Rediscovering the Eucharistic Fellowship of the Disciples, by Peter Jesserer Smith

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Renewing Catholic discipleship and the Catholic understanding of fellowship flowing from the Eucharist are key to revitalizing Catholic belief in Jesus’ Real Presence.

By Peter Jesserer Smith, National Catholic Register, 10/22/19

Five years into building disciples of Jesus Christ with a slow and steady pace, St. John Nepomuk Church in Yukon, Oklahoma, has started to see remarkable changes.

At this Catholic parish in the heart of the Bible Belt, Eucharistic adoration is growing, parish fellowship is strengthening, and Catholics who may have felt like an island in a sea of Protestantism are now going forth with confidence to carry out the Gospel.

The parish’s ongoing transformation comes at a time when the Catholic Church in the U.S. is faced squarely with the problem that most Catholics do not believe in what the Church means by the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

According to a Pew survey published July 23, seven out of 10 Catholics believe the Eucharist is a symbol of Jesus, but they do not believe what the Church actually teaches and has taught since its inception: that the bread and wine “actually becomes” Jesus Christ — Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

At the same time, however, Pew’s survey revealed a problem that could not be addressed simply by Sunday catechesis on the Eucharist. Most Catholics (63%) who went to Church weekly actually believed in the Church’s teaching — but the vast majority of Catholics do not go to church regularly. Among these, upward of 75% did not believe Jesus is really present in the Eucharist. ….