Despite the challenges of the COVID pandemic, the Catholic Ecclesial Movements and New Communities in the U.S. in Conversation remained optimistic in their desire to once again gather leaders from across the country to share and encourage one another during this very unique period in our Church and our world. Stepping out in faith, it was decided to offer a virtual format where we could come together for a few hours to learn and grow on our journey of evangelization.
On June 12, 2021, we were blessed to have a total of 54 people, representing 25 movements and new communities, take part in this virtual day of formation and sharing. Bishop Sam Jacobs opened with a brief history of the Conversation and its Mission. This was followed by examples of movements working collaboratively within various dioceses, as well as discussion and encouragement about how others could forge those same types of relationships.
Highlights of the day included an overview of “Gaudete Et Exsultate” and the impact Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on Holiness can have on the challenges facing the Church in the US – as well as a discussion on the importance of “Fratelli Tutti” in the life of the Church. The participants had an opportunity to gather in both small and large groups for sharing after these presentations.
Finally, those gathered were blessed with the presence of Bishop Andrew Cozzens, who offered a preview of the proposed “Eucharistic Revival” Project that will be discussed at the Fall meeting of the USCCB. The Bishop cited recent studies that showed less than one-third of Catholics believed in the “Real Presence” of Jesus in the Eucharist and the need for the Church to “return to the basics” in revitalizing this belief. He noted that this will be a multi-year project that will be aimed at every level of the Church – and the movements and new communities can play an important role!
The day ended with Bishop Jacobs celebrating a closing Mass dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. While the participants were not able to meet in person this time, the yearning for building relationships and interaction among the movements and new communities was clear! Another virtual gathering is planned for February 26, 2022.