TOP ROW LEFT TO RIGHT: Bishop Alberto Rojas, John Andrews, Father Hau Vu, Sister Chilee Okoko, Karina Gomez, Magdalena Lopez. BOTTOM ROW LEFT TO RIGHT: Edgardo Juarez, Berenice Villa, John Koss, Mario Martinez, Jose Hernandez, Anthony Gutierrez. (Not pictured: Clare Colella)

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A three-year national movement to refocus the Catholic faithful on the centrality of the Eucharist will culminate July 17-21 with the first National Eucharistic Congress in 84 years.

Catholics from around the Diocese are preparing to make the trip to Indianapolis, including a delegation of 13 led by Bishop Alberto Rojas. Others representing the Diocesan Pastoral Center are Vice Chancellor John Andrews, Vocations Director Father Hau Vu, Department of Life, Dignity and Justice Director Sister Chilee Okoko, D.M.M.M., Karina Gomez and Magdalena Lopez from Diocesan Catechetical Ministry, Edgardo Juarez and Berenice Villa from the Ministry with Young Catholics, Diocesan Liturgical Commission Chairperson Clare Colella, Associate Director of Divine Worship John Koss, and Marriage and Family Life Director Mario Martinez. Diocesan seminarians Jose Hernandez and Anthony Gutierrez will also be part of the delegation.

“I look forward to bringing back renewed energy and insights to share with our communities,” said Colella. “Each of us will continue to learn and grow through this time together, deepening our faith and strengthening our understanding of the love and mercy shown to us through the amazing gift of the Eucharist.”

Fr. Vu said he hopes his journey to Indianapolis will serve as a catalyst.

“I hope it will instill in me a renewed vigor and an inflamed desire to spread the importance and centrality of the Eucharist to those discerning the priesthood and religious life,” he said.

Juarez, the Director of the Ministry with Young Catholics, will also be coordinating a group of 12 young adults who work in parish youth or young adult ministry in the Diocese. Their participation in the National Eucharistic Congress was made possible by a grant from Catholic Extension.

“There was interest from our young adults in attending,” said Juarez. “The focus of the group was those who are doing ministry in their parishes. The hope is that they can come back and witness that we are the body of Christ.”

Some parishes in the Diocese have assembled their own delegation and are looking forward to the Congress with great excitement. St. Peter and St. Paul parish in Alta Loma will send a group of 30 people. St. Joseph Parish in nearby Upland will send a smaller group of five that are also representing the Lay Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.

“I will be able to experience it with my nine-year-old daughter through the Family Sessions,” says Martha Padilla, Youth and Young Adult Ministry Coordinator at St. Joseph, Upland. “We will be blessed to witness the beauty and the grandeur of the Church in one place.”

The gathering will be the 10th National Eucharistic Congress in U.S. history and the first since 1940. Described as a “pivotal, unifying and transformative moment,” the Congress will feature morning Impact Sessions tailored for ministry leaders, families, and youth, among other audiences. Afternoon Breakout Sessions will cover a variety of topics, from Evangelizing through the Eucharist to healing political partisanship through unity in the Eucharist to Biblical Theology of the Eucharist. Noteworthy speakers will include Bishop Robert Barron, Apostolic Nuncio Cardinal Christophe Pierre, Catholic commentator Gloria Purvis and writer/speaker Matt Maher. All participants will gather in the evenings for powerful Revival Sessions at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The local delegation to Indianapolis is just the latest effort in the Diocese to observe the National Eucharistic Revival, which began in 2021. Bishop Alberto Rojas has led Eucharistic Processions in each of the six vicariates of the Diocese; a Diocesan Eucharistic Congress drawing thousands to Aquinas High School in San Bernardino was held in June of 2023; and a diocesan campaign, “In His Divine Presence,” to encourage perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, continues in parishes this year.

The National Congress is seen as a closing event for the Revival, but attendees will receive a sending forth in Indianapolis to return to their diocese in a spirit of evangelization and renewed devotion to the Eucharist.