Editorial: Eucharistic Revival reminds us of the centrality of the priesthood

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Priests of the Diocese of Nashville lay their hands upon Father Oscar A. Romero Avelino, left, and Father Augustine Mang, right, during their ordination Mass on Saturday, May 27, at the Cathedral of the Incarnation. Photo by Larry McCormack

On Saturday, May 27, at the Cathedral of the Incarnation, the Diocese of Nashville celebrated the ordinations of two extraordinary men, Father Oscar A. Romero Avelino and Father Augustine Mang.  

As Bishop Spalding said in his homily to a packed house, Father Romero Avelino and Father Mang now have the great privilege to “lift up for us Christ Himself in the Eucharist, that great offering of the Son to the Father and the Father giving that offering to us as a whole.” 

These words in the context of such a celebration are a perfect example of how the institution of the priesthood and the institution of the Eucharist go hand-in-hand as they connect us back to the Last Supper.  

“The Lord, having loved those who were his own, loved them to the end. Knowing that the hour had come to leave this world and return to the Father, in the course of a meal he washed their feet and gave them the commandment of love. In order to leave them a pledge of this love, in order never to depart from his own and to make them sharers in his Passover, he instituted the Eucharist as the memorial of his death and Resurrection, and commanded his apostles to celebrate it until his return; ‘thereby he constituted them priests of the New Testament.’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 610).  

With the Feast of Corpus Christi upon us, celebrated on Sunday, June 11, we as a Church in the United States are officially launching the second year of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ three-year Eucharistic Revival, as it aims to “restore understanding and devotion to this great mystery here in the United States by helping us renew our worship of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.”  

With the ordination of these two new priests of Christ, it’s the perfect time to reflect on these central gifts of the faith as dioceses and parishes across the country reinvigorate the Eucharist’s status as the source and summit of the faith amongst Catholics.  

Our priests play an essential role in this as they act in the person of Christ during the celebration of our sacraments, particularly the sacraments of healing, and the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ. 

By focusing on the centrality of the priesthood, we thereby re-focus our sites on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, as our priests become the sole celebrators of the re-presentation of this great mystery at every Mass.  

These men, like all of our priests, make the Eucharist possible. The Diocese of Nashville was blessed with the recent ordination of two exceptional men, so as we reflect on the true beauty of the Eucharist during this time of revival, it’s especially important to reflect on the beauty of the priesthood, too, as we pray for all our priests and for a continued increase in vocations because there can’t be one without the other.  

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