At the end of this month, the Diocese of Phoenix will host a retreat that aims to inspire devotion to and education on the Eucharist.
According to Catholic Sun, Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted expressed hope that the event will help participants “to have an even deeper sense of awe and wonder at the love of Jesus present under the humble appearance of bread and wine.”
“The more we grow in love of our Savior, the more He can work through us for the good of others,” he said.
The Lenten Eucharistic Mission is sponsored by the diocese and Friends of the Cathedral. It will take place March 28-30.
The event will include Masses celebrated by Bishop Thomas Olmsted and Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Nevares. Speakers from the Denver-based Augustine Institute will include president Dr. Tim Gray and professors Dr. Michael Barber and Dr. Mark Giszezak.
MaryAnn Symancyk, a board member for Friends of the Cathedral and director of adult formation at St. Paul Parish, said the event is for everyone regardless of their theological background.
“They have a beautiful way of teaching the faith and catechizing on every level,” she said of the Augustine Institute, according to the Catholic Sun.
Symancyk said attendees will grow in their understanding about Scripture and its relation to the Eucharist.
“We need to know the biblical references, the history of the Eucharist from the Old Testament through to the New Testament. That’s what the Augustine Institute will bring us,” she said.
A recent study from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate found that 91 percent of Catholics who attend Mass weekly believe in Christ's True Presence in the Eucharist. However, this number drops to 40 percent among those who attend Mass only a few times a year.
One of the main goals of the retreat is to equip Catholics to share their knowledge and love of the Eucharist with others. Attendees will have access to apologetic and educational material on the Eucharist.
“People leave our faith but what draws them back is always the Eucharist,” Symancyk said. “When we know our faith on that level, especially with the focus on the blessed sacrament, the more we can evangelize and the more people stay in our faith or come back to the faith.”