By Kirsten Bublitz, The Catholic Sun

Bishop Olmsted delivered an important message during his homily at San Francisco de Asis Parish (SFdA) in Flagstaff, “[Jesus] chooses us.”  

Those words were powerful, spoken after the SFdA community had encountered Jesus in adoration, an outward sign of Jesus choosing us.  

 Bishop Olmsted visited Flagstaff on June 18th, the vigil of Corpus Christi, on the inaugural day of a multi-year Eucharistic Revival that will be taking place throughout the country. The revival kicked off in the Diocese of Phoenix on the morning of June 18 with Bishop Olmsted celebrating Mass at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral, followed by Holy Hour and Benediction. Bishop Olmsted then processed with the Eucharist to St Francis Cabrini Church in Camp Verde where there was also Holy Hour and Benediction, and finally stopped in Flagstaff with Holy Hour and Benediction before the Saturday vigil Mass.  

Bishop Olmsted leads the Camp Verde community in a holy hour of adoration as a part of the 2022 National Eucharistic Revival kick off.

I sang praises of exultation with the SFdA community as Bishop Olmsted exposed Jesus. Incense wafted into the air, awakening all of our senses to remind us that Jesus truly was present. There was an indescribable joy in the air. It’s no coincidence that Bishop Olmsted came to expose Jesus on the day of Flagstaff’s first monsoon rain of the year, a year when the moisture was desperately needed with the Pipeline Fire starting six days prior, growing to become one of the largest fires in Flagstaff history.  

On the eve of Corpus Christi, Jesus was making known His presence, reminding the community that He is amidst suffering.  

Bishop Olmsted reminded SFdA parishioners of this in his homily saying,

“We can find Jesus making a total gift of himself in the eucharist in which he gives us the inner strength and grace to accept whatever pains come our way. There is a value in suffering. That’s why he took on human nature so he can be in the midst of whatever comes our way.” 

Bishop Olmsted remained kneeling all throughout the rosary that was prayed after exposition, led by two women from SFdA. Bishop Olmsted’s love and outward expression of devotion for Our Lady poured out onto the SFdA congregation.  

Bishop Olmsted later reminded parishioners in his homily that it was only through Mary’s “yes” that we were given Jesus, the new covenant between God and His people, “that changed all of human history because now we are not totally separated from God.”  

Bishop Olmsted, along with priests and deacons of the Diocese of Phoenix, prepares to celebrate the Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), launching the local events of a mutli-year National Eucharistic Revival.

The rosary was followed by Benediction, our voices rising together to sing glory and praise to Him.   

Bishop Olmsted lifted Jesus in the monstrance for the final part of benediction, blessing the congregation. I always bow my head during that part of benediction out of reverence, but also because I feel ashamed to be seen by Jesus. Maybe we all feel a sense of shame, afraid to be fully seen by anyone, but also longing for someone to see us.  

As I bowed my head I heard these words: Look up at me, so I can look at you! I ignored the promptings, thinking that they weren’t promptings from Him, but just my own thoughts.  

I lifted my head, thinking that the blessing was over, and, to my shock, Bishop Olmsted was lifting the monstrance with Jesus right in my direction. Jesus was looking directly at me.  

I realized that Bishop Olmsted was doing an extra long blessing, and that’s why I miscalculated and raised my head at the wrong time — or, actually, at just the right time to encounter Jesus.  

It’s through our humble Bishop’s ‘yes’ to bringing Jesus to others that I encountered Jesus, the King of the Universe, in a tiny wafer. He was there, choosing me, choosing to be with all of us. As I listened to Bishop Olmsted’s homily, I thought back to the moment I encountered Jesus, in a tiny host.  

“Greatness comes from smallness,” Bishop Olmsted said. “A small host seems insignificant. The King of the Universe is in each host and it’s also the greatness of God’s love in the covenant.” 

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted elevates the Eucharistic host during the Chrism Mass March 29, 2021, at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Avondale. (Billy Hardiman)