On the eve of the launch of the Eucharistic Revival in the Diocese of Trenton, an opportunity was provided for families from Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties to gather together in faith and friendship.

Families of all sizes and walks of life gathered in an outdoor area of Turkey Swamp Park, Freehold, on a beautiful, late spring day June 18, where they learned more about the three-year Eucharistic Revival that was created by the U.S. bishops with the goal of renewing devotion to the Eucharist among the faithful that kicked off the following day, June 19, the Solemnity of the of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

PHOTO GALLERY: Family Mass and Picnic

The day began with Mass celebrated by Father Martin O’Reilly, pastor of Mary, Mother of the Church Parish, Bordentown, who is co-chairing the Diocese’s participation in the Eucharistic Revival.

"Christ is present in our Eucharist, we are so blessed that we don't truly appreciate what Christ has given us," said Father O'Reilly. "Let us begin this Eucharistic Revival, let it be a pilgrimage filled with faith, let it be a pilgrimage where we say to Christ, 'Take me where it is you need me to go' and go."

Following the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and participants had an opportunity for Adoration in a separate and serene location of the park. Families also had time to enjoy a picnic lunch followed by outdoor games, a puppet show and face and rock painting.

Daniel Jimenez, a rising sixth grade student from St. Joseph Church, Trenton, enjoyed celebrating Mass outdoors and expressed the importance of receiving the Eucharist.

“It’s wonderful to get to see how God’s nature has provided stuff for us,” he offered.

“When we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, we are accepting Jesus into our lives, into our hearts, we are opening the doors to Jesus.”

Tanisha Taylor from St. Aloysius Parish, Jackson, was moved to tears at the conclusion of the Mass as she joined the faithful in singing “I am the Bread of Life.”

“I came from the Protestant religion and I just went through the R.C.I.A (Rite of Christin Initiation for Adults) so I am essentially a ‘new Catholic.’ It makes it more commanding that Christ is actually here and becomes part of you and I think it’s important that Catholics actually understand that.”

While praying before the Blessed Sacrament during Adoration, Herbert Mador, St. Veronica Parish, Howell, reflected on the need for the Eucharistic Revival. Referring to the sobering statistic cited in the 2019 Pew Report that only 31% of U.S. Catholics say they believe that during Catholic Mass, the bread and wine actually become the Body and Blood of Jesus, Mador said, “I was overjoyed to hear this was being done. A lot of people are losing their faith, and this is a tragedy. The Eucharistic Revival is critical. It’s a wonderful thing to do.  For the next three years… that will be great.”

For all news related to the Eucharistic Revival visit: trentonmonitor.com/eucharistic-revival