VATICAN CITY, JUNE 10, 2004 ( On the feast of Corpus Christ, John Paul II announced a "Year of the Eucharist" that the Catholic Church will observe from October 2004 to October 2005.

At the Mass he presided over today in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Pope explained that the Year of the Eucharist will begin with the International Eucharistic Congress, Oct. 10-17, in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The year "will end with the next ordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will be held in the Vatican from October 2-29, 2005, and whose theme will be 'The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church,'" the Holy Father added.

John Paul II, who reminded the faithful that the "Church lives from the Eucharist," has made this sacrament the focus of his pastoral concern, as reflected in his 2003 encyclical, "Ecclesia de Eucharistia."

"Christ, 'the living bread which came down from heaven,' is the only one who can satisfy man's hunger at all times and in all parts of the earth," he said.

In the Eucharist, "Christ gives his Body and Blood for the life of humanity. And all those who nourish themselves worthily at his table, become living instruments of his presence of love, mercy and peace," the Pope explained.

As has been the custom since the beginning of this pontificate, at the end of the Mass John Paul II presided over the procession of the Eucharist from the Basilica of St. John Lateran to that of St. Mary Major.