The Eucharistic Revival at Benedictine College
Hearkening to the USCCB’s call for a National Eucharistic Revival and the College’s plan to Transform Culture in America, Benedictine College will foster encounters with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist through the following new initiatives over the next three years.
• Academic Lecture Series (Fall 2022)
• Symposium on Transforming Culture in America (Spring 2023)
• Book Distribution
• Special Topics Courses
• Perpetual Adoration
• Additional Chapels
• 40-Hours Devotion
• Saints of the Eucharist Lecture Series (Fall 2023)
• Eucharistic Missionaries (Fall 2024)
• Eucharist Video Series (Fall 2022)
• Host National Eucharistic Procession
• Youth Outreach
• “Eucharistic Miracles of the World” Exhibition
A Mission for All Time
The mission of Benedictine College is as old as the Benedictine order and as fresh and effective as the Gospel it is based on. That is because Benedictine College’s mission focuses on precisely the three areas young people need most: dynamic community, thriving faith, and inspiring scholarship. As an evangelistic institution, the mission must also extend outward. That is why the College has instituted a strategic plan to Transform Culture in America. Taking its cue from Pope Francis’s Evangelii Gaudium, Benedictine College seeks to form “joyful messengers of challenging proposals, guardians of the goodness and beauty which shine forth in a life of fidelity to the Gospel.”
Key to this kerygmatic mission is a renewed fervor for the Eucharist. The Eucharistic liturgy “is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows (Sacrosanctum Concilium no. 10).” If we are not ourselves transformed by a constant conversion to Christ in the Paschal Mystery, we have no hope of bringing others to Him. Accordingly, Benedictine College fully embraces the USCCB’s National Eucharistic Revival and will implement it in all departments and ministries throughout the institution over the course of the next three years.
The plan to Transform Culture in America specifically calls for increased Eucharistic devotion. In line with the Revival’s strategic pillars, Benedictine College will redouble its efforts to form students in the doctrine of the real presence of the Eucharist, foster Eucharistic devotion through encounters with Christ, and extend its teaching and witness, cultivating a culture of the Eucharist on campus and beyond.
As an academic institution, Benedictine College takes seriously the need to ground culture in timeless truths. All undergraduate students are required to take Introduction to Theology and two additional faith foundation courses. These courses are designed to ensure a basic understanding of the truths of the Catholic faith, no doctrine of which is more central than the Eucharist. Virtually every class offered by the Theology Department addresses the Church’s doctrine of the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, whether it be through the lens of Sacred Scripture, sacramental theology, or Church history. In addition to this current academic formation, the Department of Theology and the College will undertake the following new major formational initiatives over the course of the National Eucharistic Revival.
• Academic Lecture Series on the Eucharist: In the 2022-2023 academic school year, professors of the Theology Department will offer a public lecture series about the Eucharist. Sample topics include the Eucharist in the Early Church, the Liturgy as the End of All Creation, Eucharistic Themes in Dante’s Commedia, and the Eucharist and Nuptiality.
• 2023 Symposium on Transforming Culture: Benedictine College’s annual conference in Spring 2023 will focus on the Eucharist. The symposium offers a unique forum for current and emerging leaders to share ideas and best practices. Scholars, field professionals, clergy, professed religious, and students present papers on their research and professional experience, providing time for fellowship, reflection, and dialogue concerning topics integral to the New Evangelization.
• Book Distribution and Study: In collaboration with the Theology Department, the College will distribute orthodox books on the Eucharist to students and provide opportunities to further engage the material through book studies and public presentations.
• Special Topics Courses on Eucharist: Throughout the National Revival, the Department of Theology will offer special topics courses on the Eucharist that will allow students to undertake an extended study of this most crucial component of the Catholic faith.
As the bishops’ note in the vision statement for the National Eucharistic Revival, America requires a “movement of Catholics across the United States, healed, converted, formed, and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist.” Benedictine College already has a strong culture of devotion to the Eucharist. Eucharistic Adoration is offered 45 hours each week in Memorial Chapel and 75 hours each week in the local parish. The Eucharist is present in four dorm chapels across campus, providing an abiding presence where the students work and live. Many students are daily communicants, attending one of three Masses offered daily and four Masses offered on Sunday. Benedictine College Campus Ministry also hosts two major Eucharistic processions each year, making manifest Christ’s presence throughout campus. In response to the bishops’ call for a National Eucharist Revival, the College will start several new major initiatives to foster further devotion to the Eucharist.
• Perpetual Adoration: Benedictine College is constantly looking for ways to increase access to the Eucharist. The College will work with St. Benedict Parish to explore instituting Perpetual Adoration, giving students, faculty, staff, and the wider Atchison community the chance to adore Christ in the Eucharist at all times.
• Additional Chapels: Benedictine College is currently undertaking a study to determine whether to focus resources on building a dedicated student chapel or to continue adding small chapels to each dorm. The College is also looking into building a small academic chapel that will afford students, faculty, and staff easier access to space for adoration and communal prayer during the day.
• 40-Hours Devotion: Each spring, Campus Ministry will host a traditional 40-Hours Devotion, consisting of Mass, 40 hours of Eucharistic adoration, another Mass, and a procession.
• Saints of the Eucharist Lecture Series: Following Pope Benedict XVI’s sage advice that “for faith to grow, we must lead ourselves and the persons we meet to encounter the saints and to enter into contact with the Beautiful,” in the 2023-2024 academic school year, faculty and other presenters will offer a lecture series on the Eucharistic devotions of various saints and holy men and women of the Church, including Cyril of Jerusalem, Alphonsus Liguori, Thomas Aquinas, Thérèse of Lisieux, and Archbishop Fulton Sheen.
One of the priorities of the College’s plan to Transform Culture in America is the extension of the mission of the College to off-campus audiences. To do so without witnessing to the Eucharist would belie Benedictine College’s Catholic identity. Consequently, the College’s pursuit of a renaissance of public-spiritedness, dedication to God, and commitment to the truth must be centered in the Paschal Sacrifice. Benedictine College will focus its evangelistic efforts throughout the National Eucharistic Revival through the following new initiatives.
• Train and Commission Eucharistic Missionaries: Benedictine College Campus Ministry will continue to form students as disciples of Christ. In tandem with the Theology Department, Campus Ministry will formalize a training program that will equip students with the practical and theoretical knowledge that they will need to take the Gospel message out to the nations. This program will begin with student leaders prior to the 2024 Eucharistic Congress and be opened up to the wider student body as we encourage all students to be missionaries of the Eucharist in the third year of the Revival.
• Create Video Series on the Eucharist: Over the summer in 2022, Benedictine College’s faculty and Ex Corde Center for Catholic Media will produce engaging videos that convey the truths of the Catholic faith while inviting individuals into closer relationship with Christ.
• Host National Eucharistic Procession: Benedictine College would be honored to use its beautiful campus and facilities to host the National Eucharistic Procession, drawing Catholics from around the area into deeper union with Christ and solidarity with one another.
• Youth Outreach Initiatives: Benedictine College Campus Ministry hosts monthly youth outreach events throughout the school year and several camps and conferences throughout the summer. The 2022-2023 school year and 2023 summer conferences will focus on forming students in the Church’s understanding of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist and fostering the devotion to Him.
• Host “Eucharistic Miracles of the World” Exhibition: The College will also use its facilities to host the “Eucharistic Miracles of the World” Exhibition, providing a forum for the faithful to witness God’s great love for us in every instance of the Eucharist through the unique manifestations in these extraordinary Eucharistic miracles.
Fifteen centuries ago, the Benedictines transformed Western culture by bringing Christ in the Eucharist to the peoples of Europe. Today, Benedictine College’s mission and strategic plan to Transform Culture in America commit the College to the same transformative work that saved civilization from darkness and set the world ablaze. Through additional formation, increased devotion, and evangelical extension, Benedictine College will enkindle a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist in the hearts of its students and the American people.