One of the magnificent facets of our Catholic faith is our belief of Jesus’ true presence in the Eucharist. When we look at life through the lens of God’s sacrifice and his desire to give himself perpetually to us in holy Communion, everything looks different.

We look different to ourselves: worthy, dignified, an object of immeasurable divine love. Our brothers and sisters gain their true stature in our eyes. Our churches and sanctuaries appear as they are: holy and sacred spaces where we meet God. Our troubles and weaknesses look smaller, standing beside the infinitude of tenderness of a Savior who stayed to dwell among us. 

You may be reading this and nodding along, secure in your own appreciation of the Eucharist. But here is a sobering fact: a 2019 Pew survey found that only one-third of practicing Catholics understand that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. I would suggest that behind this sad statistic is a world of hurt and dysfunction, and the reason for things like empty pews, the decline of marriage, the collapse of childbearing, and a general loss of hope in our culture.

Jesus Thirsts

Promotional poster for the documentary "Jesus Thirsts: The Miracle of the Eucharist.” (OSV News/Fathom Events)

The new film “Jesus Thirsts: The Miracle of the Eucharist,” proposes to rescue Catholics, and non-Catholics, from this tragic confusion. 

To do so, the film calls on notable Catholic figures to help explore the biblical origin of the Eucharist: its centrality in God’s plan of salvation, prefigured and anticipated in centuries of prophecy and revelation. Theologian and Angelus contributor Scott Hahn, Supreme Knight of Columbus Patrick Kelly, and writer and speaker Chris Stefanick are among the list of voices included in the movie. Their insights go a long way in helping viewers approach an understanding of what is, at bottom, a physical reality wrapped in an ineffable mystery. 

The spiritual impact of an encounter with the Real Presence is traced as it runs through a prison population of men serving life sentences for heinous crimes, presented by the sympathetic Jim Wahlberg (film producer and brother of A-list actor Mark). The peace we see in those faces poses viewers with a question: What power could be hidden in that wafer of bread? 

A scene depicting Eucharistic adoration in a dusty and impoverished village in Uganda invites reflection on material poverty and spiritual richness. Then there’s the story of Cardinal Van Thuan of Vietnam, who spent 13 years in a Communist prison and sustained himself by celebrating the Mass secretly in solitary confinement, using drops of wine and crumbs of Communion host smuggled in by family members. (He didn’t just survive his captivity through the grace of the Eucharist. He flourished, converting the guards who were blessed enough to be near him.)

Eucharistic heroes like the New York-based Sisters of Life are featured in the film, inviting strangers passing by to join them in adoration at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Their happiness and innocence is infectious, and the reason for their joy is intriguing, even to the areligious. In Chicago we see a Spanish-speaking parish where a large monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament is embedded in a statue of the Virgin Mary styled as the Ark of the Covenant. The Eucharistic life is richer, higher, more glad and loving, than we can imagine. 

This beautifully shot, wide-ranging documentary succeeds in large part thanks to the passion for apostolate that its creators brought to the project. The film understands that in a secular culture often inimical to faith, the arts need to be reclaimed for their proper purpose: the ennobling and lifting of the human spirit. It’s no accident that the film coincides with the high point of the National Eucharistic Revival, launched with the hope of helping Catholics rediscover the source and summit of our faith. 

“Jesus Thirsts” enjoyed a wildly successful limited run the first weekend of June across the country, selling out and becoming the second-highest grossing documentary of 2024 so far. Because of popular demand, Fathom Films will bring it back to theaters June 18-26. 

Don’t miss this lovely work, or the opportunity to bring a friend or family member to an encounter with the magnificent reality of the Eucharist.

For more information about “Jesus Thirsts,” visit