Eucharist is 'same Jesus who died on the cross,' Bishop Reed says at Shrine

Auxiliary Bishop Robert Reed of Boston delivers a keynote address on the Eucharist at the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak on Oct. 27 during Shrine's first "Live at the Basilica" event. Bishop Reed spoke about St. Therese of Lisieux's love of Jesus in the Eucharist. (Photos by Dan Meloy | Detroit Catholic)

Monthly ‘Live at the Basilica’ series brings big-name Catholic speakers to Royal Oak parish for a night of prayer and discussion

ROYAL OAK — The National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica is playing host to some “heavy hitters” in the Catholic sphere, bringing in speakers from across the country to discuss different aspects of the faith live and in person.

“Live at the Basilica” is a series of monthly talks, with free admission, at the Royal Oak parish, with a speaker list including Boston Auxiliary Bishop Robert Reed, president of CatholicTV Network; Dr. Ray Guarendi, a clinical psychologist and host of EWTN’s “Living Right with Dr. Ray,” and even an astronaut.

The series strives to make these “big names” in the faith more accessible to everyday parishioners, said Fr. Joe Horn, rector and pastor of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica.

“We are trying to bring, as a basilica, more resources to those in our region,” Fr. Horn told Detroit Catholic. “We have got to grow. We have to do this mission the Church is asking, to offer people ways to educate and learn more about their faith and just bring people together after COVID to strengthen them in their faith.”

Bishop Reed the basilica's first guest Oct. 27, telling the audience of about 100 of his devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux, who he calls his “sister saint.”

“I’m so glad I’m with you tonight,” Bishop Reed said. “For many years, I wanted to visit the national shrine to Therese, who I say is my sister in heaven. But I wanted to pray with you. I wanted to be with you here to pray with you tonight, to pray with the saints. And Jesus, our Lord, is here with us today.”

Bishop Reed’s talk, “The Holy Eucharist, Gift of Our Dearest Friend,” detailed the Eucharistic devotion of St. Therese and how throughout the Church’s history, from the early Church Fathers to the Second Vatican Council, the Eucharist has been paramount in the life of the faithful.

Fr. Joe Horn, rector and pastor of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak, introduces Auxiliary Bishop Robert Reed of Boston during the basilica's first "Live at the Basilica" speaker series event Oct. 27.

“St. Therese found in the Eucharist comfort, food, nourishment for the journey,” Bishop Reed said. “At her first Communion, she recalled in her biography, ‘Oh, how sweet was that first kiss from Jesus,’” Bishop Reed said. “God’s will for her was to suffer, to face challenges. But the way she lived, the ‘Little Way,’ she stuck to the Lord; she stuck to the Eucharist.”

The evening began with Eucharistic adoration and prayer before Bishop Reed began his keynote address. After the keynote, Bishop Reed stayed to answer questions about the Eucharist, devotion to the saints, his work on CatholicTV and his opinion on the much-acclaimed series “The Chosen” — which he revealed would air on CatholicTV starting next Ash Wednesday.

After a year of remote events and a disruption of parish life because of COVID-19, Fr. Horn said the monthly speaker series allows parishioners to come face-to-face with prominent leaders in the Church.

“It’s typically an evening where we pray, we receive the talk, and then if time allows, we have questions and answers about their work,” Fr. Horn said. “We do it all in the church, in front of the sanctuary, where we adore the Lord in the Eucharist, and the speaker then gives the talk from there.”

Bishop Reed stressed the importance of Eucharistic theology in the history and teaching of the Church — a point of emphasis in the upcoming United States Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting in November — stressing that, “Jesus in the Eucharist is the same as Jesus in the manger, the same one who was found in the temple, the carpenter, the rabbi, the one who wept for his friend, Lazarus, who was weeping in the garden, who was betrayed, who died on the cross, who opened the locked door and revealed himself to Peter and the apostles.

Reed adoration
Bishop Robert Reed of Boston leads people in Eucharistic adoration before his keynote address at the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica on Oct. 27. Bishop Reed's address is part of the parish's campaign to bring prominent Catholic speakers to Royal Oak.

“I remember in the third grade, our pastor visited the class and talked about a gentleman who lived across the street and wasn’t Catholic,” Bishop Reed said. “He said he’d never been inside a Catholic church, so the priest showed him inside, explaining the stained-glass windows, the Stations of the Cross, the altar," Bishop Reed continued.

"Then they went to the tabernacle, and he explained the Eucharist. The man said, ‘Father, if I believed what you believe, I could not walk into this church; I would have to crawl.’”

“Live at the Basilica” will continue Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. with Dr. Guarendi, followed by Dec. 15 with Angela Theis, a soprano singer and ambassador for the Michigan Opera Theatre. On Jan. 12, Peter Herbeck, vice president and director of mission for Renewal Ministries, will speak, with more guests in store for February and beyond, Fr. Horn said.

“Isn’t it a great example of what Catholic means, to be universal?” Fr. Horn said. “It really gives us special access to individuals we normally wouldn’t have the chance to approach, and we hope to feed the people of Detroit with these speakers.”


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