Submit your Eucharistic Testimonial to: email@example.com
The Eucharist is the Source and Summit of my life and faith. The Eucharist has been the source from which my life and mission have come: from discerning my vocation during a pilgrimage to Rome and prayerful time before the Blessed Sacrament, to meeting my future wife in an adoration chapel, to proposing to her in front of the Blessed Sacrament, to discerning the Diaconate before our Eucharistic Lord, to continually and necessarily finding the sustenance to live and minister faithfully in the Daily Bread given at Mass. In the Eucharist, I receive a foretaste of Heaven and receive the strength necessary to, by the Grace of God, get there!
— Deacon Phil Lawson, Executive Director of Pastoral Ministries for the Diocese of Burlington
During adoration or at Mass, I sometimes think God must be a poet. I think, he has created such mysterious and beautiful paradoxes and seemingly contradictory truths. The world is good, yet wicked people persist. At times, it seems His beloved suffer the most. To live, we must die. It is confusing and awesome to contemplate.
Several times each week, I try to attend Mass. I am blessed to be working, but when I am able to do so, I find it nourishing to drop all I am doing and to attend noon Mass. For example, I may bring my worry about this or that, and the homilist will reflect on the frequent directive to “be not afraid.” I am a fearful person, and at such times, I choose to believe Jesus is talking directly to me.
I try to arrive early to Mass; I may say a Rosary, Divine Mercy, or just sit quietly, wanting to offer my presence as my prayer. I picture Jesus looking down at me, and I look at Him. Again, the paradoxes are poetic and profound. I fear the Lord, and yet trust Him. I am undeserving, and yet He loves. am unworthy yet compelled to approach.
Not always, but often, my eyes well. I am not sure why. A particularly insightful priest once suggested to me that folks who have accumulated too much grief tend to shed more tears. That makes sense to me, but whatever the reason, I now think of my tears as a gift reflecting emotional connection with God.
So in my advancing years, the experience of closeness to God during adoration or Mass often brings tears — both of sorrow and joy. Tears of sorrow, because I have not been a better disciple and witness, but also tears of joy, because I want to believe, and I do believe, that I am forgiven my shortcomings and may be rewarded for my poor efforts. Tears of fear as my time to meet my Savior approaches, and tears of hope that, despite my state, I may be with Him in heaven. Daily living is not always easy; these my efforts, to be close to God, though immature, bring me comfort.
— A Parishioner in Burlington
When I first read this question, I couldn’t answer it because there were so many choices. There are many places in history that I would like to witness for myself and see what really happened with my own eyes. After careful consideration I made my choice.
I would go back to the time of Christ. I would like to be a guest at the Wedding of Cana. I would drink the wine He changed from water. I would want to sit and listen to Him preach. I would want to be in the crowd to see Him. I would love to have been part of the Last Supper.
Then it hit me. I do drink the wine He changes from water. I do listen to Him preach I am in a crowd that sees Him. I do attend the Last Supper….every day that I attend Mass, listen to the priest and receive the Holy Eucharist.
How lucky am I!
— Philomena J. Funari, St. Anthony Parish, White River Junction, VT
A few years ago, Father Fred McLachlan (Our Lady of Mercy, Putney, Vermont) suggested to me that I should become an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. At first I resisted because I didn’t feel worthy of such an honor, but gradually Father convinced me to go through the steps and eventually I was commissioned.
On my first Sunday I was standing at the altar beside Father Fred holding the ciborium of hosts while I held the chalice. As I looked out at the parishioners coming forward, I was mesmerized by their eyes. As they came down the aisles to receive the Eucharist, I saw humility, awe, and total belief that they were about to receive the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. For me, it was like a glimpse into their hearts and souls. After Mass as we prepared to close the church I said “Father, father, did you see their eyes as they came forward? Father Fred just smiled and said “yes, I know!” How I wish that every Catholic could stand where I stood and see what I saw that morning and every time I served as Eucharistic Minister. My eyes were opened to the mystery and the power of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist.
— Judith Morton
Formerly: Our Lady of Mercy Parish; Putney (now closed)
Currently: Michael’s Catholic Church; Brattleboro
I was 54 yrs. old and starting over a new life single after spending 10 yrs. with an abusive spouse. The last 5 yrs. were the toughest. We lived out in the forest literally in the U. P. of Michigan. We owned and operated a Maple Syrup Farm. I felt like I had no where else to go. What kept me going was my belief in Jesus. I used to walk my dog and sing “Jesus loves me” all the way.
I’ve always talked to Christ. Nothing sustained me as much as the realization that Jesus was always present with me. This realization was totally independent of my own feelings, my worthiness, and my perceptions as to how Jesus would demonstrate His presence.
Christ was the center of my thoughts. Whenever my mind was free from other matters, it would turn to Christ. Whenever I was alone, and no matter where I was, I would talk aloud to Christ as easily and as naturally as to any human being. This is how very real Jesus’ presence is to me.
After leaving this old life, starting anew in my hometown in Vermont, and moving in with a dear friend, I was heartbroken only because I had to leave my dog and cat behind. My friend had a dog and I did not want to interrupt her household with more animals. I suffered from PTSD and anxiety. So I was very jumpy and depressed due to missing my animals. I eventually ended up with three part time jobs. Sometimes I would get up in the morning and wonder which job I had that day.
Driving to work one morning I was feeling very anxious which at the time was my way of life. I was talking to Christ and listening to a religious music channel, praying for Him to help me with my anxiety. When suddenly, I literally felt a warm embrace coming from behind my seat. Warm arms holding me… I immediately started crying as I felt an enormous wave of Peace overflow me! I knew it was Jesus. I was awed and the anxiety left me. It totally felt like a real hug. I thanked Him over and over and praised him for healing me at that moment. I knew then that He knew me!!! How I felt! He knew I needed that hug.
I attend church during the week as well; this is how I start my day. The Eucharist is the most important part of my day. There are many times I am so in touch with our Lord that I have tears in my eyes when I receive the Eucharist. There is nothing more important to me at Mass.
The Lord is continually healing me. I no longer have the anxiety I had when I first moved home. He convinced me that medication can help. I’ve always been afraid of it due to past experiences. But now I can honestly say I feel “normal” for the first time in a very long time. And I thank God for it.
I don’t know what I would do without Jesus in my life. Going to Mass and receiving the Eucharist is my life. When I do miss Mass, I feel it deep inside.
To this day I continue to talk to Him and I know He is there for me. He protects me. Always.
I love you and Praise you Father for all you do for me.
— Susan B. Blair, Manchester Center
The Mass is important to me. It my priority, all my appointments have to be before or after it because during the Mass, I feel very close to my heavenly Father and my spiritual sisters and brothers and I know that Jesus will be among us in the consecration and pray with us the “Our Father.” It is always amazing to be in touch with our spiritual family.
I used to go in church like routine with my aunt and my parents. I used to be in Catholic School; Sunday Mass was mandatory and Monday we had to explain everything about the Gospel so I had to be attentive because I knew severe punishments will be on me from the teachers and my parents. When I was growing up with good nuns, priests, and good spiritual books, I became what I am now.
Many times I felt and I still feel very close to God during the Mass and in Adoration. Even I consider myself lucky than all people in the Bible healed by just touching Jesus’s clothes, me I receive Him in my hand and eat him. Wow! Not many years ago, I had a dream: I received communion in my hands; it became too heavy for me to carry. I screamed for help. One Bishop came to take it from me. Maybe I didn’t deserve it but since that time I know that it is not only the bread we receive but something powerful.
When I can’t go to the church, I feel miserable. That why if I am lucky to be in it, I pray for people who wish to be in it but can’t. I am always happy to be at Mass and after, I feel blessed.
My spiritual life is kind of a continuation day by day. I am sure that Jesus and Mary are nearby me helping me in all. No big change experienced in my life.
— Capitoline Nyirambarubukeye, Parishioner at Cathedral of Saint Joseph
My first memories of the Mass are from my home parish in Detroit. It was a huge Gothic Church with massive columns and the most magnificent altar whose steps seemed to mount to heaven. The mysticism of the Latin enthralled me, the Gregorian Chant swept over me, I was overwhelmed, enchanted and in love.
My love affair continued during grade school when I use to bike to Saturday Mass just to revel in the mystique. Indeed, I thought I was called to be one of those specials who actually get to wear the robes, swing the incense and lift the host on high. Being an altar boy was just not enough…I enrolled in the minor Seminary for High School.
There, as you might expect, the ars celebrandi was even greater, but the Holy Week retreat my junior year was given by a Jesuit…and I was hooked. Needless to say, after graduation, I joined the Order. My fondest memory [as a novice in the Jesuit Order] was after teaching all day, to gather around the altar at the high school and offer our lives and our day together as a community.
But God had other plans and, at a dining room table Mass with our Director of Special Studies, He knocked me off my priestly pedestal, saved me from wallowing in pride for the rest of my life and called me out of the Order to become a layman, practicing my priestly ministry in the world of Health Care and non-profits with a passion for Theology and Adult Formation on the side.
Not that I gave up on the Eucharist; He stood by me through thick and thin, perhaps better put: salvation and sin. I never truly abandoned the Church, but I did abandon Him,…much to my chagrin and sorrow, often. Even when in the eyes of the Church I was truly, truly bad, He found me, with the depth of His mercy called me back, forgave me and fed me with His immortal life and love.
Fast forward to today, many years have passed. The Mass is the center of my life because Jesus is the center of my life.
Due to my circumstances, I can’t get to daily Mass in person as often as I would like. While online Mass is a poor substitute, it provides me with a daily ration of His word and His unending sacrifice to which I can join my humble offerings of daily life and where I can at least participate in Spiritual Communion, without which I feel totally deprived. Online Mass does have one benefit I could otherwise not enjoy, the wonder and comfort of hearing and seeing the same liturgy all over the world, from the England Isles to the Philippines, India and South Africa… joining the community of the Church, wherever it exists.
After a prolonged hiatus, truly experiencing Adoration for the first time in my life has also deepened my awe and enabled me to develop a true friendship with Jesus. As Benedict XVI said: “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction” (Deus Caritas Est,1). I adore online; I even signed up to be a member of the Tyburn Association of Adoration in Hyde Park, London. Thanks be to God, my assignment is from midnight to one their time, seven to eight ours. Again, like the online Mass, it’s not the same as in person, but with limited mobility and access, God has provided…He has made my paths straight. [Pro. 3:6]
One other way that I “keep in touch” with Jesus in the Eucharist is what I call “Mini-Visits.” Each time I go online,…and during the day that adds up, the first site I click on is Tyburn’s Perpetual Adoration site…Jesus is always there, along with the encouraging greeting by the nuns: “You are welcome to join us in the adoration of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.” I don’t usually stay long, just pop in and out, say “Hi. Thanks. Love You,” and leave. [Sometimes I kid Him with “Be good.”] In any event, it [adoration] keeps me grounded in what is real in my life and helps me focus on discerning and doing His will.
In summary, let me end with my favorite quotes from Pope Francis who truly make the Eucharist the source and summit of our Christian life:
I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day…. he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. (Evangelii Gaudium, 3)
— Paul D. Turnley, Christ Our Savior Parish; Manchester Center
“After being away from the Church for 27 years, I intentionally opened my heart to God. He put the Truth of the Eucharist in my heart and I couldn’t look away. Now, it’s been 18 years of growing in love with Jesus and His Church, Praise God!”
— Monica Cayia, Administrative Assistant, St. Mark Parish; Burlington
The Mass is very important in my life. The sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is so very special and unique to our Catholic faith. The host is transformed and becomes Jesus. In receiving Holy Communion, our bodies are like tabernacles holding Jesus in our hearts and souls. We are so blessed to still be able to go to Mass freely and receive Jesus. There are people in this world that have to practice their faith in hiding. I thank Jesus everyday for the gift of himself.
I thank my parents for instilling in me the Love of Jesus. My mother did a seven year Novena when I was born with a health issue. I had to wear only blue and white as a sacrifice, and we had a devotion to the Blessed Virgin for my healing. This continued until I made my 1st Communion at the age of 7, while praying the Rosary every day. As I grew up learning of my mother’s faith, devotion and sacrifice, it made me realize how much our faith and the Blessed Sacrament and the Mass meant to her and our family and to me. I continue to grow in my faith and love going to Mass to receive Jesus, and to be in the presence of our dear Lord as often as I can.
— Dianne Laroche, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary/St. Louis Parish; Highgate
The celebration of the Mass is an anchor for me. It’s something that keeps me steady day to day. Generally, I attend Daily Mass at least four times every week. And since I have flexible work hours, I attend Eucharistic Adoration four times a week as well. Eucharistic Adoration is, in particular, that place that feels like home. I go there to be at peace with the world. It’s where my heart is at rest. Everything else just drops away.
How did you come to love the Mass in your life?
I guess it developed over time. As a teenager, I had to be dragged into Church. One big part was attending weekend retreat at my home Parish. I was living in Ohio at this point. It became a launching point for additional catechesis in my faith life, which I had missed growing up. And it connected me to other women within the Parish who were also growing more engaged in their faith. That, and the evening Bible Study, which had the same effects — good Catechesis and sincere connections within the Parish community.
Have you ever experienced a closeness to God during Mass or adoration outside of Mass? What was that experience like?
I recently participated in a 10-day Pilgrimage to Italy. While we did have Mass daily, we did not have the opportunity for Eucharistic Adoration. The schedule simply did not allow it. One day, while we were waiting for the side Chapel where we were to celebrate Mass to become available, we were in a Chapel that was just completing their hour of Eucharistic Adoration. Being in that Chapel, seeing the Eucharist in the Monstrance after being away from it for so many days — it pierced my heart. I was just so delighted to be there, with Jesus in the Eucharist.
How does going to Mass affect the rest of your week?
It’s spiritual nutrition — missing Mass would be like missing my dinner. It’s a reminder that this crazy upside-down world is in fact crazy and upside-down. It helps keep me focused on the things that are truly essential. Finding and following Jesus in my day-to-day life. Pursuing virtue, pursuing spiritual truth instead of being constantly distracted by all the glitter and chaos that comes my way.
How has Christ’s presence in the Eucharist changed your life?
He is my home place. This is where my heart rests and is at rest. I come back to His Presence in the Eucharist to find peace. He is the lover of my soul and I can experience that love while I am in His Presence.
— Elizabeth Stuart, Administrative Assistant, Our Lady of the Valley Parish; Randolph & Bethel
Growing up Catholic, I was taught that the Eucharist was Jesus. For years I taught children in the Sacrament program that the Eucharist was Jesus. Looking back on it now, I feel like I was simply going through the motion not fully accepting or embracing this magnificent Truth until years later.
During a rather difficult time in my life, I was asked to sit in for a Holy Hour at St. Mark’s Parish in Burlington. I had never attended Adoration and was unclear on how it worked. That day I had so much going on, I was stressed out, my head was pounding, and I was in a bad mood. After much coaxing, I begrudgingly agreed to go.
As I entered the chapel, I could feel a palpable shift in the air from the flurry of activity outside to the quietness on the inside. I felt peace from within; my body felt lighter, and the air was easier to breathe. I knew at that moment that I was in the presence of something extraordinary.
At first, I knelt in prayer as I normally did when I first come to Mass. Then I sat and simply had a conversation with God in my thoughts. I took deep breaths and allowed myself to surrender to the stillness of the room. Surprisingly, my inexperience did not make me feel inept or awkward. I can only describe it as I felt like I was home.
While looking at the monstrance, I offered thanksgiving for my family, friends, home, and life. I offered up my worries about my children, my husband, and those who were suffering. I asked for reassurance that I was doing the right thing and for guidance to do better. I sat and let my thoughts lead wherever they may go. Being still in His Presence allowed God to speak to my heart. I felt a warmth that embraced and comforted me. There was a sense of intimacy at that moment. It was as though I was gazing adoringly at Jesus and He at me.
I stayed for over two hours that first day yet I left wanting even more. I started to go back daily and eventually took a regular weekly timeslot. I very much looked forward to my time with Jesus. If there was a reason that I could not attend Mass or Adoration, I felt a significant void from within. I found myself needing to be with Jesus and to be in His presence because He fulfilled me. Little did I know that each day in prayer in front of the monstrance I was cultivating a new way of connecting with Jesus. My spiritual life was transforming and come to find out, I was as well.
About a month after my first visit, I woke up one morning feeling something had changed inside of me. I had inner peace and clarity for the first time in a long time. The only thing that I had been doing differently was my frequent trips to Adoration. Was this dark cloud being lifted the fruit of my hours spent with Jesus?
I couldn’t help but think this was true. Because the Eucharist is not simply a piece of unleavened bread! If that were the case, when people began to leave Jesus because of His hard teachings, He would have corrected them. But He never did. Why? Because it was essential that His followers understood what He revealed to them when He boldly proclaimed, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (John 6:51) and “I tell you the truth unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” (John 6:53) Following His Resurrection and Ascension, His disciples never swayed from proclaiming this overwhelming Truth. Rather, they gave their lives to preserve and defend it!
This Truth of our faith needs to be conveyed to our children at home, in schools, and in our parishes. This is an important practice for adults and children to take time in front of the Blessed Sacrament before Mass to be still in His Presence. This shows them how we can rely on God to lead us in all aspects of our life. I have encouraged my children to do this practice as they grow and continue to discern their life.
Spend time with Jesus. Give Him your worries, thanks, and struggles. Then sit in silence and pay close attention to what He says in your heart. When we are still and listen, we can hear what had previously been unheard due to static in our life. It is in this stillness that God will reveal Himself to you and transform you!
We as Catholics are privileged to experience the Real Presence. Whether it is in the silence in front of the tabernacle, monstrance, or resting on our tongue as we make our way back to the pew at Communion. Christ is present and is here with us! I can attest that I was forever transformed years ago simply because I approached Our Lord and surrendered to His grace. To this day, as I ponder a dilemma or need inspiration (as I am writing this article), I make time to spend with Jesus. This has never failed me. Let us never take for granted the wonderful gift God has bestowed upon us. Jesus is present and is waiting for a meaningful conversation with you; all you need to do is show up!
— Valerie Parzyck, Parish Catechetical Leader, St. John Vianney Parish; South Burlington
My parents taught me about God, but they were not church goers. My mom was baptized Catholic as a baby but not brought up Catholic. My dad was not baptized. I felt a lot of peace knowing that God loved and cared for me. I wanted to know more about God, so I began going to a chapel near our home. It was not Catholic.
One day, when I was 9 years old, I was at my friend’s home. She was preparing for her First Communion. I saw the book she was using. I read the prayers in it. When I went home, I wrote the prayers that I remembered. I was very interested.
When she came to me home, she saw what I did. She told the nun that was instructing her for communion. The nun had a priest talk to my parents. He asked them if they objected to me being baptized in the Catholic Church. They said they did not object if this is what I wanted. I did want to come into the Catholic Church. I began taking instructions. I was baptized and received my 1st communion at 9 years old. I know God led me to the Church because at 9 years old I wouldn’t have done it by myself.
Holy Communion has always been a big part of my life. My mom came into the Church and received communion. My Dad was also baptized Catholic. They became church-goers. I have so much to thank God for. I married Hector, a Catholic. We have been married 65 years. We had 7 children, 15 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren (so far).
— Marilyn Isabelle, St. Monica Parish; Barre
Over my ten years as a priest [*now more than 13], the moments of consecrating the Eucharist have obviously given me opportunities for reflection and pause. God, in his mercy and benevolence, has bound himself to my choices as though I were a capable agent of divine intervention. I am a free instrument. It is by my volition and my choice that I carry out the work of the Church, that I administer the mysteries of the sacraments, and that I consecrate the Victim of the altar with the intention of offering the Church’s sacrifice. Yet it is not I. I can really take no credit for that which grace has enabled me to do and led me to do. I have always had some inkling of my unworthiness before God while praying at the altar. Thus I am aware of the great contradiction that I must both speak the words of Christ to the Father, as if my relationship to him is that of Christ himself, and I must listen to the Father who tells me to listen to His Son, Whom I am not. As a priest the offering is made by me. As a sinner, the offering is made for me. Often, at the words of the consecration, I imagine that the Father in heaven is repeating the same words back to me, always desiring to teach me some new insight and mold me more according to their meaning, which I barely understand.
The same memoire also contained this typed script from homily notes that I used when I gave a homily as a deacon, the summer of 2008 at St. Joseph’s in Burlington. They were hand-written, but saved tucked in my Bible for years.
An immense blessing in my life was that I grew up in a devout, practicing Catholic family, with my parents teaching my brothers and I the real riches of the Catholic faith. I was always open to the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood in my life. And when I was in college, I seriously considered only two possibilities for after graduation: go to graduate school to try to get a PhD in chemistry or enter seminary. I decided not to go to graduate school, and instead I came to Vermont to work for the Diocese of Burlington at Camp Holy Cross in Colchester. There were three dioceses that I had considered for applying to for seminary: the Diocese of Albany in which I had lived; Syracuse, the next Diocese west [in which I was confirmed]; and Burlington, the next Diocese to the east.
It was during that summer at Camp Holy Cross (CHC) that I decided “I’m going to stay in VT, the Diocese is in need of priests, they’re willing to accept me, I’ll apply to enter seminary here.” And the rest is history. After five years of seminary, three more summers at CHC, and a summer and then-some at St. John Vianney’s in South Burlington, I am now a transitional deacon for the diocese, transitioning into, God willing, ordination as a priest 11 months from now.
In thinking of what else I could share that would be appropriate for Mass, I wanted to go back, to before I entered seminary, to something I knew and experienced intuitively, but couldn’t really describe until more recently.
When I was in college and trying to discern my way through those years in life, a real source of spiritual nourishment for me was to go to daily Mass, a habit I picked up from my mother. But it was also strengthened in college when I read a certain book which explained how the Mass “makes present” Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary. (This book was the Lamb’s Supper by Scott Hahn.)
And I remember at Mass, and especially praying after Mass for a few minutes in thanksgiving, I would tell our Lord, “Lord, All I’ve got is ultimately yours. I’ll do whatever you tell me to.” That’s a memory of daily Mass I have from before I entered seminary. But when I was in seminary, I acquired a piece of vocabulary that at first I never would have associated with that memory.
The words “Active Participation in the Liturgy” come from Vatican II, and it took a while before I learned what this was referring to. Did it mean just showing up at Mass? Receiving communion? Singing louder? Just saying all the prayers? Trying to pay more attention to the homily? It did mean all those things, but at the root was something greater! Yes we should pray, sit, kneel, cross or foreheads, lips, hearts, bow, etc. But all that should culminate in a spiritual offering where we take all that we’ve got and we spiritually place it on the altar of the Eucharist.
At the root of “active Participation” in the liturgy is this great mystery, that Christ was continually worshiping the Father! And that worship culminated in his sacrifice on Calvary, and that perfect worship happens here in the Eucharist on the altar at each Mass, and we participate in that worship! We take part in that worship. When we receive communion, it’s an act of worship, to receive communion is to say that: “All I’ve got is yours.”
To get back to what I was sharing before though, I never would have thought of it this way. Looking back I would say my disposition, my attitude in going to Mass back then, was one of active participation. And I really think that was a great contribution to my journey to this vocation. A great grace. Then, now, trying to, as a deacon… how to participate, but also, how to live that same prayer. “All I’ve got is yours.” But I pray everyone can receive that grace, because it has been such a blessing for me.
— Angie Paquette, All Saints Parish; Richford
I believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I believe that when we partake of the Eucharist, we share in the spiritual life of Christ. That spiritual life gives me the strength to face the problems, challenges, sorrows and disappointments of life. The reception of the Eucharist allows me to bring Christ to everyone I meet with love because He is inside of me.
— Mary Zullo, Christ Our Savior; Manchester
As He promised at His Ascension, Jesus is with us “until the end of the age.” He is most powerfully and personally with us in the Eucharist. Just as God fed the Hebrews with manna during their desert journey to the Promised Land, Jesus feeds us as we journey to the promise of eternal life in heaven. The Mass celebrates His Passover meal that we recall on Holy Thursday. He invites us to the Supper of the Lord. As in his appearance at Emmaus, he opens the scripture to us, and we recognize Him in the “breaking of the bread.” Jesus is truly present, body, blood, soul, and divinity, in the Holy Eucharist because He said He was then and that He would be when we remember and believe. The Eucharist is food for our souls; it gives life to us. We give thanksgiving to God for it.
— Ann Messier, St. Pius X Parish; Essex
I was raised in New Rochelle, N. Y. and give thanks to God daily for a wonderful Catholic Mother who taught her seven children that the Christ was truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. In the Ranges family, church attendance on Sunday was expected. We were there early for private prayer before Mass and instructed on the reverence of the church. The words of Consecration in Latin were most important when the bread and wine became the body and blood of Christ. Receiving Communion was the highlight of the Mass and always followed by personal prayer. The Dominican Sisters at Holy Family Parish School and the Irish Christian brothers at Iona Preparatory School stressed the importance of Mass attendance and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and both were always a part of my spirituality. At St. Michael’s College as the liturgy began to be celebrated in English, my Eucharistic faith became more personal and I was often at daily Mass and made private visits to the Blessed Sacrament. There I found peace and a foundation to my life. The sacramental Christ was available to listen to my trials and to encourage me. There was a desire to serve the church and dedicated my life to Christ as a religious. The Edmundites on campus were very friendly and encouraged my vocation. As a novice on Ender’s Island in Mystic, Ct, and as a seminarian at the University of Toronto, my Eucharistic devotion only grew and continued. As a priest, especially with the celebration of Mass, these practices are very much a part of my spirituality. I consider it a blessing to celebrate Mass and to be able to spend time in Adoration, never doubting that Christ is totally available to me. My hope and joy is to be united to the Eucharistic Christi wherever I may be.
— Fr. Charles H. Ranges, SSE, Pastor, Holy Family-St. Lawrence Parish; Essex Junction, and St. Piux X Parish; Essex
The Eucharist is the Bread of Life and is the strength of our faith. Upon receiving the Eucharist, I pray “thy will be done.” It is the affirmation that God is saying to me – come follow me. It is the ultimate peace.
— Sandra Ackerman, Our Lady of the Angels; Randolph
It was late Spring 1963 when I received my First Communion. I remember it like it was yesterday. Richard Wright, Rick Desorda and my brother Mike were 3 of the Altar Servers. Richard Wright held the paten as Fr. David Roche placed the Eucharist on my tongue.
I remember the weeks of preparation offered by Mrs. Ellen Kenyon whose reputation preceded her as strict and mean. Oh, if I had but an ounce of the love that woman had for the Eucharist. There was a reason she was so insistent that we have external reverence for so great a gift; I would later learn that those external pious practices lead one to a much deeper interior conversion.
My love for the Eucharist is best described by knowing 3 important principles about my Life in Christ that I would discover by remaining close to him:
- Jesus’ Divinity was veiled by his humanity which we caught a glimpse of, through the eyes of Peter, James & John at the Transfiguration.
- Jesus’ Divinity is veiled by the appearance of Bread & Wine in the Eucharist. We see this at every Mass, as heaven reaches down & opens to us.
- Jesus’ Divinity is veiled in us once we receive his precious body. Once received, the choice is ours…do we bring Him to others by how we live our life? Or do we keep Him all to ourselves, entombed inside us? It’s great women like Mrs Kenyon who was that perfect model of the answer; she shared her love of the Eucharist with me and I hope I do that with others in all I do. And Jesus forgive me for all those times I fail to do so.
— Julie Trevor, St. Ambrose; Bristol
It was revealed to the Benedictine Mystic St. Mechtilde of Hackeborn that three thousand Angels from the celestial choir of Thrones are ever in devout attendance around every Tabernacle where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved.
When I come in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament I first acknowledge the presence of the Angels and thank them for their loving ministry. Then, I follow the directions of St. John Marie Vianney who instructs us as follows:
“When we go before the Blessed Sacrament let us open our heart; our good God will open His. We shall go to Him; He will come to us, the one to ask, the other to receive. It will be like a breath from One to the other.”
This is what I strive to do. This is my testimony.
— Michael, Blessed Sacrament; Stowe
In the Gospel of John Jesus says “I am the living bread that came down from heaven […] and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (John 6:51) and in his writings St. Paul has implored us not to eat the bread which has come down from heaven unworthily least we eat and drink judgment upon ourselves (1 Cor 11:27-29). So when you consider that as a very serious pre-qualifier it moves ones affections and actions towards being right with God first.
I came to love the Mass and the Eucharist in all the hustle and bustle of today’s world, be it going to graduate school, establishing a career and picking up extra shifts at work to cover the necessities and wants for living in the 21st century. I realized that I must schedule God into my life, for so loving is He that He would let me ignore Him if I did not. Sure, the Holy Spirit would prick at my conscience when I was not going Mass. Looking back, I noticed that without God actively present in my life I would be less forgiving towards others- especially family who so often never fail to disappoint; less charitable with my time and money to those in need and just drive pass muttering to myself “God will take care of them” and overall less hopeful in life in general, barely keeping my head above the waters that threatened to drown me at every moment. What I was was more impatient, more angry, more intolerant, more greedy for prestige, honor and worldly glory and when problems in life hit – I was more inconsolable about my troubles.
Like a child seeking comfort, I found myself going to a weekday Mass out of the blue. The gospel that day spoke to me. It wasn’t the pastor’s homily; it was hearing God’s words. I surprised myself when I showed up the next day and the next. Over and over the words penetrated the cold callousness of my heart. I started to pray again struggling with the fact that my belief in the Eucharist was challenging and factoring in the whole point of going to Mass – my life was busy!
Since I work at a youth residential treatment facility, I actually started noticing more and more the treatments, therapies, and coping tips peppered on the walls and learned more about the everyday activities in the program all carried a secular sense of “healing” and when I contemplated my tumultuous youth, I saw how active God was in my past. My family couldn’t afford a therapist growing up with all the issues I had. So, as I thought more about what God had done in my past, helping me along with quiet guidance, timing and providence that seemed like coincidences- it amazed me to no end that indeed He was ever present. To say God’s love is astounding, reverberating, unsurmountable, gracious, is still making light of the impact He has had on me- I was just blind in the past and now I am becoming more attuned to notice at the present. He was constantly telling me He loves me throughout my life, and now it was my turn to say the words ‘I love you’, mean it and live with determination and purpose that in order to do that, I myself must be His hands and feet in the world now. It simply begins with starting your week right, with going to Sunday Mass or making weekday Mass if you could. In the Mass we are nourished by the Body of Christ to combat the very things in life wishing to destroy us- even ourselves.
I just wanted Jesus in the Eucharist and what’s more, I wanted to fix up and dust out the temple of my dusty heart for him to take up residence within me. “A humbled and contrite heart you will not spurn” (Psalm 51:19). So… I needed God, I needed Jesus, and it was not as difficult as I imagined to schedule time with my pastor to go to confession. Sure, it was humbling, there was a lot to unload! So when I started scheduling my life around God and making time for Adoration to thank Him and be with Him, I noticed more and more how I gradually changed from being perfidious to becoming excited to practice charity, pray for others and actually want to practice virtue in my life. It started with going to Mass and hearing the word of God, He won’t change you without you.
— Tanya Cruz, Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales; Bennington
When I was a College Seminarian in Providence, I helped out at a confirmation retreat, and it was a really great experience. Preparing for the retreat I had been praying for these kids for quite some time. At mass that evening, I was thinking about all the experiences throughout the day with them, and how I wish I could bring them closer to the Lord, especially certain kids who were struggling with their faith. When I felt the Eucharist touch my tongue, I felt a peace that was unworldly, and I felt any tensions or anxieties about those kids melt away. I knew they were in the hands of the Lord, and that He was here with me. It felt as if I was in a great embrace, and I could totally trust Our Lord. Indeed, the Divine Mercy image kept coming to me, “Jesus I trust in you!” A tremendous peace came over me for the whole night following that mass. What a marvelous privilege that we can approach the throne of God every day to receive from Him His very presence. We often forget how great a gift the eucharist is; but the fact is that He is always present and always desiring to communicate something of His perfection to us. He is always desiring to make us more like Himself: to burst us from the chains of sin, to clothe us with virtues, to impart the Holy Spirit upon us to live in His divine life. We often only see a little wafer, but indeed it is love itself. The same love who gave Himself up on the cross for us, the same love who split the red sea and crushed our enemies, the same love who rends oak trees and strips the forest bare, the same love who knows every hair upon our head; He is the one whom we receive in the Eucharist. We can trust in His divine power to save, for His heart is oriented to pick us up from our misery and unite us with Himself. He is the good Samaritan who has healed us from our mortal wound. We get to receive such a tremendous gift in the eucharist, God Himself, Love itself. Let us prepare ourselves for such a gift and give Him eternal thanks in it.
— Cale Bombardier, Christ the King/St. Anthony; Burlington Diocesan Seminarian