Eucharist gives Catholics strength


PROVIDENCE – Catholics from a number of parishes said a workshop presented by Father James Ruggieri during Saturday’s portion of the Eucharistic Congress left them feeling uplifted in their faith, as well as closer to Jesus Christ.

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Marie Desilets of St. Charles Church in Providence, along with Antonia Monnaco of Holy Ghost Church, also in Providence, were among about 100 people who attended. They noted that Father Ruggieri’s presentation helped them realize the value of understanding the true presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

“He is the source of our strength,” Desilets said. “As a Catholic, it is important to be a Catholic seven days a week and to take the opportunity the Lord gives us to be in his presence.”

Monnaco, who described Father Ruggieri as a wonderful and holy man, said listening to him speak brought her great joy. Receiving the Eucharist, she said, also fills her will positive emotions.

“I love it because I feel like I’m right there with Him,” Monnaco said of Jesus. “I feel the Holy Spirit in me everyday more and more. I have a lot of faith, and I thank the Lord that He teaches me everyday.”

For Virginia Pavia, a parishioner at St. Patrick’s, the experience of receiving Communion is equally as compelling. Per usual, she was “very impressed” by Father Ruggieri’s words.

“He’s something special,” she said. “He’s filled with the Holy Spirit, and it comes through.”

Father Ruggieri’s workshop, “Lord, I Am Not Worthy that You Should Enter Under my Roof: The Abundant Yield of Blessings from the Eucharist,” was based on the Gospel Matthew 8:5-13, which highlights a centurion’s encounter with Jesus.

When the centurion asked Jesus to heal his paralyzed servant, Jesus offered to travel to his home to help. But the centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” Jesus was impressed with the centurion’s faith, and healed the servant saying, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” The servant was immediately healed.

Father Ruggeri, the pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Providence, said that this disposition of faith, or confidence in the Lord, is something every Catholic must embrace.

“He has such a faith in Jesus that he doesn’t even feel it’s necessary for Jesus to come to his house,” said Father Ruggieri. “It’s a blessing. I hope this simple reminder will aid you to continue your desire to grow in faith.”

He went on to say that is it best to receive the Eucharist with that same disposition and excitement. Being engaged at Mass is important.

“Come prepared; come disposed,” Father Ruggieri said. “My disposition counts. If I’m distracted, I’m closed and unbelieving, [and] I’m not going to receive the fullness of what the Lord desires to give me. It’s not enough just to sit in a pew in body and form, occupying space in a pew. We rush in; we rush out. We have to be there – present, active, conscious [and] with readiness.”

Continuing that feeling in everyday life, he said, is vital to the Catholic faith. Catholics shouldn’t leave the meaning of the Gospel behind when they exit church after Mass. He advised them to be “the living Gospel” by giving witness to Christ.

“We can’t just be ‘Sunday Catholics,’” said Father Ruggieri. “We have to be ‘Seven days a week Catholics.’ It needs to be the center of my daily life, the center in all that I do.”

He said praying outside of Mass is also crucial, as is evangelization. For Monnaco, praying and evangelizing are at the top of her agenda each day.

She said she prayed for a family she is acquainted with and encouraged them to return to the church. To her delight, they recently began going to weekly Mass again.

“They are very faithful,” Monnaco said.

Monnaco, who attends Mass every morning, also evangelizes by being a member of her parish choir, as well as staying active in groups such as the Legion of Mary. This Year of Faith has helped her in many ways.

“You grow everyday,” Monnaco said.

Paiva agreed. She began attending daily Mass when she was seven-years-old, and doesn’t plan on changing that.

“It’s my whole life,” she said. “It keeps me going – like bringing the car to the gas station.”

Desilets also feels fulfilled by Mass, as well as the Year of the Faith. She described the Year of the Faith as “refreshing and inspiring.”

“I thank God for the opportunity because it’s an invitation to everybody, and I took the invitation and got to behold God’s absolute beauty and love,” she said.