Parish Stories

Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

Rochester, MN Diocese of Winona-Rochester


"The Eucharist reminds me of this unwavering communion"

Melissa Schmid

No matter who we are or what we’ve done, God loves us, and He’s always chasing after us. I know God exists, and I know His love is true because I’ve spent time with Him in the Blessed Sacrament. 

When I sit with Jesus in Adoration, I let down my guard. I open my heart to Him and willingly share all my desires, thoughts, feelings, and ideas with Him. Once I acknowledge where I am at the moment, I ask Him to speak to me, which means I must be still. Oftentimes, I hear nothing. But even when I don’t hear His voice, I still feel His love and peace flowing through me. 

This is a love that God wants to give each of us. No matter who we are or what we’ve done. I can point to many times in my life when I’ve wandered away from the flock. The wandering was spurred by an idea that life is about my will – what I want is all that matters. But every time I moved away from God, I ended up finding myself stuck in mud, going nowhere. And yet, God loves us so much that he chases after us. Every time we wander away, the Good Shepherd runs toward us, sweeps us up in His arms, and holds us in such an intimate way that says, “You are Mine.” 

The Eucharist reminds me of this unwavering communion where we remain with Jesus. Nothing can break this union, as He assures us in John 10, verses 11-15: “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me. Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father and I will lay down my life for the sheep.” 

Jesus reveals Himself to us in the Eucharist as a sign of God’s supreme love.

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“When we receive the Eucharist, we are blessed with Jesus himself.”


Early in the pandemic when I was working at a hospital, I was preparing to visit a patient and bring him Communion. Because of his condition, all staff entering his room were required to wear a mask, a face shield, and a yellow gown. I doubted that my attire would be of comfort to him but hoped that the Eucharist would be. I knew that my name tag was covered by the gown, and I was intending to tell him who I was and the purpose of my visit. However, he dismissed me before I got the words out. Rather than just leave, I introduced myself and said that I would come back later with Communion for him. He responded, “Oh, please come in. You have the most important gift.” 

This patient’s words brought tears to my eyes. They reminded me of being a patient myself one Christmas Day and the deep gratitude I felt for the opportunity to receive Communion and to the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, especially on that special day. His words also brought to mind the time, a few months earlier, when our churches were closed, and we could not attend Mass in person or receive the Eucharist. How hard those days were! The Eucharist is indeed “the most important gift”! 

When we receive the Eucharist, we are blessed with Jesus himself. How amazingly and mysteriously precious! This alone demands our thanks and praise. But Jesus’ gift to us doesn’t end at the altar or even as we leave church. It continues with us and calls us to be of service to others. As St. Teresa of Avila said, “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are Christ’s body.” Whenever I try to act in this way, I grow in the love Jesus has for me and for all, over and over again. Thanks be to God! 

We are all called to serve others by virtue of our baptism, but we are called in different ways, according to our gifts. Bringing Communion to the sick or those confined to their homes or residences is not for everyone, but it is for some. I personally love the ministry and always feel blessed in ways that touch me deeply.

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“The Eucharist has given me hope”

Michelle Schmid

I can't say exactly when I began to understand that Jesus is waiting for me in the Eucharist. I have a memory of going with my mother, my oldest sister, and my brother to a church to observe the First Friday tradition of Confession and Mass. The church was not our regular parish, and held daily Mass in a small and ordinary room with green carpet. It was not a place you would expect to encounter the divine, and yet I found that, as a child, I was drawn into this moment to really experience the Mass. I would feel joy that I could go with my family and have this intimate experience. 

It was in this same room that I had my first experience of Eucharistic adoration as a kid. I did not know much about the theology of the Eucharist, but I knew here was something holy. As I grew into my teenage years, and began struggling with various sins that culminated in feelings of depression and low self-esteem, I again encountered Jesus in the Eucharist when I attended a three-day conference for high school youth. In the small crowd of teenagers, I came face-to-face with Jesus in the Eucharist as the priest processed with the monstrance. He stopped right in front of where I was, and I felt an overpowering sense that Jesus was right there with me. 

This feeling later encouraged me to attend daily Mass when I began college, and it was through Mass that I began to learn about prayer and simply being present with God. The sin and depression and self-esteem issues that I grappled with became more clear to me, and I began to attend a morning Holy Hour to pray in front of the Eucharist. I still struggled with my own self-worth, but I began to feel hope and joy. I can't say how many times I fell asleep during this hour of prayer, but I imagined that Jesus was simply putting me under like a doctor to do surgery on my soul. 

Today, I can say that it is Jesus' willingness to be with me in the Eucharist that has offered me true transformation. The Eucharist has given me hope and has sustained me when I have encountered trials and hardships. On days when I feel overwhelmed by work, I find myself resting before the tabernacle in the reservation chapel and imagining that Jesus is holding me in his arms. I also recognize that by receiving Jesus, he is changing me always, opening my heart to receive other people. Jesus' presence in the Eucharist is softening my heart, and that is such a profound and beautiful gift.

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Jesus is truly present. Jesus is always with you. Sit in his presence and open yourself up to his voice.

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