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    » 05/05/2005, 00.00


    Bishops' directives for the Year of the Eucharist

    Qaiser Felix

    Islamabad (AsiaNews) – The Bishops' Conference of Pakistan has released its pastoral directives for the Year of the Eucharist which the late Pope John Paul II proclaimed and Pope Benedict XVI supports.

    In a joint letter published on April 25, the bishops urged the faithful to "seriously try to rediscover the Eucharist's riches" and invited the clergy to explain it as it was foreshadowed in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New.

    The Mystery of the Eucharist can be summarized in three words: Message, Meal and Mission.

    The 'Message' of the Old and New Testaments is about Christ, the Word of God made flesh to save us. "He continues to teach, heal and drive away evil forces every time we celebrate the Eucharist or adore him in the tabernacle or in the monstrance," the prelates write.

    But the Eucharist, their letter points out, is also a 'Meal'. It is "through prayer that the power of the Holy Spirit transforms bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ".

    Hence, the bishops hope that "this year of the Holy Eucharist [may] help us change our own lives according to the example set by Christ as well transform all that is distorted in culture and society."

    The letter also says that "the Eucharistic celebration ends in 'Mission', i.e. that when the Eucharistic celebration is concluded, the Eucharistic Mission begins. For this reason, it urges the faithful "to go out and proclaim the power of the Risen Lord to transform our lives and all those situations where injustice and exploitation, violence and terrorism, sickness and pollution, damage Creation and dehumanize human beings who are called to be its stewards."

    The pastoral letter then moves on to underline certain points and ways to celebrate the Year.

    "The Eucharist," the bishops explain, "is a celebration that the priest leads, but in which the faithful are not mere spectators".

    They stress the importance for the faithful to receive this gift in a worthy manner. If one is aware of one's mortal sins, one must fulfill the sacrament of confession and observe the three-hour fast before receiving communion.

    Furthermore, "the Eucharist is a sacrament of love, peace and unity," the bishops write; "therefore, we must be ready to forgive anyone with whom we have had a quarrel or a disagreement."

    Indeed, they hope that "this might be the fruit of the Year of the Eucharist, namely a more visible harmony, peace and reconciliation in our parish communities."

    It is however with sorrow that the prelates view how some Christians participate in the rituals without communicating.

    They strongly urge catechists, teachers and other lay helpers "to make every effort in preparing as many faithful as possible, this year, to join the rank of the communicants so that they can fully participate in the Holy Mass."

    "We would like to stress the importance of developing a true Eucharistic spirituality that will make our people centre their life in Christ," the bishops write.

    They especially exhort the youth to seriously meet the challenge of becoming a priest or a religious, i.e. someone who can celebrate the Eucharist and thus "satisfy the spiritual hunger of our communities".

    In the letter, the Bishops' Conference tells the faithful to keep in mind two important dates in this Year of the Eucharist. The first one is the feast of the Corpus Domini on 29th May, which should be celebrated with "special fervour and devotion", and, wherever possible, with a Eucharistic procession and Holy Hour of Adoration.

    The second one is the planned National Eucharistic Congress scheduled for September 9-11 during the Ziarat at the National Marian Shrine in Mariamabad. This will enable clergy, men and women religious and the faithful from all dioceses "to give public honour and glory to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament."

    The letter ends inviting the faithful to "learn from Mary, 'Woman of the Eucharist', to be fervent worshippers of Her Son".

    The bishops also pray "that the Year of the Eucharist may be a source of great blessings and spiritual growth for the Church, now led by the new Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI."

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    See also

    14/06/2009 VATICAN
    Pope: Corpus Domini, “Bread of Life” and love: world hunger unacceptable
    The feast of Corpus Domini confirms in Christ “love exists and because it exists things can change for the better and we can hope”. It also has cosmic dimensions in recalling the abundance of the summer harvest. He augurs the UN will face the economic crisis in solidarity with poor nations and rid the world of hunger. A prayer for the Year for Priests that begins this Friday June 19th, feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

    12/06/2009 VATICAN
    Pope warns of risk of secularisation creeping into Church
    Celebrating Corpus Domini, Benedict XVI on the eve of the beginning of the year of the priests, exhorts them to always celebrate the Eucharist “with their hearts”, accompanying Christ’s sacrifice with their own.

    Corpus Domini Procession: bringing Christ to the streets of the city in the Pope's words
    Benedict XVI's homily for the celebration of Corpus Domini

    04/06/2015 VATICAN
    Pope: "let us worship with those brothers and sisters who have been asked to sacrifice their lives for fidelity to Christ"
    During the Corpus Christi Mass, Francis spoke of communion, the Eucharist, which prevents Catholics from “coming apart” and “demeaning themselves”. We come apart “when we do not live brotherhood between us, when we race to occupy the first places, when we do not find the courage to bear witness to charity, when we are unable to offer hope.” We demean ourselves when we let the idolatries of the present affect us, such as “looks,” and “consuming” things. We should feel “in communion with our brothers and sisters who are not free to express their faith in the Lord.”

    25/06/2011 RUSSIA
    Saint Petersburg: the first Corpus Domini procession in 93 years
    The last celebration was held in 1918. The city’s mayor granted permission for the procession, which will be led by Mgr Paolo Pezzi, archbishop of Moscow. Catholics will walk along Nevsky Prospekt, the main thoroughfare in the former capital.

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