Bishop Cozzens hopes to see ‘hearts set on fire’ with Eucharistic love at 2024 congress

February 13, 2024

Pope Francis blesses a four-foot-tall monstrance, a chalice and a paten that will be used during the Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis July 17 to 21 as Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens, who leads the Eucharistic Revival, looks on during an audience at the Vatican last summer. (OSV News)

HOUSTON (OSV News) — For three years, Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota, has been the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) point person for its three-year National Eucharistic Revival and the National Eucharistic Congress (NEC), which will be held July 17 to 21 this year in Indianapolis.

As chairman of the NEC Inc., he has experienced many inspiring moments and faced unexpected obstacles in leading both.

In Houston for a Jan. 23 event previewing the upcoming Eucharistic celebrations set for this summer, Bishop Cozzens said the Eucharistic Congress would be a “generational moment.”

“The Eucharist is the linchpin of evangelization,” Bishop Cozzens said. “When someone comes to meet and encounter Jesus in the Eucharist, it changes their life. I believe that this is part of God’s work to strengthen the Church in our day: That the Holy Spirit’s about strengthening the Church through the Eucharistic Revival, the Eucharistic Congress.”

Bishop Cozzens said he was inspired by writings of past popes, including an encyclical by Pope Leo XIII that encouraged the faithful to carry the world’s problems in prayer with resolve to strengthen faith in the Eucharist.

In the encyclical, Pope Leo XIII wrote that: “If the Church is strong in her Eucharistic faith, then she will be strong to stand against the evil that’s in the world.”

Understanding what difficult times the Church exists in today, Bishop Cozzens said, “If Catholics have a strong Eucharistic faith, they’ll be strengthened to live their faith. If their Eucharistic faith is weak, they won’t be able to do it. This is the real mission of the Eucharist. We like to say of the Eucharistic Revival and Congress, ‘We don’t want to stop until every Catholic has had an experience of the living presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Because we know that’s what it takes to strengthen us to be who God’s calling us to be in the world.’”

Registrations now open for July Eucharistic Congress

Registrations are now open for an Archdiocesan pilgrimage to the NEC July 17 to 21 in Indianapolis. The delegation from the Archdiocese will be led by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo and Auxiliary Bishop Italo Dell’Oro, CRS, and is expected to host parishioners, ministry leaders and clergy.

Limited registrations, which range from $1,049 to $1,759, include a five-day Congress pass, four nights of housing in Indianapolis, continental breakfast, and motorcoach transportation to and from the Indianapolis Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium, as well as gratuities for drivers. Costs reflect hotel accommodation choices, including triple, quadruple, double, and single occupancy registrations.

For those interested in bringing children and teenagers on the pilgrimage, family pricing includes a $200 discount on prices for children ages 3 to 18. Infants and two-year-old lap children are free with two paying adults in double occupancy.

Registrants also have the option to purchase package roundtrip airfare from Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport and Indianapolis International Airport, as well as airport transfers in Indianapolis, for $775.

For more information or to register and join the Archdiocesan pilgrimage, visit

Once the pilgrimage reaches its maximum capacity, those interested in attending the Congress can register separately via the NEC website,
Standard passes for the five-day congress are $299 to $375 for adults and $99 for children ages 2 to 18 traveling with their families. The cost covers admission for congress events at Lucas Oil Stadium, which include general sessions, breakout sessions, Liturgies, the vendor hall and unique congress tracks. The cost does not include housing, transportation or meals related to the congress.

Registration is open for standard passes, which also include access to premium seating and digital access to congress content.

The single-day passes will range from $49 to $95 depending on the day, and weekend passes will be $125. Registration for day and weekend passes will open in January. A limited number of discounted single-day passes will be available for early registrants.

Organizers have said they expect the event to draw 80,000 Catholics to Indianapolis. By November of 2023, officials said more than 30,000 congress passses had been reserved so far.

In Indianapolis, Lucas Oil Stadium, with a capacity of nearly 70,000, is the hub of the five-day celebration. Additional events within walking distance will be held at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, the Indiana Convention Center and other venues. Registration, which includes a “Congress Pass,” offers participants entrance to all Congress programming, such as general sessions, catechetical sessions, and breakouts, along with arena seating at Mass, evening concerts, and all entertainment.

St. John the Evangelist Parish, located directly across from the convention center, will host perpetual adoration.

Additionally, registrants are welcome at Congress Central, with a vendor hall located in the Indiana Convention Center, which is open daily and features more than 200 Catholic organizations and artisans. The large-scale event will feature personalized track experiences based on one’s individual ministry journey.

A pinnacle moment

The NEC is the pinnacle of the National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year initiative the USCCB launched in 2022 to renew and strengthen Catholics’ understanding of and love for Jesus in the Eucharist. The revival’s first year focused on diocesan leadership. Its second year, now underway, focuses on parish life, with its final year focused on missionary discipleship.

The revival includes a National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, which will include pilgrims walking across the country along four designated pilgrimage routes with the Eucharist, converging in Indianapolis for the congress.

The pilgrimage routes begin in Brownsville; New Haven, Connecticut; northern Minnesota; and San Francisco May 17 to 19, the weekend of Pentecost.

The walking pilgrimage will be in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston May 31 to June 2. Catholics are invited to join the routes’ “perpetual pilgrims” — young adult Catholics walking the entire route — for daily Mass and processions or join the “Eucharistic caravans” for hours or days.

The congress will be the first national Eucharistic gathering in the U.S. in 83 years, with the last being the ninth NEC held in St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1941.

In Houston, then-Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza hosted a two-day local Eucharistic Congress at the University of Houston’s Hofheinz Pavilion in November of the Great Jubilee Year 2000. The event included several gatherings, prayer services and Masses for ethnic and language groups, youth and young adults, clergy and Catholic school students.
The 41st International Eucharistic Congress was held in Philadelphia in 1976, drawing an estimated 1.5 million people.

St. Teresa of Kolkata and Catholic Worker co-founder Dorothy Day, now a servant of God, were panelists on the topic of “Women and the Eucharist”; St. John Paul II — then Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, the archbishop of Krakow, Poland — gave a homily on justice; and sitting U.S. President Gerald Ford delivered an address on freedom and peace.
The Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses continues to organize international gatherings, with the 53rd International Eucharist Congress planned Sept. 8-15 in Quito, Ecuador.

Bishop Cozzens called the congress “an opportunity for us to come together and as a Church to gather and be renewed.”

“Whether participants attend for one day or five days, they will be invited to a profound experience of renewal by the Holy Spirit, and they’ll be invited, we hope, to be set on fire with that missionary desire,” he said. “I just pray that as we gather together in Indianapolis, this might be a moment of great renewal and great revival for our Church.”

The NEC website,, features a complete schedule, including speaker biographies and more.