National Eucharistic Congress features host of Saint Paul Seminary connections

saint paul seminary national eucharistic congress
Twenty seminarians from eight different dioceses will attend the National Eucharistic Congress July 17-21 in Indianapolis.

Several Saint Paul Seminary sponsoring bishops, alumni, priests and current seminarians will play major roles in the National Eucharistic Congress when it kicks off in Indianapolis on Wednesday, July 17.


  • The congress’ speaker lineup includes seminary alumnus and former interim rector Bishop Andrew Cozzens, sponsoring Bishop Robert Barron, alumnus Fr. Mike Schmitz and seminary instructor Jeff Cavins.
  • Nineteen seminarians from eight different dioceses will include the Congress, along with Rector Fr. Joseph Taphorn.
  • The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, which culminates in Indianapolis, included a 7,000-person procession beginning at The Saint Paul Seminary.

Two bishops with ties to The Saint Paul Seminary responsible for spearheading the National Eucharistic Revival. The seminary’s most famous living alumnus. A current instructor who’s taken a lifetime of work in catechesis and uses it to help form seminarians. And 20 potential future priests, all with a devotion to what Catholics believe is truly Jesus Christ, alive and in person, in the Eucharistic bread and wine.

All will convene at Lucas Oil Stadium July 17-21 for the National Eucharistic Congress, which is hoped to be a watershed moment in the revival efforts helmed by Bishop Andrew Cozzens of the Diocese of Crookston. Cozzens was ordained in 1997 after attending The Saint Paul Seminary, where he later lived as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and briefly served as interim rector.

“It’s going to be, really, a gathering of the U.S. Church that we hope will inspire people to make that missionary conversion going home, to take home this great encounter with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist,” said Cozzens, a keynote speaker the first night of the Congress and host of multiple breakout sessions in downtown Indianapolis.

“It’s going to be, really, a gathering of the U.S. Church that we hope will inspire people to make that missionary conversion going home, to take home this great encounter with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.” — Bishop Andrew Cozzens

Fellow Minnesota Bishop Robert Barron of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester — which sends its seminarians to St. Paul for formation — is one of the idea men behind the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Eucharistic Revival, an effort to re-instill Eucharistic devotion and equip Catholics to evangelize the culture with regard to Jesus’ true presence in the bread and wine consecrated at each Mass. Barron is the keynote speaker on Saturday, July 20, the final night of the Congress, and is also hosting a special breakout session for priests.

The founder of Word on Fire Ministries will be joined by fellow online evangelist Fr. Mike Schmitz, who attended The Saint Paul Seminary before his 2003 ordination. The host of chart-topping podcasts the Bible in a Year and the Catechism in a Year will address a crowd that’s expected to top 80,000 the evening of Thursday, July 18 inside the Indianapolis Colts’ home stadium.

“It’s five days of not only deepening your own faith and love for Jesus in the Eucharist, but also learning … how to share the the Good News,” Schmitz said in an Instagram video for the National Eucharistic Revival.

Schmitz’s partner with Ascension and the Bible and Catechism in a Year podcasts Jeff Cavins is scheduled to be part of a Saturday, July 20 breakout session on the Biblical Theology of the Eucharist. Cavins, the creator of the Great Adventure Bible Timeline and host of the Jeff Cavins Show, is an instructor with The Saint Paul Seminary’s propaedeutic stage program and founder of its Catechetical Institute.

The Congress’ speaker lineup also includes Deacon Joe Michalak, former director of The Saint Paul Seminary Institute for Diaconate Formation; Dr. Mary Healy, a frequent guest presenter to Saint Paul Seminary seminarians and students; and Dr. Elizabeth Lev, who led Theology III and IV seminarians on multiple historical tours during their recent pilgrimage to Rome.

Some of those seminarians will take part in the Congress, too. Nineteen men from eight different dioceseses plan to attend the National Eucharistic Congress. Four of them — from Barron’s Diocese of Winona-Rochester — will serve at the event’s youth Mass the morning of Friday, July 19.

Rector Fr. Joseph Taphorn and other members of the seminary’s priest staff will attend, concelebrate Masses and assist with confessions, too.

The congress will begin after Eucharistic processions from four corners of the United States converge on Indianapolis. One of them, the Marian Route, began in Cozzens’ Diocese of Crookston and included a stop at The Saint Paul Seminary.

More than 7,000 Catholics followed Jesus down Summit Avenue to the Cathedral of St. Paul in what still ranks as one of the best-attended stops on the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage. The monstrance used that day is the same one from at the last National Eucharistic Congress, held in 1941 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

But the revival isn’t solely a set of memorable moments in time, Cozzens said. It’s meant to have an everlasting impact on everyone who experiences it, regardless of whether they’re in Indianapolis or not.

“We chose that word ‘revival’ on purpose,” Cozzens said. “We want to bring life back to the Church, and the Eucharist is at the heart of the Church.

“We want this movement to help strengthen and unify our Church by inviting people to a deeper relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist so they can experience healing and conversion, also formation, and mainly so they can become missionaries. It really is an evangelistic movement to try to help the average Catholic deepen their own encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist, then be sent on mission to share that Good News with others.”

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