July 09, 2024
Matt Cutrona
Matt Cutrona will represent the University at the National Eucharistic Congress next week. (Catholic University/Patrick G. Ryan)

Next week, The Catholic University of America will send a large contingent of leadership, faculty, staff, and students to Indianapolis for the historic 10th National Eucharistic Congress.

The Congress, held July 17-21, is the culmination of several years of efforts by the U.S. Bishops through the National Eucharistic Revival. The University spent the last year highlighting the unique importance of the Eucharist in the life of the Church and is serving as a premier sponsor of the Eucharistic Congress. It is a fitting return to Catholic University’s roots, as it co-hosted the nation’s first Eucharistic Congress in 1895, when the University was just eight years old.

Matt Cutrona, a senior Politics and Pre-Law major with minors in Sports Management and Philosophy, will be one of four student representatives at the University’s booth at the Indiana Convention Center for this year’s congress. He will also assist the liturgical team at Lucas Oil Stadium during the distribution of Holy Communion. 

Cutrona has been an active campus community member, serving as president of the Mock Trial team, a student minister in Campus Ministry, research director for the student government association, and a member of the President’s Society and the Honors Program. 

Trevor Williams
Matt Cutrona, pictured in the middle, was key to bringing Nationals pitcher Trevor Williams to speak with students. (Catholic University/Patrick G. Ryan)

Cutrona was a key member of the team that helped bring Nationals pitcher Trevor Williams to campus last year and has used his baseball fandom to participate in University Research Day and explain sabermetrics.

Cutrona shared his enthusiasm about the opportunity to go to the National Eucharistic Congress and how the University helped inspire his interest in the event.

How did you first hear about the Congress, and what made you want to go?

I first heard about the NEC with Campus Ministry at Catholic University last summer, gearing up to emphasize their large-scale events pointing to the Eucharist. After that, one of my close friends, Danielle Schmitz, '25, was picked to be a Eucharistic Pilgrim. I started to research and saw how incredible this was for the Catholic Church. I realized how much I was left with a basic understanding of the Eucharist and how much I wanted to dive deeper and gain a more fruitful and substantive comprehension of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. I wanted to go, and after much prayer, the opportunity arose for me to represent the University!

Why is the Eucharist so important to you?

For me, the Eucharist is the expression of God’s love through the sacrifice of His Son. The Eucharist is not a “thing” or a “symbol” but Jesus’ physical body and blood to give us the totality of His life. More than simply consuming Him but to look and contemplate Him is, to me, one of the greatest mysteries of the faith. 

What are you most looking forward to during the week?

I look forward to seeing the diversity of the Catholic Church in the United States and the world, centered around what unites us all: the Eucharist. No matter the difference in languages and cultures, the Eucharist is the same in NYC as in DC, LA, or Indianapolis. I will attend the CUA-sponsored breakout session and then look forward to the subsequent days’ sessions. Finally, I cannot wait to see live keynote addresses from Fr. Mike Schmitz and Fr. Boniface Hicks, O.S.B.

What are your biggest hopes for the Congress during and after the event?

One of my biggest hopes is that at least one person can walk away with a more intimate connection to the Eucharist. Now the chances of that are high, with nearly 50,000 people attending. For me, it will all be worth it if one person comes away enlightened by the power of the Eucharist. That is what our faith is all about. I hope that the National Eucharistic Congress becomes an opportunity for everyone to be sent out and share that, through the Eucharist, which is the Source and Summit of the faith, they are seen, known, and loved.