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LISBON, Portugal (ChurchMilitant.com) - A young pro-lifer is drawing attention to the disrespect shown to the Blessed Sacrament after consecrated hosts were stored in stacked boxes for adoration at the World Youth Day celebrations last week.
Savannah Dudzik from Florida, who flew to Lisbon to participate in the global Catholic youth event, said she was "infuriated" when she saw "God in a box" on Saturday evening after returning from a "praise session" featuring "liturgical dancing" at the Campo da Graça.
Speaking to Church Militant, the 23-year-old Catholic said that WYD was otherwise an "amazing experience," especially since "there is no larger event of Catholic youth," mirroring how "truly global the Catholic Church is with people from every part of the world."
Dudzik explained that she would not identify herself as a "traditionalist Catholic," even though she occasionally attended the Traditional Latin Mass. "Like many of my generation, I love the TLM for its beauty and reverence, but I am just a Catholic," she stressed.
"The girl kneeling in the white dress? That's me," Dudzik posted on Twitter after images of the Blessed Sacrament reserved in boxes sparked outrage from Catholics on social media. One photograph showed the pro-lifer in a white dress kneeling in prayer before the boxes.
In a Facebook post, the pro-lifer narrated how her attention was drawn to "some large gray boxes" on a table in a tent resembling a greenhouse. Images on social media show a cactus-like plant and two burning candles on either side of the reserved sacrament.
"There were maybe two or three people praying around them, and I was honestly confused. I didn't know what they were praying to, and neither did my friend," Dudzik wrote. "I went up to one of the ladies, and she said, 'Jesus. Jesus is in there.'"
"At that moment I was infuriated: how dare they disrespect Our Lord? What do they think they are doing, putting Him in a box with almost zero respect, people walking right past not knowing it's Him at all!" she exclaimed.
"It is an absolute disgrace to put the Host in such an unworthy container to be worshiped," Dudzik remarked. "Furthermore, it's an incredible shame that many of the young people didn't even know this was their Jesus — who came and suffered and died for them — that they should be bowing down to worship!"
"When adored — an incredible privilege and honor that Our Lord gives us — Jesus should always be kept in a tabernacle or exposed in a monstrance," she emphasized.
Dudzik said that she was "fuming" as she and her friends walked back to their campsite, but instead of "purposeless anger" they decided "to do something about it."
"We weren't going to protest, or post on our social medias that this was an outrage (although I do believe there's a time and place for that). We weren't going to gossip to others about it," she noted.
"We were going to take our rosaries, go back to Jesus and say a Rosary in reparation for sins against his Sacred Heart. So that's what we did," Dudzik recounted.
The faithful Catholic told Church Militant that several priests she spoke to while flying back to the U.S. agreed with her.
Dudzik said that she has written to WYD organizers, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Vatican but has yet to receive a response.
"And we are doing this while talking about a Eucharistic revival!" she commented. "The organizers had three years to plan for this event. Did they not foresee the possibility of thousands of consecrated Hosts being left over after Holy Mass?
"The fact that 70% of Catholics don't even believe in the True Presence makes this case even sadder. How are we, the youth, supposed to believe that Jesus is truly here when this is how He is presented?" she asked.
"I love our Catholic faith; I love our magisterium, but I want to hear something. I want to hear a statement from them. Tell us, bishops and priests, tell us, the youth from across the world, why was Jesus exposed in such a manner?" Dudzik concluded.
Catholics earlier expressed outrage after consecrated Hosts were distributed in what appeared to be Ikea potato chip bowls at the Eucharist celebrated by Cdl. Juan José Omella, president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, in Estoril for Spaniard participants at WYD.
Photographs on social media showed the priests distributing Communion from plastic-wrapped bowls with Ikea barcodes on the bottom. The Eucharist, attended by over 30,000 Spanish pilgrims, was concelebrated by 64 Spanish bishops and more than 900 priests.