The Catholic Church in the United States is currently in the midst of the National Eucharistic Revival, a movement which challenges the faithful to deepen their relationship with Christ in the Eucharist.
There are many opportunities to participate in the Revival, even in small ways. Attending Adoration, reading the Gospels, or brushing up on Church teaching on the Eucharist – these are a few examples. But a retreat can also provide a valuable spiritual getaway, a period of refuge and mindfulness away from the chaos and busyness of our everyday lives.
In the Diocese of Gallup, there are three opportunities to make a single-day retreat: December 3, 2022, February 4, 2023, and June 3, 2023. Each retreat runs from 10:00am-4:00pm MT at Sacred Heart Retreat Center, just south of Gallup, NM.
The retreats are a special project of Fr. Mitchell Brown, rector of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Gallup. Fr. Brown hopes the retreats serve as a source of formation, prayer, and teaching on the Eucharist which will inspire attendees to return and foster a devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in their own families and parishes.
“We are each called to a deep and abiding relationship with God, especially in His Real Presence in the Eucharist. Starting with these days of recollection will hopefully help to reinforce that reality,” said Fr. Brown. “If Jesus could evangelize the whole world through His twelve Apostles, we can do the same in our diocese with a few people coming for days of prayer!”
And though Catholics meet Christ each week in the Eucharist when attending Mass, time spent in Adoration, which will be a prominent part of each retreat, deepens an individual’s relationship with Him.
“Moments of adoration help us to hear His ‘still, small voice’ calling us further in His service, deeper into His Heart, and further in our faith,” Fr. Brown said. “Pope Benedict XVI once said, ‘Receiving the Eucharist means adoring him whom we receive. Only in this way do we become one with him, and are given, as it were, a foretaste of the beauty of the heavenly liturgy. The act of adoration outside Mass prolongs and intensifies all that takes place during the liturgical celebration itself.’ This can vary in what it looks like for each of us, but it is a necessity that we spend time in the Presence of the Lord, and from there draw strength to do all He asks of us.”
Bishop Wall will lead the December retreat, and Fr. Brown recommends reading the bishop’s exhortation on the Eucharist, Sacra Mysteria Venerari, as well as the Bible or writings of saints on the Eucharist: “Saints Alphonsus and Peter Julian Eymard have many works devoted to the Blessed Sacrament.”
And if nothing else, Fr. Brown notes that preparing for a retreat can also be simple.
“Odd as it sounds, we must prepare for times of prayer with prayer! I would encourage anyone coming to ask the Lord what He wants of them in these days. Be open even to big things, like healing, conversion, and vocation! They can of course also bring personal intentions. I think everyone’s general intention for these days should be that we all grow in love and devotion for the Eucharist.”
Fr. Brown will lead the February retreat, and Fr. Peter Short, pastor of St. Joseph and Madre de Dios parishes in Winslow, AZ, will lead the June retreat.
“Bishop Wall and Father Short were happy to help out in this endeavor. They know that time spent with the Lord—preaching His mysteries and in quiet prayer—is never time wasted. It is our role as priests to lead people to Christ, and days of recollection are privileged moments to do just that,” Fr. Brown said. “Our world is in shambles and chaos abounds. Intentional times of prayer like this are a refreshing moment for the soul to breathe again, and to find courage to continue on in the Name of the Lord.”
In the summer of 2023, the National Eucharistic Revival will move to the “Parish Revival” stage, which will provide opportunities for those who cannot travel to Gallup to participate in the diocesan retreats.
“Until then, I think everyone should make an effort for regular hours of adoration in their parish churches,” said Fr. Brown. “They could also ask their priests for some small event in their parishes as well, like an evening of Adoration if there is not one already, or a study/prayer group on the Eucharist.”
Fr. Brown will also hold an Advent Mission on the Eucharist, which will be streamed live from the Cathedral on December 19, 20, and 21 at 6:30 pm.
“Finally, I’d also ask that in these years devoted to the Eucharist that everyone also pray for and encourage our priests. Without priests there is no Eucharist, and we are living in a time when the numbers of priests are very low. Not only do we need more priests (pray for vocations!), but we also need to support the priests we have with prayer and community. Love your priests, for we love you!”
Retreat Dates: December 3, 2022; February 4, 2023; June 3, 2023. Each retreat runs from 10:00am – 4:00pm MT.
Registration: There is a $15 registration fee for each person (for lunch). To register, contact Sacred Heart Retreat Center at 505-722-6755 or email [email protected]
Watch the Advent Mission Live (December 19, 20 and 21):