Eucharistic Congress hopes to unite Catholics as missionary disciples

Catholics in the Diocese of Gary have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this summer to celebrate their faith and grow closer to Jesus Christ as a rare event, only the 10th National Eucharistic Congress (NEC) in the history of the Catholic Church, is hosted just 150 miles south in Indianapolis from July 17-21.
“This is an historic opportunity to join with fellow Catholics from all around the country,” said Diocese of Gary Bishop Robert J. McClory. “Joining together in such a large and festive setting brings to life our faith. Being encouraged by our brothers and sisters helps us know that we are not alone in our love for our Eucharistic Lord.”
Attendees visiting the gathering will experience large-scale liturgies, dynamic speakers, and opportunities for quiet prayer and faith-sharing, with six "impact session" tracks tailored to peer groups.
Leaders hope attendees become “a leaven for the church in the United States as Eucharistic missionaries going back to their parishes, but also sort of a gathering of people who are standing in the breach, or in proxy, for the entire church across the U.S., inviting that new Pentecost, and that new sending (of) healing and life to the full,” said Tim Glemkowski, CEO of the National Eucharistic Congress Inc., in a January meeting with media.
“The more we appreciate the great gift of our faith, the more natural it is for us to share with others,” noted Bishop McClory. “This Eucharistic Congress promises to be a time of renewal and is designed to send us out on mission.”
The July event, opening Wednesday evening, July 17, and continuing through Sunday, July 21, is the pinnacle of the National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year initiative of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) that began in 2022 to inspire a deeper love for Jesus in the Eucharist. The first year of the revival focused on dioceses, the second and current year on parishes, and the final year, beginning after the congress, on “going out in mission.”
The congress will be held downtown at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, and the adjacent Indianapolis Convention Center. The congress distinguishes itself from other Catholic conferences because it "invites the entire church to come to pray together for revival," said Joel Stepanek, the National Eucharistic Congress’ vice president of programming and administration.
Registration is open for full event and single-day passes at The Diocese of Gary has just a few of its block of discounted full event passes still available; call 769-9292 for information.
For NEC registration information, visit There are options for individuals, families and groups – children 12 and younger attend free.
“Organizers encourage families to attend together, and there is a special track for teenagers,” said Victoria Hathaway, diocesan coordinator for Youth and Young Adults. “This is a celebration of the Eucharist, first and foremost. A full week of speakers, prayer, praise and worship will all be focused on the Eucharist for the culmination of the revival.”
The congress' theme is centered on Luke 24, which describes Jesus meeting two disciples on “The Road to Emmaus” following his death and resurrection. The disciples did not recognize him at first but listened to him explain Scripture, only to later realize their companion was Jesus during their evening meal "in the breaking of the bread.” 
“They raced back to Jerusalem to tell others what they had seen, noted Bishop McClory.
“An event like this tells you that you are not alone in your faith, that there is a huge universal Church, with all the biggest names in the Catholic world speaking to,” said Father Declan McNicholas, diocesan director of Missionary Discipleship and Evangelization and associate pastor at St. John the Evangelist in St. John. “We hear all the time that we need to evangelize, but what does that really mean?
“This congress offers a concrete way to learn about our faith and the Eucharist,” he said. “To evangelize means we share the faith with others, encounter Jesus and surrender our life to him, and this congress gives us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do that right here in Indiana.”
Day one of the NEC, July 17, is themed “From the Four Corners,” beginning at 7 p.m. (Indy time) that day with an opening ceremony in Lucas Oil Stadium. Speakers include Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens, chairman of the board of the NEC; Cardinal Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the U.S.; and Sister Bethany Madonna, a Sister of Life and local superior and mission coordinator of the sisters’ Phoenix foundation.
Day two, July 18, is themed “The Greatest Love Story.” The morning begins with 8:30 a.m. Mass, in English or Spanish, and a Mass for youth.
Next are impact sessions; attendees can choose from six options with “dynamic preaching and music tailored to their state in life and mission,” according to the congress' website. Following a lunch break, breakout sessions and "special experiences" reach out to specific groups or interests.
The evening includes a three-hour “revival session” with Father Francis "Father Rocky" Hoffman, Relevant Radio's CEO and executive director, leading a Family Rosary Across America live from the stadium. Father Michael Schmitz, host of the podcast “The Bible in a Year,” will speak.
July 19 is themed "Into Gethsemane." Friday's schedule mirrors Thursday's, with morning Mass and impact sessions, afternoon breakout sessions and an evening revival session with the Family Rosary Across America's keynote speaker, Sister Josephine Garrett of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
Saturday is themed “This is My Body,” with the morning and early afternoon schedule following the order of the previous days. At mid-afternoon, attendees will form a large Eucharistic procession through downtown Indianapolis.
“A lot of folks who will be out on a Saturday afternoon in downtown Indianapolis will encounter the Lord and will receive the witness that we have, as a Catholic community, of prayer and joy in that city," said Joel Stepanek, NEC vice president of programming and administration.    
The evening includes a revival session featuring the Family Rosary Across America and speakers Bishop Robert E. Barron of Winona-Rochester, Minn.; Mother Adela Galindo, founder of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary religious order and lay Apostles of the Pierced Hearts; and Gloria Purvis, podcast host. Musician Matt Maher will lead worship.
The Diocese of Gary is hosting a Diocesan Day on Saturday, offering bus transportation at a cost of $25 from Our Lady of Consolation in Merrillville for those who want to share the full slate of activities, including the procession, with others from Northwest Indiana. Visit for information on ordering a one-day pass for $125 as well as signing up for the bus.
The final day, Sunday, is themed “To the Ends of the Earth,” beginning with a revival session featuring Chris Stefanick, founder and president of Real Life Catholic, followed by the revival's closing liturgy celebrated by a papal delegate, with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
The morning impact sessions planned for days 2-4 are organized into six tracks: Encounter, Encuentro, Empower, Renewal, Cultivate and Awaken.
The congress also will include an exhibit hall and a display of a replica of the Shroud of Turin, art exhibits, opportunities for confession and adoration, and musical performances.
Large-scale Eucharistic congresses have been part of the Catholic Church for nearly 150 years. The 10th NEC is the first in the U.S. 83 years, with the most recent held in St. Paul, Minn., in 1941.

Look for more details about Diocesan Day at the National Eucharistic Congress, planned by the Diocese of Gary for Saturday, July 20, in the April 7 issue of the Northwest Indiana Catholic or visit