In 1992, Father Norman Pelletier SSS wrote Tomorrow Will Be Too Late: A Life of Saint Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868). Over the next ten years, this book was (and continues to be) such a source of information and insights into the founder of the Congregation, especially for parishioners of Blessed Sacrament parishes throughout the United States (the Province of Saint Ann), members of Life in the Eucharist Teams, and those of us lay people connected to the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament.
In 2010 the congregational leadership in Rome reinstituted a program for lay associates called the Aggregation of the Blessed Sacrament. This provided an opportunity for Father William Fickel SSS, then Director of the Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (CEE), and those of us connected to the Center to develop an initial formation program for prospective associates. We also began working on ongoing formation programs for committed associates, carrying forward a long tradition to Father Eymard himself of providing retreats and ongoing formation opportunities for lay people associated with the Congregation.
Fast forward to an evening in 2017 when Father Paul Bernier SSS, and I led an evening of reflection for a group of lay associates at Saint Paschal Baylon Church in Highland Heights, Ohio. At the end of the evening, one of the associates chatted me up about providing more “lay-friendly” resources on the founder of the Congregation and his eucharistic spirituality.
The next day, Father Paul and I discussed writing a book relevant to a lay spirituality. We then wrote short chapters that addressed some key elements of Saint Eymard’s eucharistic spirituality, its growth and legacy in the religious orders he founded, and its development in the Church he loved.
When Father Paul and I finished a draft for a 12-chapter book, the provincial administration asked us to send the book out to several lay associates and religious for feedback. One such “critic”, the Vicar Provincial at the time, Father John Keenan SSS, opined: “This is a book we don’t have. It gives us a great companion piece to Father Norman’s book, Tomorrow Will Be Too Late for our growing community of lay associates across the province – a book on eucharistic spirituality”.
Another “critic”, lay Associate Mary Muehle from Saint Paschal Baylon, suggested we add questions at the end of each chapter. She then helped us write the questions at the end of each chapter. We believed the questions would be helpful for group discussions as well as one’s own personal reflection.
As Father Paul writes in the Introduction, “this book does not propose a blueprint for those trying to develop a eucharistic spirituality. Rather, it treats various salient aspects of the spirituality of our saint of the Eucharist from which people can draw not only inspiration but suggestions for their own relationship with God”. We might add that there is no intended sequential order to the chapter topics. Readers may find some topics of more personal interest than others.
Our hope, therefore, is that our readers will find inspiration to live the way Father Eymard was convinced Jesus wanted us to live. So, whether the reader is an associate, someone interested in becoming an associate, or a person who wants to know more about a eucharistic spirituality inspired by Saint Peter Julian Eymard, we hope that you, the reader, will gain both a deeper insight into the spirituality of this “Apostle of the Eucharist”, as well as a guide for your own spiritual journey as well.
This book would be a great Christmas gift for family and friends. Order yours now!
Publication of the Province of Saint Ann
November 15, 2022