In a way, Kristin Bird was a little surprised to find herself standing in a classroom at Mary Mother of the Church Pastoral Center on Saturday, Oct. 22, offering a breakout session entitled “From Encounter to Invitation” as part of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s Eucharistic Revival Preparation Day.
Bird, who runs Burning Hearts Disciples in Oshkosh, spent 15 years as a youth minister, DRE and confirmation director before starting her organization eight years ago.
“If you would have told me eight years ago that dioceses and parishes were going to want to re-think so much of what we do as a Church, I probably would have laughed at you, and said there’s no way,” Bird said.
During her time working in the Church, she has seen it use many buzzwords and programs to try to spread its message.
“I found myself thinking revival was kind of a pipe dream,” Bird said. “It is fantastic to see the Church at a place where we’re not only ready for it, but we’re also planning for it, preparing for it and intentionally looking at how we can bring about revival for our parishes and for our people.”
Ultimately, the goal of the Eucharistic Revival is evangelizing.
Bird shared what Pope Paul VI wrote in Evangelii Nuntiandi: “Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God.”
“This is why we exist as a Church; we exist to evangelize,” Bird said. “We exist in order to live out the Great Commission: Go and make disciples.”
Bird defined evangelization as proclaiming the Good News in word so that others encounter Jesus Christ, are overwhelmed by the love and mercy of God, and commit their lives to following him as disciples.
“I think it’s important for us to recognize the Eucharistic Revival is not like we’re done with what we’ve done before, now it’s time to set that all aside and focus on something brand new,” Bird said. “The Eucharistic Revival is really a call across the country and here in our state and here in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee — it’s about deepening our understanding of evangelization and missionary discipleship. It’s about looking at those things we’ve already been learning about and discovering and unpacking, but looking at them through a Eucharistic lens.”