Parish mission focuses on the Eucharist

Friday, Jun. 28, 2024
Parish mission focuses on the Eucharist + Enlarge
Father Thomas Czeck, OFM Conv. gives the final night of the three-day Eucharistic Revival parish mission at Saint Mary Catholic Church in West Haven on June 19. On the table is a relic of St. Maximilian Kolbe, who also was a member of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual.
By Marie Mischel
Intermountain Catholic

WEST HAVEN — For three nights, the faithful in Utah had the opportunity to learn more about the Eucharist at a parish mission hosted by Saint Mary Parish in West Haven. The speaker was Father Thomas Czeck, OFM Conv., the national spiritual assistant of the Militia of the Immaculata; he is assigned to the National Shrine of Saint Maximilian Kolbe at Marytown, Ill.

St. Maximilian was a Polish priest who died at Auschwitz after volunteering to take the place of another man selected to die as punishment for another’s escape. This self-sacrifice led him to be canonized in 1982.

Throughout his life St. Maximilian had a devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, especially through Eucharistic adoration. He also was devoted to the Virgin Mary, “because she leads us to the Lord,” Fr. Thomas said.

St. Maximilian formed the Militia Immaculata in the early 20th century; its aim is “to win the whole world for Christ through the Immaculata, Mother of God and of the Church,” according to https://militiaoftheimmaculata.com/.

For the parish mission, Fr. Thomas spoke about St. Maximilian’s devotion to the Eucharist and how the Blessed Mother can bring people to participate in the sacraments. He also brought a relic of the saint: a few hairs of his beard, which were cut when he was arrested by the Germans the first time.

During his presentations, Fr. Thomas quoted extensively from two books, For the Life of the World: St. Maximilian and the Eucharist by Fr. Jerzy M. Domanski OFM Conv. and All for the Immaculata! edited by Brother Robert Cook, OFM Conv.

The Eucharist is “God with us,” and St. Maximilian believed that the Blessed Sacrament is the richest of divine treasures on earth and meant for the conversion of the world, Fr. Thomas said. If the understanding is that, through the Eucharist, “we are coming into union with the all-holy, all-powerful God, that God is giving himself to us as our possession, that we will receive and he will be part of us,  his blood with our blood – that is the understanding of the True Presence” of God in the Eucharist, he said.

While much of his presentation was on the theology of the Eucharist, Fr. Thomas also spoke of St. Maximilian’s understanding of the Blessed Mother, which includes the idea that “Our Lady can enlighten us to the truth of the faith and who Jesus Christ is,” an idea that is central to the Militia Immaculata, he said.

St. Maximilian lived in a time when ideologies such as fascism and communism were just beginning. “How do you talk to people that don’t want to talk, only want to prove they’re right and use power to achieve and crush everyone else?” Fr. Thomas asked.  

The answer, he said, is “we come and we allow Our Lady to use us; we introduce them to Our Lady; we let her open up their hearts. We don’t have to argue. We know the truth; we’re hoping to share it with anyone else, but we introduce them to Our Lady … and we allow her to prepare their hearts, prepare their minds.”

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