In a recent interview on the EWTN Women of Grace program, Bishop William Walterscheid, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, described how his prayer life and devotion to the Eucharist began within his family. Bishop Walterscheid recounted how his grandfather taught him his prayers in preparation for his First Holy Communion and modeled a deep faith life for young William. The bishop went on to emphasize, “What you learn in the heart of the family stays with you for your entire life.” And so it was with Carlos Manuel Cecilio Rodríguez Santiago, the first Puerto Rican to be beatified.
At a young age and in the heart of his own family, Carlos Manuel received his first lessons in Catholic faith and life. In his biography, it is stated that “his reception of Christ for the first time in the Holy Eucharist would mark the beginning of a love that would last a lifetime. He became an altar boy and began to experience the riches of the faith through the sacred liturgy of the Church.”
Though his health was not robust, Carlos Manuel demonstrated an untiring apostolic zeal in promoting liturgical renewal and love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. His spiritual strength, fortified by the Eucharist, transcended his physical infirmities and limitations. During his beatification process, many attributed the growth of their faith to his catechesis and the exemplary witness of the integrity of his life. Others attributed the awakening to a religious vocation in their lives to Carlos Manuel’s spiritual fervor.
The Church in the United States is blessed with numerous saints, including Elizabeth Seton, Katherine Drexel, John Neumann, Damien of Molokai, Junipero Serra, Kateri Tekakwitha, and the North American Martyrs. They, along with numerous modern-day holy men and women such as Bl. Stanley Rother, Bl. Solanus Casey, Cardinal Francis George, Fr. Andrew Apostoli, Dorothy Day, Thea Bowman, and Fr. Vince Capodanno found the source of their apostolic fervor and compassion in the Eucharist. Each month the Heart of the Revival online newsletter will feature one of these holy men and women.
The renewing power of the Eucharist that Carlos Manuel and these other American men and women witnessed is echoed in these words of Pope Francis, “We become credible witnesses to the joy and transforming beauty of the Gospel only when we recognize that the Love we celebrate in this Sacrament cannot be kept to ourselves but demands to be shared with all.” May we all do something simple, some spiritual or corporal work of mercy, to reach just one person with the message of Jesus’ Eucharistic Love. Other opportunities for us to participate in the National Eucharistic Revival include praying for the success of the Revival by being a Prayer Partner, providing testimony on how Christ’s presence in the Eucharist touched your life, or becoming a Eucharistic Missionary and committing yourself to prayer, fasting, and service.
God bless you and your families as we strive to grow closer to our Eucharistic Lord. May we look to our modern-day holy men and women as examples of living a life of faith in action centered on Christ present in the Eucharist.
Sister M. Marcella Louise Wallowicz CSFN
P.S. Please remember to check the Eucharistic Revival website: https://www.eucharisticrevival.org/ for information on the 2024 National Eucharistic Congress and additional resources for this Year of Parish Revival.