Year of Faith

By its nature, the Eucharist is a gift to be shared

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PROVIDENCE — The Eucharist calls believers only to send them away, Father James Cuddy, O.P., S.T.L. told attendees of the Eucharistic Congress Saturday morning in a keynote address in St. Dominic Chapel on the campus of Providence College.

He told some 200 participants in the concluding event of The Year of Faith 2012-2013 that the Blessed Sacrament presents a contradiction.

“The Eucharist is a magnetic force of love that draws us but also repels us to go out; it is a gift that by its very nature demands to be shared,” Father Cuddy said.

The congress offered attendees nine workshops on Saturday that each explored The Eucharist and its power of love.

Father Cuddy’s address, “Woe to Me if I Do Not Preach: The Eucharist and Mission” emphasized the importance of embracing the charity of the Eucharist while never losing sight of the source.

“We can lose our soul in the go, go, go of service,” he said. “It is a necessity in keeping the Lord front and center in one’s life.”

The contradiction of the Eucharist is that it provides “an act of worship and an act of service,” he said. The Eucharist unifies worship and service, provided that it remains the center of the worshipper’s attention.

“When we lose Christ we lose the true significance of our work,” Father Cuddy said.

The Eucharist exists in “a world that is ever more hostile to Christ. We don’t have the luxury of keeping Him to ourselves...the beauty of Christ is made more beautiful when it is shared...the spiritual good news that comes with it grows when the good news is shared.”

Therese Kerin, 23, of East Greenwich, a parishioner at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, is working to share her gift. She and friends attended the congress to hear Father Cuddy and the other speakers.

“About a year-and-a-half ago I wanted to continue to increase my faith, so I joined a group of young people that I heard about at St. Pius V Church,” she said after Father Cuddy’s address. “I wanted to continue increasing my faith with other young people. We meet on Thursday nights and begin with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I feel peace, I feel safe; It is a wonderful feeling. I love being a Roman Catholic. It is a wonderful grace and blessing in my life.”

Judy Murphy of St. Brendan Church, East Providence, the mother of Father Christopher Murphy of St. Thomas More Church, Narragansett, attended the sessions with her friend Susan Sienkiewicz of St. Matthew Church, Cranston.

“That was great,” Murphy said after Father Cuddy’s address. “I look for anything I can do to grow my devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and become a better Catholic. This congress is worth the time. What a way to close the Year of Faith.”

Employing the example of the biblical sisters Martha and Mary, Father Cuddy explained that while Martha’s legitimate hard work in keeping their household running is an important task, the contemplative Mary who spends her day thinking about and talking about their friend Jesus is an example to everyone.

“Jesus gives the charge to the disciples that the Father gave to Him and that extends to us as well through the Eucharist,” he said. “He sends us out and informs that content of what we preach. To be drawn to His power is to go out and tell the world about Him.”

Judy Murphy of St. Brendan Church, East Providence, the mother of Father Christopher Murphy of St. Thomas More Church, Narragansett, attended the sessions with her friend Susan Sienkiewicz of St. Matthew Church, Cranston.

“That was great,” Murphy said after Father Cuddy’s address. “I look for anything I can do to grow my devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and become a better Catholic. This congress is worth the time. What a way to close The Year of Faith.”

Sienkiewicz found Father Cuddy’s characterization of a world hostile to Christ apt.

“How difficult it is to discuss this with people who don’t believe,” she said. “I find people of faith are extraordinarily intellectual and happy. They are the happiest people.”

Two millennia after walking among his people, the real presence of the Lord remains as available as the church around the corner.

“It is important to take time out of our busy lives to pray to the Blessed Sacrament,” Father Cuddy said. “Because Jesus makes Himself so close to us - that wonderful ineffable gift - is so available we don’t even see it.”

He cautioned, “Imagine standing before God at the end of our lives with Him having given us this talent and we have taken this inestimable gift and hidden it. Pray to God that we never have to say we squandered it.”

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