Noting the Start of a Eucharistic Congress

«I Unite Myself Spiritually With This Important Event»

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 10, 2004 ( Here is a translation of the address John Paul II delivered today when praying the Angelus with the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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1. Inaugurated today in Guadalajara, Mexico, was the International Eucharistic Congress, which has as its theme «The Eucharist, Light and Life of the New Millennium.» I unite myself spiritually with this important ecclesial event, with which the Year of the Eucharist also begins.

On the occasion of this special Year, I have addressed an apostolic letter to the whole Church that begins with these words, «Mane nobiscum, Domine — Stay with us, Lord» (see Luke 24:29). May this invocation resound in every Christian community: that in recognizing the resurrected Christ «in the breaking of the bread» (Luke 24:35), the faithful will witness to him with concrete charity.

2. A favorite expression of the local Church’s charity is the diocesan Caritas. In Rome, Caritas is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its foundation. I thank God for the numerous fruits of generosity that have matured in these years, and encourage the ecclesial community to continue with the work of formation and with activities in the service of the poor and needy.

3. We entrust these intentions to the intercession of Mary Most Holy, «Eucharistic woman» («Ecclesia de Eucharistia,» Chapter 6).

[After praying the Angelus, John Paul II greeted the pilgrims as follows:]

I send my greetings to the participants in the Social Week of Italian Catholics, held over these days in Bologna with the theme «Democracy, New Settings, New Powers.» May the reflection of this important congress give new stimulus to the ecclesial community of Italy to offer an ever more incisive testimony in all the realms of the life of the country.

Next Sunday, in the afternoon, in spiritual communion with those who will conclude the International Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara (Mexico), I will preside in St. Peter’s over a solemn celebration to open the Eucharistic Year throughout the Church. I invite the faithful to participate in great numbers in this important ecclesial event to offer joint homage to Christ, Light and Life of the new millennium.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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