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True Presence


Incense wafts through the air as the shimmering ringing of bells bounces off the walls, reverberating across the Academic Mall as part of the Eucharistic Revival. Fr. Eduardo Rivera CSB ’14, M.Div. ’20, UST’s Chaplain, lifts the monstrance — the vessel that holds the Holy Eucharist — above his head as students, faculty and staff follow in adoration. This is a Eucharistic Procession, one of several ways the University is answering the call of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to educate the faithful in the doctrine of the True Presence — that being Jesus fully present, body and blood, in the Eucharist. 


Prompted by the decline of Catholics who misunderstood the Church’s teachings on the Eucharist, the Conference rolled out a three-year engagement plan called the Eucharistic Revival, beginning at the parish level and culminating with the Eucharistic Congress, a national gathering in Indianapolis in July of 2024 that will call us to deepen our relationship with Christ in the Eucharist.  

At the University, this engagement plan begins by offering Mass twice daily, Eucharistic Processions each month, and weekly opportunities for Eucharistic adoration. We continue to move more deeply into that engagement throughout the year’s theme of True Presence, a call to action for all those on campus to consider how Christ is present within their lives and how they show up for others in their lives.  


“We are animated by the kind of self-sacrificing love that [Jesus] died for us and that calls us to share that kind of love with others,” UST President Dr. Richard Ludwick said. “It gives us the freedom to choose to go and do the things that He would have done. That is the animating power that the Holy Eucharist calls us to, and when we receive it, we take on that Christ-like quality.”   

Through the Eucharistic revival, UST has a unique opportunity to encounter the Catholic Church across America and offer insights and perspectives from our community.  


MAX Studios is leading the charge in national engagement, creating a video series that explores the Eucharist’s impact in the lives of UST community members. They have invited faculty members, like 

Fr. Dempsey Rosales-Acosta and Sr. Theresa Marie “Chau” Nguyen, to discuss the theology of the True Presence and point to where it is found in the Bible. They talk to staff members, including Campus Ministry coordinator Abi Bielstein ’20, who share how participating in the Eucharist influences how they encounter students and colleagues on a daily basis. They talk to alumni, such as Steffani Aquila ’12, about how they live their faith in the working world. Furthermore, they talk to students, including Margaret Edozi, about how they have come to see Christ in our community.  


“Now we have a wonderful opportunity for this Eucharistic Revival,” Fr. Rivera said. “This is an opportunity to truly fall in love with the Eucharist, to understand it better from a theological point of view, and to grow in our spirituality in how we connect with the Eucharist.”  

In addition to the efforts across campus, the University is partnering with the Eucharistic Congress to serve as an official stop on the Eucharistic Pilgrimage Route which begins in Brownsville, Texas.  

Finally, UST will have a presence at the Eucharistic Congress through the MAX Studios team, which will be continuing their series and uncovering new stories of Christ working in the lives of those they encounter.     

For more about the Eucharistic Revival, follow MAX Studios on Instagram — @maxstudiosust  

Alumni and student quotes:

We are wired for community. We need it, and we must have it. And not only community with each other,  but community with God that we receive through communion, through the Eucharist. I think the more our parishes emphasize the importance of community and create opportunities for us to be together, the better off we will be because that is how we get down to the core and nature of who we are. 

  • Steffani Aquila ’12 

I think being able to live on campus has been a unique and beautiful experience for which I am so grateful to God. I didn’t know I needed this community when I came to St. Thomas. I’m always being pushed to grow with this group of young women because I am constantly surrounded by people who encourage me.” 

  • Margaret Edozi ’24
About the Author — Darnell Miller ’10, MLA ‘15

AvatarDarnell Miller is the Creative Director of MAX Studios. He is a writer, photographer and videographer who loves storytelling in all forms. He is a UST alumnus who is passionate about education and study abroad.

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