CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 17, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II expressed the hope that the upcoming Eucharistic Year will help the faithful rediscover the importance of this sacrament.
The Pope mentioned this today in Castel Gandolfo, when meeting with 130 newly appointed bishops who attended a refresher seminar, organized by the Vatican congregations for Bishops and for Eastern Churches.
“With the consecration, the bishop becomes fully a teacher, priest and guide of the Christian community,” the Holy Father said. “This is why Christ, the divine Teacher, must always be at the center of his [the bishop’s] ministry, present both through the Word of Scripture as well as in the sacrament of the Eucharist.”
“I very much hope that the Year of the Eucharist, which will begin on October 10 with the opening of the International Eucharistic Congress, will constitute a providential occasion to understand more profoundly the central importance of the Eucharistic sacrament in the life and activity of each local Church,” he said. The congress will open in Guadalajara, Mexico.
“Bonds of fraternal charity are reinforced around the altar and the awareness is revived in all believers of belonging to the one people of God, of which the bishops are pastors,” the Pope added.
John Paul II reminded the prelates of their duty “to watch over the celebration of the sacraments and worship in general, and that the desire of the faithful be respected to participate in worthy celebrations where nothing is improvised.”
“You are conscious that the mystery of sanctification requires the testimony of a holy life,” he said. “The Spirit of God, which has sanctified you through the episcopal consecration, awaits your generous daily response. The testimony of our life is necessary to confirm what we teach.”
The bishops, from the Churches of the East and West, arrived a week ago on pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter. They represent some 20 countries. The Pope said that such episcopal meetings foster “communication and communion among the Churches.” The bishops’ seminar ended today.