Blessed Sacrament Associate Formation
Province of St. Ann
St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church
“Following in the footsteps of Father Eymard, we invite all those whom the Spirit directs to the Eucharist, both priests and lay people to become associated with our family and share in its mission. We offer them our continuing support so that they may find in the Eucharist the inspiration for their whole life and commitments."
Rule of Life, 43
Blessed Sacrament Associates are lay Catholic women and men single and married who share in the charism of Saint Peter Julian Eymard by centering their lives on the presence of Christ in the Eucharist as lived and modeled by the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. Associates commit themselves to be disciples and apostles of the Eucharist, supporting each other through the sharing of prayer and faith in regular meetings. They participate fully in the liturgy of the Eucharist, in personal prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and engage in a variety of ministries, to manifest the fruit of worship and prayer. Associates partner with the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in proclaiming the riches of God’s love in the Eucharist.
After a period of formation and discernment, they make a public covenant with a promise to place the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s self-giving in the Eucharist at the center of their life. To grow as covenanted people, the associates gather often to pray together, encourage one another, and grow in their understanding of the Eucharist and its demands.
Saint Peter Julian Eymard believed that it was essential to share the eucharistic charism of the two religious congregations he founded with the laity. In order to achieve this, he formed the Aggregation of the Blessed Sacrament, which was approved by Pope Pius IX in 1875.
The call to be an Associate of the Blessed Sacrament is a true vocation. Associates enter more deeply into the mystery of the Eucharist and share its riches with others through a life of prayer and ministry. Number 2 of the Rule of Life for Associates states:
“Our ideal is to live the mystery of the Eucharist fully and to make known its meaning so that Christ’s reign may come and the glory of God may be revealed to the world. In response to our baptismal vocation, we seek to witness to Christ’s presence at the crossroads of society and, starting from the Eucharist, we strive to influence our world in the light of this mystery, source and summit of all evangelizing.”
Being formed as an Associate of the Blessed Sacrament is a process of introduction to the Eucharistic vision and mission of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, as lived by the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament.
Saint Peter Julian Eymard saw the Eucharist as a powerful means for the transformation of individuals and society. He was someone who worked closely and collaboratively with lay persons and others in furthering this vision. Formation into the life of an associate takes place through a variety of experiences designed to prepare candidates for living a life centered on the Eucharist.
“Under the guidance of the director, the program of preparation comprises: prayer, deepening of the life of faith, appreciation of the specific vocation of lay persons in the church, catechesis about the Eucharist, knowledge ofthe life and charism of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, study of the Rule of Life of the association, sharing in the life and activities of the association.”
Rule of Life for Associates, #19
Initial formation usually occurs over a year and focuses on the following themes:
- Introduction to the Rule of Life for Associates (ROLA)
- The Founder―His Life and Times
- The Founder―His Eucharistic Vocation
- Historical Development: Congregation and the Aggregation of the Blessed Sacrament
- Vocational Call of the Laity to Service in the Church
- Evangelization and Mission
- The Eucharist as the Center of Our Life
- Table of the Word
- Liturgy of the Eucharist
- Liturgy of the Hours
- Prayer in the Presence of the Eucharist (Adoration)
- Preparing for the Covenant Commitment Ceremony
Prayer, dialogue, listening, sharing, and fellowship are all part of the initial formation experience, as associates grow together into a community of friendship and faith centered on the Eucharist. We assist one another in deepening our appreciation of this central mystery of the Christian life and in living it in union with other members of the Eymardian family.
Commitment : After a period of formation and discernment, associates make a public covenant with a promise to place the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s self-giving in the Eucharist at the center of their life.
Associates Ongoing Formation
In partnership with the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, associates form communities of friendship and faith whose center of life is the Eucharist celebrated, contemplated, and lived. This companionship with the congregation is expressed through active engagement in its mission of eucharistic evangelizing; through liturgical ministries and parish service, Communion ministry and visitation of the aged and the infirm, promotion of eucharistic adoration, Life in the Eucharist programs, parish missions, outreach to the poor, and other ministries.
Formation as an Associate of the Blessed Sacrament is ongoing, and designed to help the associate live and grow as a witness to the Eucharist.
“Members of the aggregation are aware
that their sharing in the charism
will be all the more fruitful and profound
insofar as they become imbued
with an authentic Christian spirit in accord with
the spirituality and the mission of the Congregation itself.
To foster this purpose, they take part
in the formation initiatives and gatherings
arranged for them at the local and congregational levels.
Members will attend to their personal formation
by study and reflection,
deepening their understanding of the Holy Scriptures,
the church’s teaching, and the spirituality of the founder.”
Rule of Life for Associates, #21
Contact us if you would like to learn more about becoming an Associate of the Blessed Sacrament at the Parish of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church:
Aggregation of the Blessed Sacrament
St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church
4843 Mile Stretch Drive, Holiday, Florida
Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament
Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament
5384 Wilson Mills Road
Cleveland, OH 44143
Telephone: (440) 442-4734 E-mail: [email protected]