(OSV News) — The organizers of the National Eucharistic Congress are making it easier for cash-strapped families to attend the July 17-21 gathering in Indianapolis.
The congress will cap the National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year grassroots initiative launched in June 2022 and sponsored by the nation’s Catholic bishops to enkindle devotion to the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
The congress — to which young adult pilgrims will travel on foot along four cross-country routes — is expected to draw some 80,000 participants. The event is the first such national congress in the U.S. in 83 years, and in 48 years since the 1976 International Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia.
Now, a new “Solidarity Fund” has been unveiled by the U.S. Catholic bishops to help those in need of financial assistance to cover the registration costs of the five-day congress.
“Led by our bishops, we have raised nearly one million dollars to give away so people from all over the country can join us in Indianapolis and return home filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered to bring renewal to their families, churches and communities,” Kris Frank, vice president of growth and marketing for the National Eucharistic Congress, told OSV News.
Full event passes, which do not include transportation, housing or meals, cost $360 per individual, $299 per parent and $250 per teens ages 13-18. Children age 12 and under are free.
Group fees range from $299-$349 per person, while admission for priests, deacons, seminarians and religious has been set at $299.
Attendees traveling to the congress can hope for a dip in gas and diesel prices in 2024, but airfare projections for the coming year remain mixed, with some analysts predicting slight drops but others pointing to stabilized prices that will nonetheless remain on the higher side.
With group room blocks now sold out, lodging costs at surrounding hotels are anywhere between well over $100 to more than $600 per night during the congress.
“The Solidarity Fund allows us to take the financial burden off individuals and groups to ensure this moment is affordable and accessible to anyone who wishes to join us for this historic event,” Frank said.
Applicants must be able to demonstrate financial need and be prepared to secure their own lodging for the congress. Secondary criteria include coming from an underrepresented area or group, and seeking support to bring a larger group to the gathering.
Religious, seminarians and diocesan-organized groups in those dioceses supported by Catholic Extension will be directed to apply for funding through Catholic Extension.
The online application form for the Solidarity Fund can be accessed online at eucharisticcongress.org/solidarity-fund.
Congress organizers also are accepting donations to the fund.
“The aim of the National Eucharistic Congress has always been that our church would experience profound and personal revival,” Frank said, “so that we can be sent to share Christ’s love with a world that desperately needs it.”