Eucharistic exhibit is available for display

Friday, Sep. 15, 2023
Eucharistic exhibit is available for display + Enlarge
A display put together by Diocesan Archivist Michael Courtney highlights celebration of the Eucharist in Utah. IC photo/Linda Petersen
By Linda Petersen
Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY — Parishes and schools looking to bring home the spirit of the diocesan Eucharistic Rally and to celebrate the Church’s year of Eucharistic Revival locally now have access to an exhibit put together by diocesan archivist Michael Courtney. Although the exhibit was developed for the Eucharistic Rally, it was always intended to be a tool to help the faithful in their Eucharistic journey, Courtney said.
Each of the diocesan offices has contributed in some form to the Eucharistic Revival in Utah; with the archives’ exhibit, not surprisingly, “we’re looking at the Eucharist from a historical perspective,” he said.
The theme of the exhibit, which is displayed on six portable three-part panels, is “Building Eucharistic Community in Utah” and highlights the Church in Utah. The panels are printed in English on one side and in Spanish on the other. At its center, each panel has a cutout representing an altar from a parish in the state.
Throughout the exhibit many concepts surrounding the celebration of the Eucharist are explained in easy-to-understand language which is suitable for all audiences. Courtney was helped in these efforts by professional exhibit designer Gail Griswold and her associate Sharon Johnson. The exhibit can be set up easily in a foyer, room or church hall where the panels can be placed on small tables.
A description of the panels follows. 
Eucharist: Continuity and Change takes a look at how the Mass was celebrated in Utah before and after Vatican II, from the first documented Mass in Utah in 1864 at Fort Douglas under the old rite to the new rite Mass in 1976 at the Salt Palace that commemorated the bicentennial anniversary of the United States and the Dominguez-Escalante expedition; the Franciscan friars are presumed to have brought the Eucharist to Utah in 1776. The Mass celebrated 200 years later in the Salt Palace by the Most Reverend Joseph L. Federal and concelebrated by 75 diocesan priests and 15 bishops from surrounding states was attended by more than 13,000 Catholics. This panel also features photos of altar servers and local practices, including some of Native Americans, adding to the richness of the Mass with their customs. “The Second Vatican Council recognized the importance of local contributions to Mass,” Courtney said. 
Hope and Comfort Far From Home highlights the thousands of young Catholic men who joined the Civilian Conservation Corps established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression. In Hanksville in Carbon County, where there was no Catholic church, the men of the CCC camp designed and built the Chapel of the Sacred Heart themselves. In 1940 the Most Rev. Duane G. Hunt, fifth Bishop of Salt Lake City, visited and blessed the chapel.
Building An Altar, Building Faith tells the story of how one prisoner designed and many others contributed materials to construct an altar for the Utah State Prison chapel. In the 1940s and 1950s Monsignor  Joseph Morton was the prison chaplain; through his efforts Mass attendance, converts and numbers of First Communions grew exponentially during those years.
Food For Body & Soul shines a spotlight on Father Joseph H. Valine, O.P. (1897-1992), who served in Central Utah. Known as “the doughnut priest,” Fr. Valine would make several dozen doughnuts every Saturday and sell them to people at Milford’s railroad station to raise funds for the missions in central Utah. 
“The Eucharist is about community and bringing people together and food is also about the same,” Courtney said. “Fr. Valine sold doughnuts to fund the building of two chapels: St. Dominic’s in Bryce Canyon and St. Michael’s (now St. Gertrude’s) in Panguitch. He used physical food to build a church that supplied spiritual nourishment.”
Blessed Sacrament Devotional Practices focuses on Eucharistic adoration in Utah. “Eucharistic adoration has always been an essential part” of Catholic worship in Utah, Courtney said. “Over the years, it has taken on different forms.” 
Those forms included a 40-hour devotions men’s group initiated in 1916 by the Most Rev. Joseph Glass, second Bishop of Salt Lake City, and a nocturnal adoration group requested by the Most Rev. Joseph L. Federal, sixth bishop of the diocese, in 1956. During this adoration men from different parishes would take turns praying throughout the night. Although these groups later dissolved, Eucharistic adoration is still important to Utah Catholics. Some parishes, including St. Joseph’s in Ogden and St. Joseph the Worker in West Jordan, now have adoration chapels.
Catechism: Eucharistic Teachings presents scenes from the Intermountain Indian School, where Maryknoll sisters taught, and from migrant factories where the Paulist Fathers offered Church teachings to the workers who were Catholic. 
Courtney hopes that through the exhibit “people will learn more about the Eucharist, how the theology and practices have changed,” he said. “The Eucharist is about unity and there has always been unity through the Eucharist, but there has also been change because of culture.”
In all forms, the faithful are receiving Christ but over the years “how we receive Christ has changed,” he added. “How we think about the Eucharist has changed but it still comes back to what Jesus commanded us to do: to remember him throughout time.”
Courtney said he learned more about different devotional practices and grew in his own faith during the process of creating the panels. “It was valuable to be reminded that Jesus started this; we do this in memory of him,” he said.
The exhibit is available for short-term display at any parish or Catholic school that requests it. Courtney will transport it, set it up and take it down himself.  The exhibit is available during this Eucharistic Revival year, but parishes and schools may request it for later use. Contact Courtney at for information or to schedule the exhibit.

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