March 1, 2023 | Opinion
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Bishop William F. Medley lifts up the Eucharist during the Dec. 6, 2022 Mass prior to the Diocese of Owensboro’s Eucharistic Convocation. RILEY GREIF | WKC

An invitation to participate in a Eucharistic listening session


On March 24 of 1980, St. Oscar Romero ended his homily this way.

“This holy Mass, this Eucharist, is clearly an act of faith.  This Body broken and Blood shed for human beings encourages us to give our body and blood up to suffering and pain, as Christ did—not for self, but to bring justice and peace to our people.  Let us be intimately united in faith and hope at this moment.”

At this point, Archbishop Romero was shot to death.

For most of us, the practice of expressing our faith involves little risk.  There is no rifle aimed at our heart or concentration camp chamber awaiting us if we utter words about a personal relationship with One who handles dirty disciples’ feet, heals one wound after another, meets us where we are and surprises us.

During the height of COVID, I was, like many physically “vulnerable” people, told not to come to work.  With our office’s human resource director’s permission, I was allowed to come to the pastoral center chapel to pray the Liturgy of the Hours in my usual chair before the other employees arrived. 

Each day, when it came time for the Intercessions, I reached into the basket of petitions near the altar.  The basket contained prayers sent in by people from all over the diocese as part of the Disciples Response Fund mailings. 

Entering into that sort of intercessory prayer itself can be a risk. There is the petition (a joyous one) for the son who was able to return to the Table of the Lord because of an annulment. And one (also joyous) giving thanks for the daughter who returned to the Church after an absence of 20 years. And one for the developmentally disabled granddaughter who received her First Communion (more joy). And one that the Eucharist may strengthen a loved one in overcoming an oppressive addiction.

In the next couple of months, many of our parishes will offer an opportunity for faith sharing about the Eucharist. Part of our diocesan observance of the National Eucharistic Revival (, this session will include prayer, some small group sharing and some large group sharing. Notes will be taken and insights will be shared with Bishop Medley and some others.  

Some participants may come intending to listen. They may or may not be inspired to share their faith aloud. Some may come to witness about their encounters with the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar and their lives.

When your parish extends the invitation to participate in a Listening Session on the Eucharist this Lenten season, please prayerfully consider it.  Whatever faith is shared there, whatever witness is offered, whatever truths are spoken aloud— we all need to hear it.

Mike Bogdan is the Director of Music for the Diocese of Owensboro and the chair of the diocese’s National Eucharistic Revival planning committee. Learn more at or by emailing [email protected].

Originally printed in the March 2023 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

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Publisher |  Bishop William F. Medley
Editor |  Elizabeth Wong Barnstead
Contributors |  Riley Greif, Rachel Hall
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