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Father Muench Says...

Grateful for priesthood, Eucharist

March 2, 2022

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

I like Lent. Each year I realize that I need a Lenten Retreat. This year, my Lenten dedication is my gratitude to my Lord, especially for my priesthood. So, this year my plan is to offer my Lenten prayers and penitential sacrifices as my act of gratitude that God chose me to be a priest and that I have had a lifetime to celebrate the Blessed Eucharist through the Holy Mass.

I have written often of how important the Blessed Eucharist has been to me and to my priesthood. I love celebrating Mass, and that the reception of Holy Communion has been an important part of my Catholic spirituality. I remember that even when I have been in the hospital for an operation, although it was only a short time, I found unique strength and spiritual power when a lay Eucharistic Minister of Communion brought Holy Communion to me.

I want to share with you that I discovered as a seminarian the joy of praying silently in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, the Blessed Eucharist reserved in the tabernacle in the chapel or in the Church. I have discovered that I do not need any words. It’s about just being present to the Lord and allowing my Savior to enter my life and become part of my very being. It is a transforming moment, being with the Lord, my God.

Let me also tell you how I appreciate the many opportunities as a pastor when I have brought the Blessed Eucharist to the homebound sick, to those who were in the hospital or to the dying as I bring to them the Anointing of the Sick. I have found a certain peace and even power when carrying the Eucharist with me as I travel around visiting the sick.

During Lent, as a community, we all remember and celebrate the Blessed Eucharist in a special way on the feast of Holy Thursday as we celebrate the Mass that remember the Last Supper. In faith, we believe that at that Last Supper, Jesus instituted the Blessed Eucharist. Each time I celebrate Mass as a priest, I say the very same words that Jesus used at the Last Supper as he instituted the Blessed Eucharist.

Eucharist – the very word means Thanksgiving, gratitude. Each time I celebrate Mass, I can express my gratitude for the incarnation of Our Lord Jesus, my Lord and Savior. Jesus was born in Bethlehem to become one of us. Jesus lived among us. Jesus taught us and led us to be his disciples, to be his saints. Jesus died for us. Jesus rose again to new life, his resurrection. This Jesus instituted the Blessed Eucharist, and through this sacrament, through our Holy Mass, the Lord remains with us for all time. We believe that the Lord Jesus lives and touches our lives with his loving and healing power, transforming each one of us to live good and happy lives through the life and power of the Blessed Eucharist.

So, Lent becomes each year a unique opportunity for me to make a retreat. It’s a special time of prayer and fasting, a time of reconciliation to unite my life with that of the Lord Jesus through the Blessed Eucharist.

This is a special time when I can celebrate the importance of the Eucharist in my priesthood and my life as a priest.

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