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Jesuit Scripture Scholar, Mitch Pacwa, S.J., Answers Pope's Year of Faith Call for Increased Focus on Eucharist

Contact: Christine Valentine-Owsik, 215-230-8095, cowsik@osv.com

HUNTINGTON, Ind., Feb. 8, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- Pope Benedict XVI, in his 2011 Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei, lists key reasons for instituting this Year of Faith (Oct. 2012 - Nov. 2013). Among them, Catholics are called to renewed conversion through rediscovery of the importance of the Eucharist, and additional learning of scripture and doctrine.

To help today's Catholic fulfill the Pope's call to action, popular EWTN television and radio host, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, offers a new scripture study on the Catholic Church's 'source and summit,' The Eucharist: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics (Our Sunday Visitor, 2013). 

A timely resource for faith-study as well as Lenten reflection (beginning Wednesday, February 13), Pacwa's new book clarifies the full meaning of the Eucharist and its critical bond to a healthy faith, its essential connection with Scripture, and explanation on such issues as:

  • How does receiving Christ's Real Presence heal or restore someone?
  • How should the faithful really 'meet' Jesus in Holy Communion?
  • Where are symbols of the Eucharist in the Old Testament?
  • How do Old Testament sacrifices prefigure Christ's -- and why?
  • What did Jesus mean when he asked his disciples to 'Do this in remembrance of Me'?
  • Why did Christ confect the sacrament of the Eucharist before his death?
  • Why is Jesus called the Lamb of God?

"Since Vatican II, the Eucharist has been the touchstone experience of the changes initiated by that Council -- changes in language, at least three English translations, and many experiments (both licit and some illicit) on how to celebrate Mass. So there is a need to better understand the Mass," says Pacwa.  "The Mass, like the rest of our faith, is rooted in God's revelation. Not only can Catholics gain a better grasp of the Mass through seeing its scriptural roots, but this perspective is crucial for dialogue with other Christians," he adds. "Finally, a scriptural perspective on the Mass helps balance tensions about the Eucharist that are found even among Catholics."

Intended for group of individual study, The Eucharist will change forever how the faithful look at Mass and the Blessed Sacrament, and allow each meeting with Christ to be a transformational Union and Gift of enhanced faith.

"Fr. Pacwa draws our attention to biblical connections too often missed -- between Old Testament prefigurement and New Testament fulfillment, between the Day of Atonement and the death of Jesus, between Passover and Eucharist. His reflections on priesthood in Israel and in the Church are profound and illuminating." -- Scott Hahn, the Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization, Franciscan University of Steubenville

"The Church teaches the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. If so, why do many Catholics, according to recent surveys, see it as a mere symbol?  Part of the New Evangelization needs to be re-evangelization -- that is why Fr. Mitch's new Bible study is so important.  It gets right to the heart of the matter; the heart of our Lord as revealed in the Eucharist.  This study guide will not only change lives but help to save souls and re-build the Church."  -- Teresa Tomeo, syndicated Catholic talk show host and best-selling author

"While studying in graduate school under Fr. Mitch Pacwa, I was blown away not only by his vast intellect and mastery of biblical languages but also by the connections he made between the Mass and Sacred Scripture.  Bible passages that I heard every Sunday at Mass came alive in a way that made a profound impact on my experience of the Mass and Catholic faith.  This book is accessible to anyone -- the average parishioner wanting a deeper, experience of God's word, the armchair apologist looking for sound biblical support to explain the faith, and even those with a scholarly interest -- all will be satisfied by the rich fare served here.  This guide is also particularly relevant for students and young adults searching for reasons why they are Catholic, and who desire to connect the teachings of the Church with their everyday experiences.  With the skill of a surgeon, Fr. Pacwa dissects Old Testament words, symbols and genres, revealing the underlying meanings and implications behind the Catholic understanding of the Mass as a sacrifice." -- Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, M.T.S., EWTN series host, "Made in His Image: Family Life Today"; author, The Mass in Sacred Scripture.

For PDF and Word copies of the complete press release, which includes author bio and interview questions, please visit our Press Room.

The world's largest English-language Catholic publisher, Our Sunday Visitor serves millions of Catholics globally through its publishing, offertory, and communication services. Established in 1912, Our Sunday Visitor publishes a wide range of books including Bibles, biographies of the saints, books by Pope Benedict XVI, children's books, devotionals, bible studies, inspirational works, and curriculum. Our Sunday Visitor is a not-for-profit organization, returning a portion of net earnings back to the Catholic community through the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.  For more information, visit www.osv.com.