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'Christ's Work Continues Through Us'

Keynote Speaker Kevin Dowd speaks to more than 120 cathechists from across the Diocese of Evansville during Formation Day, held on Aug, 25 at the Catholic Center in Evansville. The Message photos by Tim Lilley

Kevin Dowd, who delivered the keynote on Aug. 25 during the Diocese of Evansville’s Formation Day, told more than 120 catechists in attendance that Christ’s work on earth isn’t finished. “It continues through us,” he said.

Dowd’s theme was “Connecting a Generation to Serve with the Eucharist as Source and Summit.” He talked about the need to tie an acknowledged commitment to service on the part of today’s young people with the mission in the Eucharist. He described them as “Matthew 25 Christians,” referring to Mathew 25: 31-46, in which Jesus explains that those who served others in need were serving him. Dowd said that catechists should work toward connecting those Christians to John 6. He referred specifically to Jesus’ Bread of Life Discourse, found in John 6: 22-59.

“There is a certain approach that can get us there,” Dowd said, before explaining what he called the “three movements of the Mass.”

The first movement is Receiving; receiving the Body of Christ. Dowd talked about the importance of emphasizing the Real Presence of Jesus – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity – in the Eucharist. “‘Do this in memory of me;’ that is the most fulfilled commandment in the history of the world,” Dowd said.

The second movement is Being. “We receive the Body of Christ to BE the Body of Christ,” Dowd explained, recalled that St. Augustine of Hippo said, “Receive what you are, and become what you receive.”

“The Divine Genius of the Eucharist is that Christ can be everywhere through the Eucharist. He did not encounter everyone during his time on earth. But we become the Body of Christ; people encounter Christ through us. We become part of the saving of the world.”

Dowd then discussed the third movement: Offering. He said the key catechetical point of this movement is that we offer everything at Mass to enter into the perfect sacrifice that Christ offered to the Father on the cross. “Sacrifice becomes the act of responding to love with love,” he said.

Throughout his talk, Dowd emphasized the need for catechists to employ storytelling. “When you do that, talk about good and evil,” he said. “It makes catechesis so real; it connects us to each other. Storytelling respects the uniqueness of the individual because each of us hears the same story in a different way … our own way.”

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel opened Formation Day with morning prayer, and Dowd followed with the keynote. The event continued with a series of morning and afternoon breakout sessions. The Diocesan Office of Catechesis holds Formation Day annually in August.