Eucharistic conference focuses on the greatest gift

GREENVILLE—Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers uses a vivid image to show how the Eucharist reflects Christ’s unique bond with the faithful.

“The drop of water added to the wine during Mass symbolizes how blood and water flowed out of Christ’s side when the Roman soldier, Longinus, pierced it after the crucifixion,” he said.

“It also represents all of us. Once you drop that water into the wine, you can’t take it out again, and the Eucharist connects us so deeply and intimately with Jesus that we can’t remove our lives from Him and from God’s love,” the deacon continued.

The Oregon-based evangelist’s talks about the Eucharist, the power of the cross and sharing the Good News were highlights of the annual Marian Eucharistic Conference held Sept. 27-28 at St. Joseph’s Catholic School. Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated Mass for the participants on Sept. 28.

About 400 people from as far away as Massachusetts and Vermont attended, said organizer Heesun Devlin, a member of St. Mary Magdalene Church in Simpsonville.

She has spent many years promoting events about eucharistic miracles and other related subjects to promote the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

“A lot of people don’t believe in the real presence even though they say they are Catholic, and I hope we really proved His presence to the people who attended,” she said. “I’m getting a lot of emails already with people telling us that we really touched their hearts.”

In one of his talks, Burke-Sivers said the Eucharist is a powerful way to realize Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for all, and urged people to remember the crucifixion when they are going through their darkest moments.

“When we have those ‘agony in the garden’ experiences, the real cross appears and helps us believe that Jesus is Lord in every situation in our lives,” he said. “Through his suffering, Jesus wanted to show us how to do the Father’s will, and that even suffering and death cannot overpower His love for us. The cross is a symbol of love and self-gift.”

Participants were also reminded of how many Christians face violence or death when attempting to gather in celebration of the Eucharist.

Father Bill Casey, of the Fathers of Mercy, talked about the stark reality of violent persecution of Christians in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and other places.

“We need to pray for their safety and their protection, and that they will have strength to bear whatever crosses come their way. But along with praying, we also need to be very vocal about what is happening to these Christians,” Father Casey said.

Other speakers included Fathers of Mercy Father Peter Striker, rector at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin, and Ricardo Castanon Gomez of Bolivia, who offered scientific evidence to support Eucharistic miracles in Italy and other places.