Beginning today, the Diocese of Allentown and its parishes and schools across five counties will celebrate the “Year of the Real Presence.”
At the Last Supper, as Jesus shared a final meal with his disciples, He instituted the Holy Eucharist, the sacrament that is most central to the Catholic faith.
Whenever a priest celebrates Mass, he consecrates bread and wine, changing them by the power of the Holy Spirit into the Body and Blood of Christ.
Catholics believe the bread and wine are not symbols, but rather they have been transformed into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, even though they still appear to be bread and wine.
This is known as the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
The Year of the Real Presence will be a time for the faithful to rededicate themselves to, and to reaffirm their belief in, the presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. The year also will be a time for people to rejoice in the gift of their own presence at Mass with families, friends, and clergy.
The Year of the Real Presence coincides with the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Allentown.
On January 28, 1961, the five counties of the Diocese were separated from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to form the new Diocese. On April 11, 1961, the life of the new diocese began with the installation of its first bishop, Bishop Joseph McShea, at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena in Allentown.
“This year will be an opportunity for Catholics in our Diocese to rededicate ourselves to Christ’s Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist and, as the pandemic slowly lifts, to return to Mass to be ‘really present’ with our family, friends, parishioners, and clergy,” Bishop Alfred Schlert.
For more information on the Year of the Real Presence, visit www.YearOfRealPresence.org.