300,000 Views and Counting: Bishop Boyea’s Eucharistic Revival Series Goes Viral

‘On the Road to Emmaus’ is a social-media hit.

Logo for a new series launched by Bishop Earl Boyea that is taking the internet by storm during ahead of the National Eucharistic Congress.
Logo for a new series launched by Bishop Earl Boyea that is taking the internet by storm during ahead of the National Eucharistic Congress. (photo: Screenshot / Diocese of Lansing )

On Corpus Christi Sunday 2023, Bishop Earl Boyea of the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, launched a yearlong video series called On the Road to Emmaus. Since then, the series, which takes viewers step-by-step through the Holy Mass, has received more than 300,000 total views on YouTube. Some segments occasionally put into Instagram Reels have racked up as many as 129,000 views. More than 23,000 people officially signed up to receive weekly emails and text messages for each new chapter.

The series has proven so popular that it has now been extended through August.

Among the viewers: a young, growing family. 

John Paul and Patrycia Berkemeier of Jackson, Michigan, the parents of two children, the oldest being 3, are always looking for ways to live out their faith and pass it on to their kids. 

Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing, Mich. on set for 'EWTN News Nightly.'
Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing, Mich. on set for 'EWTN News Nightly.'(Photo: EWTN News Nightly )

“One of the things that I really appreciate about this video series is that it gives us practical ways to do that,” John Paul told the Register.

“I’m pretty active in my Catholic faith, but I’m still learning so much, and I love that,” Patrycia said. One of the biggest benefits, she said, is the focus on “all the beautiful, intricate parts that I’ve never known before.” The bonus: “It’s easy and accessible.”

For his part, Bishop Boyea wanted to do something innovative related to the Eucharistic Revival

Bishop Boyea brings attention to important truths that people may have forgotten and should know. “Throughout the Mass, except for those occasions where we specifically address Jesus, we’re addressing the Father. We’re joining in that act of worship,” he explained to the Register. “I think that’s something that a lot of people don’t think about too much. It’s obviously an overriding theme, but it’s a very important one because it really gets to the heart of, in a sense: Why did Jesus give us this sacrifice? It was because he wanted us to share in his own sacrifice to the Father.”

Bishop Boyea’s “challenges” at the end of each episode have been well received, as they are meant to inspire people to greater practice of the faith. In the episode “On the Word of God and the Creed,” he said his challenge was to “make a profound bow during the Creed at Holy Mass each time we say together, ‘By the power of the Holy Spirit, he was born of the Virgin Mary and became man.’ Such a bow signifies reverence and honor shown to the persons themselves or to the signs they represent for us. This is Jesus Christ God made man, truly present in the Holy Eucharist.”

For Week 52’s “Communion,” he challenges everyone to go to confession before receiving the Eucharist to be better prepared for that sacred encounter. “[T]his week’s challenge: Go to confession this week before receiving Holy Communion. That’s obviously an imperative if one is in a state of mortal sin. But even if you are not in the state of mortal sin, going to confession is always a great preparation for a fruitful reception of our Eucharistic Lord.”

John Paul Berkemeier finds this weekly challenge helps put faith into practice: “Knowing that we’re doing that along with other Catholics helps bolster our own faith, as well.” Mentioning challenges like going to adoration, frequenting confession, prayers such as the Divine Mercy Chaplet and a fast day for a specific intention, he shared, “What we’ve been trying to do with our family is praying the Angelus more. That’s something that has resulted from this video series, as well, and from other friends who have been doing the same practice, hearing about them stepping up to that challenge, too. This is one practical way that we can incorporate the faith more into our home life.”

Some weeks of On the Road to Emmaus include guests related to the episode’s theme. For example, Week 7’s “Dressing for Mass” with Richard Budd, his wife Maureen and their six children, “dovetailed with Bishop Boyea’s explanation of the Jewish roots and origins of Sunday Mass and the purpose of our worship,” explained Matt Riedl, the diocesan Office of Communications multimedia journalist.

Budd, the diocese’s director of Marriage and Family Life, and his wife spoke about how the family dresses appropriately for being in the presence of Jesus, with the aim, he told the Register, of teaching their children “that they have special clothes that they wear on Sunday when they go to Mass.”

“When we do something like taking a bit of extra effort to dress well for the act of worship that is Mass, that’s going to prepare us in ways, spiritually, psychologically, mentally, to be able to enter into that space, to be able to tell ourselves that this is not a mundane activity that we’re entering in, that we’re actually going to something that is unique in all of the things that we do in our week,” Budd told the Register. “So our outside appearance, as much as we’re able, should be affected by the reality of what we’re doing because it can inform our hearts.” 

“People come up to me and thank me for the video,” Budd added. “They told me that the video encouraged them to take a little more effort on Sunday morning preparing the way that they were dressing for Mass and that it had impacted them. People have found their appreciation for the Mass to have grown.”

Bishop Boyea says many people are enjoying the series, “and I presume that has led them to a greater intentionality in joining in the celebration of the Eucharist. In terms of seeing the reverence, I find most people are quite reverent.”

He also noted that in terms of the videos themselves, Riedl “is to be congratulated so much for his very capable work,” which includes, this May and June, a local Emmy Award, three Telly Awards, and the 2024 Cardinal John P. Foley Award from the Catholic Media Association naming him “Multimedia Journalist of the Year.”

Riedl told the Register that, for the past few years, Bishop Boyea “has had it on his heart to use multimedia as an evangelization tool. He’s seen that people have a hunger for learning more about their faith. And Bishop Boyea really loves teaching.” 

“It’s been a very nice tool and really helped him to touch people’s hearts and souls, especially in this year of Eucharistic Revival,” Riedl added.

This video series is actually the third one Bishop Boyea has made. The first series began with the bishop’s “Year of the Bible”; the popularity led to a second series, Disciples Together on the Way, a catechesis on different elements of the faith, with “a certain challenge to grow in holiness at the end of each week,” Riedl explained. The subscribers for it again increased over the initial video series. Then “partially in response to the National Eucharistic Revival that’s happening now, Bishop Boyea thought he wanted to do catechesis on the Eucharist as it pertains to the Mass in particular, since most people’s normal encounter with the Eucharist is through the Mass,” Riedl added. “So he devised this series called On the Road to Emmaus.”

“Some weeks,” Riedl noted, “also include a guest like Tom Monahan, founder of Ave Maria [University], talking about how the Eucharist has impacted his life.”

He finds the response “amazing,” with messages from “beyond our diocese of people saying how impactful it’s been in their lives to hear Bishop Boyea’s teaching on these different elements. They say that he feels like he’s their bishop or like that he’s there with them in the house.” 

The Berkemeiers agree.

“It gives us a direct point of access to our bishop, Bishop Boyea,” John Paul said, with Patrycia adding: “It’s like he’s becoming a friend, someone that we’re getting to know, and is teaching us and bringing us closer to Christ through this.”

At the same time, the video series has another effect — putting people in touch with the wider Church. John Paul mentioned the episode “Behind Bars: Bringing Christ to Prisoners” focusing on a priest saying Mass for inmates and their explanations of how it changed their lives.

“Seeing the prisoners in the correctional facility practicing the faith, hearing their testimony, and living it out, and hearing their appreciation and joy of the Eucharist is also something that’s very humbling because they’re not taking that for granted,” he said. “How often do we take that for granted? So that was connecting us to the wider Church, because it’s not just the people that we see every Sunday at Mass. It goes beyond that.”

The videos even help evangelize. Patrycia loves that this video series is “on social media so that I can repost it and share it with family and friends. Hopefully something strikes them.” She reposts the videos on Instagram, “and friends who aren’t Catholic are able to see. They’re such profound little snippets, and with the beauty of these videos, I hope something moves and stirs in their hearts. It’s a quick and easy way that I can share our faith with others through the gift of these videos.”

Bishop Boyea offered his own two hopes: “One, that people will know more about the Eucharist and Mass and engage in it more deeply. And that they’ll be ready for the next one.” 

He gave a hint of what is to come, sharing only the three first letters of the name of the next series: “The title is going to be B-M-W.”


The entire On the Road to Emmaus series is available at DioceseOfLansing.org/rte and also on the diocese’s YouTube page.