The Eucharistic Conference that took place at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe over March 3–4 offered pilgrims an opportunity to connect more deeply with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Through the Masses, Confessions, and talks given by the Norbertine Fathers, interspersed with times for silent recollection with the Lord, the conference aimed to answer the USCCB’s call for a renewal of devotion to the Eucharist.
The need for such a renewal is great; we cannot live fully as Catholics in the world without understanding the “source and summit of the Christian life” (Catechism §1324). “I grew up Catholic, so it was part of my upbringing,” recalled Susan, a pilgrim who traveled from out of state to attend the conference, “but I may not have valued it as much when I was young as I do now.” Another pilgrim, Jake, described having received his First Communion without a clear understanding of what was happening: “I think I had some kind of intuitive understanding that there was a supernatural reality to it.”
Pilgrims who seek Our Lord’s Eucharistic Presence at the Shrine have indicated a spiritual hunger drawing them to Him. After some time attending a Protestant church, Susan found it to be “very vibrant, lots of beautiful music … but I couldn’t stay there; I felt drawn back to [being] Catholic, because of the sacrament of the Eucharist.” She elaborated, “I feel like I need that closeness to God which comes from the Eucharist, and the strength of that.”
Jake recounted a similar experience: “Once I did come fully to faith in the Eucharist, it completely changed my life.” He now attends daily Mass and regular Eucharistic adoration, explaining the importance of this adoration in his life: “I think just being in the presence of Christ in that physical way gives me a concreteness to my faith and that connection to Christ that I don’t think I could have in any other way.” This deep connection with the Eucharistic Jesus has kindled in Jake a missionary fire: “It gives me the strength to not just keep my faith to myself but want to share the fruits of Christ with other people.”
A Shrine volunteer, Bob, spoke concisely for all: “For any Catholic, it’s the essence of life … it’s the one direct link we have to Him.” He added, “That’s what I’m going to live and die for. There’s nothing else that’s important.”
“One thing is necessary” (Luke 10:42): This “one thing,” this union with Jesus, ever at the center of Mary’s heart, is what she seeks in turn to give to each of her children. The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe endeavors to be our Mother’s hands, extending the means of drawing close to her Son, especially in His Eucharistic Presence. Through her intercession, may faithful Catholics everywhere foster a true revival in Eucharistic devotion, that souls inside and outside the Church may discover the “one thing necessary.”