Archbishop Paul S. Coakley
September 21, 2014
St. Francis of Assisi Church
Praised be Jesus Christ! It is my great privilege to welcome you to St. Francis of Assisi Church and to spend this hour together with the Lord in prayer and adoration. Thank you for being here. Your presence is a powerful witness of faith in the midst of what has been a particularly challenging time for our community. I would like to gratefully acknowledge the participation of our Catholic people from around the Archdiocese but also those of you who have come from near and far to join us today. I am especially grateful for the presence of my brother bishops (and their support), Archbishop Beltran, Bishop Slattery of Tulsa, Bishop Kemme of Wichita, Abbot Lawrence of St. Gregory's University and so many priests, deacons and religious women and men. It is a special blessing to recognize here so many Christian leaders and believers from other churches and ecclesial communities who have come to join us in prayer as well.
We gather today in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord who is the source of our unity, imperfect though it might be, and our bond of charity. We just heard our Lord proclaim: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” For Catholics these words from the sixth chapter of St. John’s Gospel are the very heart of our understanding and appreciation of the Holy Eucharist. Jesus does not speak metaphorically when he says, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” It is truly Jesus whom we encounter and receive in the Holy Eucharist.