National News

U.S. Bishops Call Filipino Cardinal’s Role at Eucharistic Congress a ‘Gift’

In this file photo, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, seen during a news conference for the conclusion of the Caritas Internationalis project, “Share the Journey,” at the Vatican June 15, 2021. (Photo: Paul Haring/CNS)

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — In what the head of the American bishops’ conference is calling a “gift,” Filipino Cardinal Luis Tagle will serve as Pope Francis’ special envoy to the National Eucharistic Congress this summer.

According to a May 18 announcement, Cardinal Tagle, who holds a prominent role in the Holy See’s Dicastery for Evangelization, will not only visit the Congress but celebrate its closing Mass on July 21.

“[Cardinal Tagle’s appointment is a] gift to the Eucharistic Congress,” Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, said in a May 18 statement. “[Cardinal Tagle’s] deep passion for apostolic mission rooted in the Eucharist is sure to have an inspirational impact on everyone attending the Congress.”

Cardinal Tagle, 66, is the pro-prefect of the Section for First Evangelization of the Holy See’s Dicastery for Evangelization. Once considered a top contender for the papacy, Cardinal Tagle is seen as sharp and charismatic, with a strong ability to reach people, especially those on the peripheries.

Archbishop Broglio, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, also noted in his statement that Cardinal Tagle knows the United States well, having earned a doctorate in theology at The Catholic University of America in 1991.

From July 17-21, the American bishops expect tens of thousands of Catholics to descend upon Indianapolis, Indiana, for the National Eucharistic Congress. A spokesperson for the congress recently told The Tablet that they have sold north of 30,000 five-day passes.

The final Mass of the congress that Cardinal Tagle will celebrate will likely bring together an excess of 50,000 Catholics at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts.

The National Eucharistic Congress is a part of the American bishops three year National Eucharistic Revival initiative. Launched back in 2022, the initiative is billed by those who have organized it as “critical to rekindling a living faith in the hearts of Catholics across America” and “unleashing a new missionary chapter at this pivotal moment in Church history.”

The initiative started at the diocesan level, before moving to the parish level over the past year. This week, designated pilgrims will set off on four separate 6,500+ mile pilgrimages to Indianapolis, where they will converge to kickoff the congress.

The National Eucharistic Congress — the 10th, and first in 83 years — kicks off the final year of the revival initiative, a “year of missionary sending.”

“The Congress will give public witness to the Church’s core identity rooted in the Eucharist, and we pray that it will inspire a renewed sense of mission as we live out the gifts of unity and charity. May it be the catalyst for a continued deepening of our faith in the Real Presence,” Archbishop Broglio said.