Phone: 216-696-6525

Toll Free: 1-800-869-6525

Address: 1404 East 9th Street, Cleveland, OH 44114

Why Catholic? Meet Bishop Edward C. Malesic

  Share this Page

Back to news list

First Friday Club of Cleveland program focuses on the real presence, Eucharistic Revival

News of the Diocese

May 16, 2024

First Friday Club of Cleveland program focuses on the real presence, Eucharistic Revival

“Our mission of encounter is to renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the holy Eucharist,” said Father Damian Ference.

Father Ference, diocesan vicar for evangelization and director of Parish Life and Special Ministries, tackled that topic during a presentation to the First Friday Club of Cleveland. The title of his talk was “The Real Presence in the Year of Eucharistic Revival.”

Introducing him was Sister Margaret Taylor, SIW, his eighth-grade teacher at Incarnate Word Academy in Parma Heights. Sister Taylor serves as congregational leader for the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament.

First Friday Club of Cleveland program focuses on the real presence, Eucharistic Revival

Father Ference has spent much time in the past couple of years focusing on the National Eucharistic Revival, which includes the 10th Eucharistic Congress that will convene July 17-21 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. In fact, Father Ference and Lynette Saenz, assistant director of Parish Life and Special Ministries, were appointed by Bishop Edward Malesic to coordinate the synod and Eucharistic Revival initiates throughout the diocese.

He emphasized the importance of the real presence of the Lord in the Eucharist, comparing it to spending time with someone who is loved unconditionally. Father Ference said his father, who was legally blind, spent the last few years of his life in a nursing home and he often would visit him on Sundays after he celebrated Mass at his assigned parish. Sometimes, he’d crawl into his father’s bed and rest while his dad, sitting in a chair, listened to a baseball game on TV.

First Friday Club of Cleveland program focuses on the real presence, Eucharistic Revival

“Just being in the presence of someone who loves you unconditionally is amazing. The Eucharist is like that,” he explained.

The bishops in the United States agreed that there needed to be a renewed focus on the Eucharist, so they initiated a three-year Eucharistic Revival, he said. Father Ference reviewed the revival timeline, noting the initiative launched in the diocese on June 11. 2022. The first year of the revival was the diocesan year, which ran from June 2022 to June 2023. The second year, June 2023 to July 2024, is the parish year and the final year, July 2024 – from the Eucharistic Congress – to Pentecost 2025, is the year of going out on mission.

“The Church asks us to constantly grow in our faith,” Father Ference said, and the diocese offers many of the resources needed.

He cited some of the recent events that helped draw focus to the Eucharist and reenergize the faithful. These included: Nine Nights of Night Prayer; CLE 21:6, a youth ministry program; Black Catholic rosaries; Eucharistic Miracles exhibits traveling to parishes throughout the diocese; Eucharistic processions and adoration; billboards with targeted messages; a Geauga County barn painted with the diocesan Eucharistic revival logo; Evening of Confession during which parishes were asked to have adoration; the Holy Night Hike to seven churches on Holy Thursday with prayer and adoration opportunities; a video series on the Mass featuring Auxiliary Bishop Michael Woost; daily Lenten Eucharistic testimonials (social media); the high school Mass and rally on All Saints Day; intergenerational XLTs (adoration with praise and worship music) with teens at area nursing homes; a student art contest; Anne and Joachim workshops for grandparents and ballpark Masses. In addition, a college student from the diocese is participating in one of the Eucharistic processions from Texas to the Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis.

Father Ference credited the late Father William Krizner, who was chaplain at Holy Name High School for 22 years, including while he was a student there, with helping him to identify his priestly vocation.

First Friday Club of Cleveland program focuses on the real presence, Eucharistic Revival

“He was so human, so down to earth. He was the first priest I could really talk to. He showed me the human face of Christ,” Father Ference said, recalling his late mentor, who died in April 2023. That’s one reason he said he was excited when Bishop Malesic assigned a priest chaplain to each of the five diocesan high schools (those not independent or under the auspices of a religious congregation). This could help students who might be questioning their faith, wanting to dive deeper into their faith or discerning a possible vocation, he explained.

When asked how people can open their hearts more to the Eucharist, Father Ference emphasized the need for a personal encounter.

“That was how Jesus ministered. An encounter will change you,” he said.

He also said totality matters, just as with the recent solar eclipse.

“God the Father gave all he had to us and Jesus poured himself out fully. He completely emptied himself in the Eucharist. God gives all to us. What does the Lord want in return? He wants us to give of ourselves to others. Let him overshadow you as you share your gifts.”

Father Nathan Cromly will address the First Friday Club at its lunchtime June 6 program at the Center for Pastoral Leadership in Wickliffe. His topic will be “Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” Doors open at 11 a.m., followed by lunch and the presentation. Cost is $35. Call 330-800-1493 or click here for details or to reserve a seat.

Subscribe! Sign up to receive news & updates.

Share This


Photo Gallery

1 of 22