Last month, more than 100 students, faculty, staff and friends of the University of Dallas gathered for a special mid-day Mass, rosary and Eucharistic procession around the Irving campus, among the first National Eucharistic Revival events in Texas. The revival – a grassroots movement to restore understanding about the centrality of the Eucharist as the “source and summit” of the Catholic faith – includes similar events across the U.S. in preparation for the National Eucharistic Congress, in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2024.
“We were honored to be chosen as the one of the first Texas locations to host this pivotal event,” said President Jonathan J. Sanford, Ph.D. “Our culture yearns for the hope that is found most profoundly in the Eucharist, that is, in the gift of Christ himself, and we deeply appreciate the vision and work being done by the leaders of the Eucharistic Revival and the U.S. bishops to renew this hope in our culture.”
For Nicholas Walz, a junior philosophy and classical philology major, attending the procession had a profound impact.
“The Eucharistic procession was an extraordinary opportunity to follow after Christ, to realize that in Him, whom we receive in the Eucharist, we find our fullest identity as Christians,” Walz said. “Throughout the procession, in which we honored Him with hymns and, at intervals, adored Him on our knees, Jesus's abiding and Real Presence was made more explicitly evident – even to those who believe! Such a wonderful liturgy only deepened my ache to be conformed to Him whom I love.”
Larisa Tuttle, a double major in English and Theology, said she was particularly moved when the procession paused right in front of her freshman residence hall: “I saw Jesus Himself standing in the exact place where so many memories unfolded. By giving us His presence in the Eucharist, He makes Himself present in all the beauty and brokenness of ordinary college life, transfiguring every laugh, conversation and late-night study session for His glory.”
University Chaplain and Rector Fr. Joseph Paul Albin, OP, celebrated Mass at the Church of the Incarnation, followed by a rosary and Eucharistic procession near the residential halls and campus Mall.
“Our deep commitment to the Eucharist, Our Lady and the sacramental life of the Church bears fruit in many tangible ways on campus, from a very active Campus Ministry to a robust Crusaders for Life group, and the many opportunities students have to participate with FOCUS missionaries, faith formation groups and charitable service opportunities,” said Fr. Albin.
Unlike many Catholic universities that are founded or guided by a particular religious order, the University of Dallas benefits from a variety of religious communities that teach and live on campus exposing students to a myriad of religious traditions and charisms. Religious communities include Dominicans friars, who have a priory on campus; Nashville Dominican sisters, who teach at UD and at other nearby Catholic schools; Cistercian monks, who are based at the Our Lady of Dallas Cistercian Abbey; and seminarians, who are studying at the Holy Trinity minor seminary on campus.
Indeed, University of Dallas students have abundant opportunities to renew and deepen their faith through the sacraments and a variety of faith-formation and service activities hosted by Campus Ministry, FOCUS missionaries and other student groups. Mass is celebrated twice daily, with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament available between noon and evening masses.
Another student, English major Grace Ebberwein said, “Having a Eucharistic Procession on campus gives students the unique experience of literally following the person of Jesus Christ along the roads and paths that they walk every day. It is a beautiful opportunity which tangibly reveals what it means to be a Christian disciple.”
Junior literary traditions major Mary Green said the presence of God on campus “is one of the greatest consolations I experience.” She added, “Being able to look at God and be washed over by His Grace and mercy and love reminds me that God is the reason I'm here, and God is the one who makes me capable of serving. The Eucharist is the cornerstone of my faith. It keeps me believing and keeps me centered on God when I fail.”
In May, under President Sanford’s leadership, the University of Dallas’ Irving campus was consecrated by Dallas Bishop and UD Chancellor the Most Rev. Edward J. Burns to Our Lady of Guaudalupe, patroness of the Americas and of the Diocese of Dallas. “What sets UD apart is our full embrace of the Catholic faith in all aspects of education,” added Sanford, “whether it’s in the classroom or in campus life, we take great care to provide an education that nourishes the whole human person, mind, body and soul.”