Paul Center, and Father Brian Welter, executive director of the Institute for Priestly Formation in Omaha, Nebraska. Day Three features Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota, chairman of the board of the National Eucharistic Congress Inc.; Dan Cellucci, CEO of Catholic Leadership Institute; Tim Glemkowski, CEO of National Eucharistic Congress Inc.; Jason Simon, president of The Evangelical Catholic; and Jonathan Reyes, senior vice president of strategic partnerships and senior adviser for the Knights of Columbus. Cellucci returns on Day Four, along with Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas.

Day Two and Day Three also include priest-only luncheons sponsored respectively by the St. Paul Center, which offers clergy resources, and Pushpay, a charity donor management system.

Deacon James Keating, professor of spiritual theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, is pictured in a file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Events for deacons

Meanwhile, deacons are invited on Day Two, Three and Four to the Deacon Luncheon Experience, which features as speakers Deacon Dominic Cerrato, director of the diaconate office for the Diocese of Joliet in Illinois, editor of OSV’s The Deacon magazine and director of Diaconal Ministries; Deacon James Keating, professor of spiritual theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis; Deacon Omar Guti√©rrez, president and executive director of the Evangelium Institute in the Archdiocese of Omaha; and Deacon Joseph Michalak, a former director of diaconate formation who is now implementing the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ three-year synod. The deacon luncheon series is sponsored by OSV, the parent company of the OSV News wire service and the Our Sunday Visitor newspaper.

Time of prayer, reflection, fellowship and Eucharistic adoration

In the April 25 edition of Heart of the Revival Newsletter, the National Eucharistic Revival weekly email, managing editor Sister Alicia Torres, a member of the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago and a member of the revival’s executive team, described “Abide” as ” a special experience that has been prayerfully cultivated just for priests at the National Eucharistic Congress. It will be a time of prayer, reflection, fellowship, and Eucharistic adoration for the men God has called and chosen to be his priests and our priests!”

Sister Alicia Torres, a member of the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago and a member of the National Eucharist Revival’s executive team, is pictured in an undated photo. (OSV News photo/courtesy Loyola University Chicago)

She requested prayers for Abide and “that the Holy Spirit will inspire many, many priests to attend Abide at the NEC.”

“And, please pray that this experience for priests will bear the fruit of Eucharistic priestly renewal in our country,” she continued. “The closer our priests are to Jesus in the Eucharist, the more fruitful their ministry will be, in the name of Jesus, our Savior.”

Role within the National Eucharistic Revival

Abide is one of seven impact session tracks at the revival. Others include Encounter, a general track; Encuentro, a Spanish-language track; Empower, an “intimate, community-focused morning series”; Renewal, a community-focused experience for ministry leaders; Cultivate, an experience for families; and Awaken, the congress’s youth experience.

The congress is the pinnacle of the National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year initiative of the U.S. bishops to deepen understanding and love for Jesus in the Eucharist. It will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium and the adjacent Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis and is expected to attract around 50,000 Catholics from around the United States. It will be preceded by an eight-week National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, with groups journeying along four routes with the Eucharist across the country to Indianapolis.

Maria Wiering

Maria Wiering is senior writer for OSV News.