Pastoral Letter: The Year of the Eucharist proclaimed by Archbishop Etienne

+ Feast of St. Catherine of Siena

April 29, 2020

First Anniversary of Appointment as Coadjutor Archbishop of Seattle

Most Reverend Paul D. Etienne, DD, STL

Archbishop of Seattle

With this letter, I am announcing a Year of the Eucharist, beginning on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ on June 14, and concluding with the same solemnity on Sunday, June 6, 2021. This is to be a time for catechesis and teaching for everyone on the topic of the Eucharist. “With zeal and patience, pastors of souls must promote the liturgical instruction of the faithful, and also their active participation, both internal and external.”36

The Work of Redemption: Eucharistic Belief and Practice in the Archdiocese of Seattle


In my first year in the Archdiocese of Seattle, I have been able to celebrate Mass in dozens of our parishes and missions. Everywhere I have been, I have encountered vibrant, faith-filled communities of believers. Whether large or small, urban or rural, our parishes devote much care and attention to their liturgical celebrations. The reason for this is quite simple: “The Church draws her life from the Eucharist.”[1] The Eucharist is central to our life as Church and as individual Christian believers. In a very real way, we cannot live without it.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives, including our worship. For us Catholics, the pandemic along with the “Eucharistic fast” it imposed has revealed in a new way how central the celebration of the Eucharist is to who we are as Church and as community. Even when we are unable to gather physically, we gather spiritually: Parishes continue to put the celebration of the Eucharist at the forefront of parish life through livestreams on social media. But we have also come to realize, perhaps as never before, that there is no substitute for gathering to celebrate the Eucharist together, and receiving the sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood as part of a community of believers.

As I come to the end of my first year in Seattle, I invite all of us in this local Church to a renewed focus on the heart of our faith and the center of our parish life: the Eucharist. The Eucharist is an inexhaustible source of grace, the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s dying and rising daily renewed for our salvation and for the salvation of the whole world. The Eucharist is the living presence of Christ in our midst. That presence does not, must not leave us unchanged: Receiving the Body of Christ, we become the Body of Christ. The Eucharist unites us to Christ, and, in Christ, to each other. And the Eucharist commits us to the poor, sending us forth in service and love.

When it comes to the Eucharist, we can always go deeper. No matter whether we have spent years exploring Eucharistic theology, or are still preparing for our first Holy Communion, there is always more to discover about the Eucharist. And no matter the resources of our parish communities, with care and attention our liturgies can always be improved, to reflect more clearly the Christ who truly presides at every celebration of the Eucharist. During the coming year, I ask every Catholic and every parish community to commit themselves to deepening our understanding and experience of the Eucharist, and strengthening our Eucharistic liturgies.

In a spirit of encouragement, and with a desire for a more profound and visible unity around the altar of the Lord, I am sharing this pastoral letter on the Eucharist and declaring the coming year a special Year of the Eucharist for the Archdiocese of Seattle. I hope the following reflections will help provide a roadmap for the months ahead.

[1] Pope St. John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 1.

To read the fullness of the Pastoral letter, please visit:  Pastoral Letter -Year of Eucharist – NW Catholic