Make the Congress Your Eucharistic Retreat!


Every day, Christ calls us to conversion!  But, buried in our daily activities, we often fail to answer Him.  Do something about it!  Mark your calendar and come to Madison’s Eucharistic Congress—Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2023—to celebrate our love of Jesus in the Eucharist.  It will be a weekend of festivity, fellowship, music, talks, prayer, worship, and joyful activity.  At the same time, it will be a retreat where the Holy Spirit works toward your conversion…again

We often think of conversion as one dramatic moment when the Holy Spirit changed our life.  But that moment is only a snapshot—a freeze frame—in a lifelong video filled with an endless series of conversions.  The world’s dust constantly clings to our souls, and so, conversion is constantly needed to wash it away.  America’s bishops wrote, “We are all sinners…we need continually to heed Christ’s call to conversion.”1

Continue your conversion in love of God!

Yes, conversion is about turning from sin.  But ultimately, it’s about turning to love.  The Holy Spirit opens our mind, heart, and soul to encounter God in a new, radical way.  He gradually converts our self-love (our heart of stone) to love of God (a heart of flesh):

A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ez 36:26)

And conversion is constant because our love of God gradually deepens.

A conversion born of the Eucharist

But the Congress focuses on a particular conversion.  Pope Benedict XVI wrote about a “conversion born of the Eucharist”.2  What does that mean?  At every Mass, Jesus confronts us with His death on the Cross for love of us.  The transcendent God stooped down to lift us up from our sins.  Then He came to stay in the Eucharist as a living testimony of divine love, walking with us, even within us.  Our conversion is truly “born of the Eucharist.”

In fact, “there is no deep conversion in a Catholic life without a new perception of the Eucharist”.3  With renewed fervency, our converted hearts see a reality that exceeds all others—God with us in the Blessed Sacrament!

So, when you come to the Congress, prepare your heart and soul for a conversion born of the Eucharist, not once, but…again…and again,…for the rest of your life.  You can attend one day or one talk.  But the more time you invest, the deeper the conversion.

We can approach a pool by dipping our toes in the water, or we can dive in.  Likewise, we can dip our toes for a talk, or we can dive in for “an immersion in God, an absorption in the Beloved”.4  Take the dive!  If possible, come for all three days!  Think of the Congress as a retreat!

Make the Congress your retreat!

Within the Congress’s fellowship, music, and joyful activity, you will also find all the components of a retreat: Mass, Confession, talks, silence, spiritual direction, Adoration, prayer, solitude, and reflection.  Those parts strip us of our worldly attachments to finally help us to see Jesus in the Eucharist.

Have you ever been on a retreat? A friend at my parish invited me to a 3-day Ignatian retreat at the Demontreville Retreat House on Lake Elmo, Minnesota, in 1989.

On the first day, I was alone with God, but all my senses remained absorbed in the rhythm of daily life: work, family, news, TV, radio, and business.  My mind and soul craved those distractions.  I was alone with God, but I couldn’t see him with the spiritual faculties I hadn’t yet developed.

But as the second day unfolded and the din of the outside world subsided, my soul gradually grew accustomed to the silence and to hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice.  Conversion takes time.  A return to Jesus in the Eucharist needs more than a talk.  The Congress is not an Ignatian retreat.  On the one hand, it is festive and filled with fellowship.  But, on the other, it can be a retreat…if you make it one.

Take the dive!

So, when you come to the Congress next year, block off the entire day.  If you can, come for all three days for a deeper, retreat-like conversion.  Plan your moments with Jesus by looking at the schedule on the website (  Take the dive!  

Everyone needs it.  St. Peter Eymard spoke for his retreatants—and us—when he wrote,

For a long time He has been drawing me and inviting me to make a retreat.  The thought of a retreat is continually in my mind.  It is God wanting to speak to me, but He wants to be with me face-to-face.“5

In the same way, next year’s Congress brings you face-to-face with Jesus in His Real Presence.  It is a retreat…if you make it one.  If you open your soul to the work of the Holy Spirit, you will experience a renewed relationship with Jesus, a “conversion born of the Eucharist.”

Madison Eucharist Congress:
Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2023, St. John the Baptist, Waunakee

Visit Madison’s Revival website to pre-register for the Congress!

Deacon Todd Burud


  1. The Mystery of the Eucharist, USCCB, 44
  2. Sacramentum Caritatis, Pope Benedict XVI, 21
  3. Conversion, Haggerty, 205
  4. Fire Within, Dubay, 69
  5. Eucharistic Retreats, Eymard,156

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