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WYD Tupperware Tabernacles call for a Eucharistic revival

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Throughout the final night of World Youth Day, the youth were able to adore Our Lord but many found the way in which the consecrated Hosts were kept very concerning and unacceptable. Photo: Supplied
Throughout the final night of World Youth Day, the youth were able to adore Our Lord but many found the way in which the consecrated Hosts were kept very concerning and unacceptable. Photo: Supplied

By Joel Agius

When St John Paul II established World Youth Day, he said to the young people gathered that “in Jesus Christ, God definitively entered the history of mankind. You, young people, should find him first. You should find him constantly.”

The latest edition of World Youth Day saw over 1.5 million young Catholics flock to Lisbon, Portugal, to share their faith and spend time with Christ truly present in the Holy Eucharist.

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While, for the most part, the event was a beautiful celebration of the Catholic faith, there was one issue that occurred on the final night following the Vigil Mass.

An image of three young people kneeling in front of a stack of Tupperware containers with a plant on top began to find its way into Catholic circles on social media. It was soon explained that the containers housed consecrated Hosts, a revelation that concerned many of the Catholic faithful.

Why would Our Lord be housed in such an irreverent manner, rather than being properly glorified and adorned as he deserves?

I spoke with Savannah Dudzik, one of the young people kneeling in the image, to find out what happened and what the response was on the ground at Lisbon.

Savannah, a pro-life worker and faithful young Catholic from Florida, said that it all began when she was walking back to her campsite for the night with some friends.

“The event started with a beautiful opening Mass. There were many talks throughout. There was a whole United States gathering, where the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said some words. There were many other meet-ups that went through the whole week, and then after that was the night-long event camping at the Campo de Graco site where all 1.5 million people went to.

“So my friends and I went there. It’s a couple miles long, you have to walk all across the highway to get there. So we got there and it was wonderful and we were singing praise and worship music, and it gets to be towards 9 or 10pm and we were walking back to our campsite. And we saw what looked like people sort of praying to cactuses or plastic bins.

“Well, I was confused, because obviously Catholics don’t pray to that, and so I asked them what they were doing there. And one of the ladies said, ‘Oh, it’s Jesus, Jesus is in there. We’re praying to Jesus.’ And I realised that they had put Jesus, consecrated Hosts—which has been confirmed—in plastic bins for people to adore, which is completely unacceptable.”

Questions have arisen as to how and why this was allowed to happen. Dudzik says that it is difficult to see how the organisers could not have found a more appropriate way to house Our Lord.

“There’s been a comparison of World Youth Day with Chartreuse, the other more traditional pilgrimage where they had a Tabernacle outside, but it was encased in gold. It was beautiful.

“So, it’s shown that it can be done, and I think that no statements from anyone, from the bishops, from the Vatican, from the World Youth Day organisers, shows that they really have nothing to say in defense of this.

“The argument saying that they couldn’t find a reverent way to keep Our Lord, it’s really silly when you think of the three years of planning and the actual millions of dollars that were put into this event.

“And it’s really silly to say that at a time when there’s supposed to be a Eucharistic revival in the church, they put this on such a low priority that they couldn’t find anywhere to show our Lord than in plastic bins.”

Savannah said that she tried reaching out about the issue to bishops, the Secretary of the USCCB, the Vatican, and WYD organisers, but received no response.

When asked what would be considered most important for church leaders to focus on in the lead-up to the next WYD in South Korea, Savannah said the focus needs to be on the Eucharist.

“John Paul II established World Youth Day to light a fire within the youth and now more than ever that’s needed. So I would encourage all the organisers, bishops and everyone involved to just re-examine what we’re placing the importance on.

“At a time when over 70 per cent of Catholics don’t actually believe in the True Presence, at a time when we’re supposed to be in this Eucharistic revival, we need to place the emphasis, the most importance, on the Eucharist and making sure that the Eucharist is respected and treated as if we do believe this is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus.”

She also said it is important to use appropriate music.

“We don’t need a liturgy that emulates clubs and dance bars. If young people are going to go to clubs and dance bars, they’re gonna go, but when they come to church on Sunday morning, that is not the environment that they should or want to see.

“We have music that dates back thousands of years. Why not use that beautiful music that uplifts our souls instead of trying to modernise everything?”

Savannah told me her message to the Catholic Youth today is this:

“I actually think that young people today, if they’re told what a great issue is and what they can do to help solve it, they will have the motivation to do that. So, I think that I would encourage young people all around the world to read the letters of the Doctors of the church, look back at the history of the Church, and that’s where you’re going to find truth.”

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