March 31, 2023

Love for the Eucharist seen in New Albany Deanery evening of reflection

Dominican Father Patrick Hyde, pastor of St. Paul Catholic Center in Bloomington, speaks about the Eucharist on March 16 during an eucharistic evening of reflection at Holy Family Church in New Albany. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Dominican Father Patrick Hyde, pastor of St. Paul Catholic Center in Bloomington, speaks about the Eucharist on March 16 during an eucharistic evening of reflection at Holy Family Church in New Albany. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

NEW ALBANY—Holy Family Parish in New Albany hosted parish staff members and volunteer lay leaders and ministers from across the New Albany Deanery on March 16 for a eucharistic evening of reflection.

They came there for prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, to hear a presentation on the Eucharist and to discuss how they might foster love for the Eucharist in their faith communities.

Eucharistic evenings of reflection like this are happening in all 11 archdiocesan deaneries in March, April and early May in preparation for the start of the second year of the National Eucharistic Revival on June 11, the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus, traditionally known as Corpus Christi.

The first year of the revival has been focused on has been focused on preparation and prayer at an archdiocesan level. The focus will shift to parishes in the second year.

“It was a great experience to see the deanery come together around one of the things that unites us perfectly, which is the Eucharist,” said Father Gries, Holy Family’s pastor and dean of the New Albany Deanery. “Nothing gives us greater communion than that. Christ is made present upon the altars of all the different parishes. He’s the same Lord, the same Christ.”

Tracy Jansen was one of the approximately 130 people taking part in the evening of reflection at Holy Family. The principal of St. Mary of the Knobs School in Floyd County and a member of the archdiocesan eucharistic revival planning team, Jansen spoke of her happiness in joining Catholics from across the New Albany Deanery for prayer and conversation centered on the Eucharist.

“This is exactly where we need to be,” she said. “This was a good starting point to move the hearts and lives of our leaders in our schools and our parishes to help spread this message. Hopefully, we can take this information and our love for Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist into the parishes.”

To inspire the parish leaders to make the eucharistic revival a part of the life of their faith communities, Dominican Father Patrick Hyde, pastor of St. Paul Catholic Center in Bloomington, preached during the evening of reflection at Holy Family.

Designated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as a national eucharistic preacher for the revival, Father Patrick has so far given talks about the Eucharist to Catholics in Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska and New Jersey.

With the Blessed Sacrament exposed just a few feet away in a monstrance on the altar in Holy Family Church, Father Patrick spoke to those at the evening of reflection about the importance of the eucharistic revival in today’s society in which a growing individualism and a focus on technology are making more people lonely and disconnected.

“This is what a eucharistic revival looks like,” he said. “It’s when we allow Jesus to transform our hearts, when we allow Jesus to come into our lives and be the center of our life and gauge everything else off of our participation in the Eucharist, receiving Jesus and taking him into the world. We can then be Jesus for the people in our lives in new and profound ways.”

While parish staff members and volunteer lay leaders and ministers can often focus on concrete plans for their faith communities, Father Patrick encouraged his listeners to never lose sight of the focus of the eucharistic revival.

“It’s not a program. It’s a person. His name is Jesus,” he said, later reflecting that the revival is a “re-centering of ourselves on the person of Jesus present among us in the Eucharist, because Jesus changes everything.”

Such change can be a moment for many hurting people in the Church and the world, Father Patrick said, to experience Christ’s love for them in the Eucharist.

“Not only does God come to us, but he comes to us as we are—with all of the good and all of the baggage,” Father Patrick said. “He chooses you—and this is where the Eucharist is so powerful—because of your brokenness, in your brokenness. He keeps coming closer. He desires us. He chooses us. He literally feeds us. He does not keep us at an arm’s length. He enters into our lives.”

Deepening a love for Christ in the Eucharist during the revival, Father Patrick said, can lead to healing of people in parishes across central and southern Indiana who are struggling and wounded in their own brokenness.

“[Christ] feeds us with himself, because he knows the desires of the human heart,” Father Patrick said. “He created those desires within us. He knows our struggle to make good choices, so he does the thing that God’s perfect love does. He enters into that with us.

“He feeds us, not with something symbolic, but with himself so that we can become one with him and bring other people along with us. He feeds us to change us.

“When the Eucharist is at the center of our lives, it changes us.”

The adoration of the Blessed Sacrament that began the eucharistic evening of reflection ended with Benediction. Then the New Albany Deanery Catholics at the event moved from the church to the nearby cafeteria of Holy Family School to discuss the importance of the Eucharist in their lives and how they can foster a greater love for the Eucharist in their faith communities.

Jansen said she would love to see events like the eucharistic evening of reflection happening in parishes across the New Albany Deanery.

“I feel that the Holy Spirit is really starting to work in this process through the revival,” she said. “The possibility of that happening in individual parishes is exciting.”

Father Gries has already seen a growth of devotion to Christ’s presence in the Eucharist among Holy Family parishioners since he became their pastor in 2018.

“There’s been a deepening of the connection to Christ in the Eucharist, a greater reverence for the liturgy,” he said. “They really like the time with the Lord [in adoration]. It’s a great opportunity for them to pause and connect with the Lord.”

During his time as pastor of Holy Family, the parish has had eucharistic adoration in its church from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday during Lent.

But it’s not just in his parish that Father Gries has seen a growth in love for the Eucharist.

“At this point, I think every parish [in the deanery] is doing some sort of adoration,” he said. “The power of that time in prayer has been helpful for people to realize that the time spent in adoration feeds their love for the Mass. And the Mass feeds and nourishes them to go back into prayer and service. There’s a beautiful connection there.”

(Resources to help parishes take part in the National Eucharistic Revival through prayer, processions, catechesis and liturgical formation can be found at the archdiocese’s eucharistic revival website at

Local site Links: