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.

In an outdoor pavilion, Father O’Reilly delivered the homily, written by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., who was unable to celebrate the Mass due to illness.

“His preparation for this morning was so great and his desire to be here was so strong,” Father O’Reilly said of Bishop O’Connell. “This gathering with families meant so much to him that he really wanted to reach out to you, he really wanted to affirm you, he wanted to let you know that his heart was very much with you.”

Quoting the Bishop, Father O’Reilly said, “Our family is a circle of strength, founded on faith, joined in love, and kept by God, together forever. Parents and grandparents, sons and daughters, brother and sisters, aunts and uncles and cousins, are one fabric of human life, joy, and love. 

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