The Diocese of Phoenix will again celebrate a Eucharistic Congress Feb. 16-19, but this year, organizers are shaking things up a bit.
There’s a push this year to bring in more young people plus draw on the resources of one of the best-known Catholic apostolates around, Catholic Answers, said Theresa Serrano-Keel, who’s been involved planning the congresses since they began in the Phoenix Diocese in 2009.
Organized by the Friends of the Cathedral, the Eucharistic Congress is a four-day, extravaganza that gathers Catholics from around the diocese at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral.
When: Feb. 16-19 (full schedule)
Where: Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral, 6351 N. 27th Ave., Phoenix
Info: (602) 242-1300
As always, the congress — taking place the first full week of Lent — will feature an array of speakers, 24 hours of confession, a 40-hours devotion and a Vatican exhibit.
“What’s a little different about it this year is we’re having two of our speakers come in from Catholic Answers: Trent Horn and Karlo Broussard,” Serrano-Keel said. “And on Feb. 18 we’re having a youth night.”
Horn will address adults Feb. 16 while Broussard will speak to high school students Feb. 18. Fr. Fernando Camou, ordained last June, will address junior-high-age students after the 6:30 p.m. Mass Feb. 18.
Radio talk show hosts Steve and Becky Greene are the featured speakers for the adult track Feb. 18.
“Steve and Becky will be talking about the domestic Church and the holy Eucharist and your family being strengthened by the Blessed Sacrament. It will be a great evening for family,” Serrano-Keel said.
Coordinators from many of the 18 perpetual adoration chapels across the diocese have been involved in planning the congress. One of them, Loretta Winn, offered her take on the importance of the event.
“The congress reminds Catholics what we have, why we’re Catholic: the Eucharist,” Winn said. “This brings our community together to worship the Eucharistic King. We need to be reminded to put our computers down, to put our technology down and be present with the Divine Communicator, the Eucharistic King.”
The 6:30 p.m. bilingual opening Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted and the closing Mass Feb. 19 will be celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares.
Cristofer Pereyra, director of the Hispanic Missions Office, will address Spanish speakers Feb. 16. He plans to direct his comments toward helping listeners make a plan for growing in holiness.
“Our power, our strength comes from the Eucharist.”
Adoring Christ in the Eucharist is more than just a private devotion, Winn said. “We are not there for only us. We’re praying for the community, for the country, for our priests, for vocations, and to end abortion,” Winn said.