Five-foot-tall monstrance was gifted to a Toledo priest from India, with a goal of connecting Catholics with Jesus' presence
NORTH BRANCH — On May 6, parishioners, friends and visitors to a small rural parish in North Branch experienced Jesus in a big way.
SS. Peter and Paul Parish, the northernmost parish of the Archdiocese of Detroit in north Lapeer County, hosted "An Evening of Eucharistic Revival," and while the Eucharist exposed for adoration was the same Jesus, his home for the evening was unique: a life-sized monstrance fit for the King of kings.
The five-foot-tall monstrance was originally gifted to Fr. Kishore Kottana, a priest of the Diocese of Toledo, by a family who supported his vocation throughout his time in seminary. Fr. Kottana grew up in India, the same place where the monstrance was made in 2020 and then disassembled and shipped to the United States. The 7-inch hosts used for the monstrance are custom-made by the Poor Clares of the Franciscan Monastery of Saint Claire in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.
When a friend of Fr. Kottana's reached out to SS. Peter and Paul, the parish jumped at the opportunity.
Marie Czelusniak, who serves as a member of the engagement ministry at SS. Peter and Paul, said she was skeptical of the idea at first.
“I had some misgivings about promoting an event based on an object. But then I saw the flyer and it didn’t even mention the size of the monstrance — it only said ‘Eucharistic Revival.’ When I started distributing flyers, people got excited about the word ‘revival,’ and so we started to pray,” Czelusniak said.
The monstrance has been used in adoration in parishes in Ohio, but only once before in Michigan, at Immaculate Conception Parish in Ira Township. Given surveys showing a large percentage of Catholics today doubt the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the parish began to pray that the event would draw attendees to experience Christ in a profound way.
On the day of the event, when the monstrance was placed on the altar, Czelusniak said she was flooded with an intense feeling of Christ in His glory. She looked around and saw men, women and children focused on Jesus, directed to him by the beautiful monstrance.
“One woman who went there feeling uncertain about the Real Presence told me afterward that she left feeling refreshed, and that she left all her problems there on the altar,” Czelusniak said. “I know others felt the same way. It assured them that God is in charge and there’s no problem that’s too great for Him.”
SS. Peter and Paul's pastor, Fr. Richard Treml, said the idea for a Eucharistic revival at the parish stems from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' National Eucharistic Revival, which is entering its second year. The initiative aims to restore and foster a devotion to the mystery of the Eucharist, Fr. Treml said.
“I remembered hearing a talk years ago by Fr. John Riccardo about putting out the monstrance after Mass, and how God told Fr. John, 'All you have to do is bring people to me, and I'll come,'” Fr. Treml said. “After COVID, people got into the habit of not coming to Mass. I think we really need a Eucharistic revival now more than ever. We take our faith for granted. We take the Eucharist for granted.”
Fr. Treml was directed to Arrow Osborne, a friend of Fr. Kottana's.
Osborne, a 62-year-old retired police officer from Toledo, has visited Medjugorje, the site of reported Marian apparitions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, more than 20 times since 2010. Inspired by those pilgrimages, he helps bring Jesus to others by taking the monstrance to churches and schools upon request, and by bringing statues of Mary to participate in parades.
“This is beyond important to me, to bring to people’s attention that our Lord, Jesus Christ, is truly present when he is displayed in the holy monstrance,” Osborne told Detroit Catholic. “And in a five-foot monstrance, how can you not notice our Lord, Jesus Christ?”
Osborne will take part in the Bay-Rama Fishfly Festival Parade in New Baltimore on June 26, displaying an Our Lady of Fatima statue, and he also plans to participate in parades in Caseville and Port Austin.
The large host was consecrated during the 4:30 p.m. Mass on May 6 at SS. Peter and Paul. After Mass, the revival began with music, Scripture readings, singing by the parish choir, a rosary, Divine Mercy chaplet, and periods of silence. Some came for confession before Mass and left when the evening ended at 8 p.m., while others stayed for a shorter time. A hospitality area away from the sanctuary provided snacks and refreshments.
Jenny Brusie, 36-year-old mother of four who teaches seventh-grade catechism at SS. Peter and Paul, brought her 10-year-old daughter, Molly, to assist at the hospitality table and to spend time with Jesus. Four of Brusie's catechism students attended as well, including one who participated as an altar server.
Brusie, who attends adoration regularly, considered the remarkable monstrance “a physical manifestation of what you already know is there.”
“It’s that ‘come and see’ mentality, that invitation to step outside the norm. People need that to awaken them to Christ’s presence in the Eucharist,” Brusie said. “That’s what the Eucharistic Revival should be about: getting people excited to come and experience Christ’s true presence. We can’t help them see that if they don’t come. We need to draw them here, and then Jesus does the rest of the work on their hearts.”
The National Eucharistic Revival is a three-year initiative and follows Pope Francis’ call for a “pastoral and missionary conversion which cannot leave things as they presently are” so that the Church in the United States might be “permanently in a state of mission” (Evangelii Gaudium, n. 25). Year one focuses on diocesan revival, year two on parish renewal, and year three on a National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis.
For information about the monstrance, contact Arrow Osborne at [email protected].
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