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Fr. Jim Bacik Reminds Us What We’re All About

By: Jeremey Wilson

Fr. Bacik speaks to over 100 at Cleveland Corpus Christi Celebration.
Ranging widely over a variety of topics, Fr. Jim Bacik, pastor of Corpus Christi University Parish in Toledo and a renowned author and theologian, took as his theme a line from Gerard Manley Hopkins: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.” The Eucharist serves as reminder of the active presence of God in all things.

“The Eucharist,” Bacik said, “unites us. The Eucharist is a bond of unity for us. It gives us a sense of who we are, and how we fit in the world, and what kind of a God we believe in. What does the Eucharist say? That the infinite is somehow present in this simple meal of bread and wine. We begin to have a sense that the vast
infinite is present in this finite real world. The extraordinary often appears in the most ordinary of things.”

Bacik spoke at the May 25 Cleveland FutureChurch celebration of Corpus Christi.

But because the Eucharist is at the center of our faith, when it is threatened, so is the foundation of the Church. It is not just central to our worship: the Eucharist, at First Communion celebrations, graduation Masses, weddings, funerals, on holidays and ordinary Sunday mornings, is the way by which the young are introduced to and drawn into the Church. According to Bacik, most young Catholics today grow up outside of the Catholic subculture that once prevailed. “How is Catholicism passed on to them?” Bacik asked. “In the family, surely. And especially then reinforced by the Eucharist. The Eucharist today is even more important than in the past, because it’s the only way we have of enculturating our young people.”

The ever-worsening priest shortage means regular Eucharist is available to fewer Catholics, as more demands are made on fewer and fewer priests. Thus parishes become less central to our lives, and the Church suffers.

According to Bacik, “We’re doing what the Soviet Union did in order to squash the Orthodox Church. They said that the priest could go to his parish and say mass on Sunday, but couldn’t live there and be with the people during the week. There’s a way in which we’re institutionalizing the Soviet strategy.”

Summer 2005



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