ABOUT THE BOOK
For the Catholic Church to rediscover its life and energy, the Church will have to pay attention to the parish itself. The one lasting source of parish renewal is the same as it always has been: the Eucharist. It is the main way Christ forms his Church. It is our Source and Summit. But for the Eucharist to form parishioners deeply, they have to come prepared and attentive. Many Catholics come to mass severely limited in their ability to hear and to respond. They live in a culture that continually forms them to be “on the go,” overly stimulated, and lacking in silence and depth. This book focuses entirely on preparing the minds and hearts of parishioners for the upcoming Sunday Eucharist in ways that are simple enough that anyone can do. The pastor and pastoral leaders need to keep focused on this one goal and not let the many distractions that take so much time and energy get in the way. Implementing this vision will take some time and energy but pastors and those doing the work with him will find great energy in the fruits of it. This book is a practical and realistic approach to staying about the basic purpose of the parish. Letting the Eucharist be what it is truly meant to be is the only thing that will transform parish.
“The Church evangelizes and is herself evangelized through the beauty of the liturgy which is both a celebration and the source of her renewed self-giving.” Pope Francis “The Joy of the Gospel”
As a Catholic and as a priest I am excited by Fr. Art’s and Theresa Doyle’s laser-like focus on the priority of the Sunday Eucharist. The small Church community is not the goal in this model of parish. It is the structure that, I would join in arguing, best leads us into a transformative participation in the Sunday Mass. Nowhere else have I seen an approach to small communities or, for that matter, to parish, that draws so deeply, faithfully and practically on the best of our Catholic faith tradition. I believe this work will offer new hope and clarity to pastors and parishioners all over who are pouring their lives out for the Church but longing to see a more profound awakening to a lived faith.
Fr. Bill Thaden, Diocese of Cleveland
I am convinced that Eucharist at the Center correctly diagnoses the current dilemma in the church today and offers the right remedy. Basically, I would describe the dilemma as the disconnect people experience from God. There are many reasons for this disconnect, but I would point to the underlying cause being a lonely despair that doubts anyone, human or divine, can possibly fill. Modern secularization makes it worse because the secular culture does not believe that spiritual and substantive relationships are even possible. Spiritual life-changing relationships seem to be a fantasy at best.
In Eucharist at the Center we learn a process that restores the growth of the Church which Vatican II Constitution on Divine Revelation calls for “through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts (see Luke 2:19,51) through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience”(#8). The goal here is personal appropriation and understanding of how God is gripping me at this time and in this way. Resting with that Word helps one understand the spiritual realities which they experience.
Fr. Scott Goodfellow, Diocese of Cleveland