Vatican City (Asianews/CWN) - An apostolic letter by Pope John Paul II, welcoming the Year of the Eucharist, will be released on Friday, October 8. Cardinal Francis Arinze , the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, will introduce the apostolic letter at a press conference in Rome. He will be accompanied at that conference by Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, the secretary of the same Congregation; Msgr. Piero Marini, the director of pontifical liturgies; and Msgr. Mauro Parmeggiani of the vicariate of Rome.
Pope John Paul announced on June 10 that he was declaring a special Year of the Eucharist, to run from October 2004 to October 2005. The year will formally commence with the Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, which opens on October 10. It will close with the meeting of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, beginning on October 2; that meeting of the Synod will be devoted to a discussion of the Eucharist in the life of the Church.
The Pope's apostolic letter will follow in a sequence of several magisterial texts on the Eucharist. In April 2003 the Holy Father issued his 14th encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, in which he wrote that the Church "cannot realize her proper vocation without cultivating a constant relation with the Eucharist." In the encyclical, the Pope decried the liturgical abuses that "obscure true faith and Catholic doctrine."
On October 17, Pope John Paul is scheduled to preside at a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, at which he will officially open the worldwide observance of the Year of the Eucharist. His homily will be relayed by satellite broadcast to the participants in the Eucharistic Congress in Mexico, which will close that day.
According to informed sources at the Vatican, the Holy Father is considering a trip to Bari, Italy, in May 2005, to attend the national Eucharistic congress there, if his health allows.