Mexico's "Eucharistic Culture" Stirs Hopes for Church

Cardinals and Bishops Impressed by Nation’s Faith

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico, OCT. 11, 2004 ( Is Mexico the Church’s hope for the resurgence of the Eucharist?

Some prelates would seem to think so, judging by their opinions ZENIT gathered at the International Eucharistic Congress, which opened here Sunday.

The prelates had attended the first phase of the congress, a Theological Pastoral Symposium, which ended Friday.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said it was the first time he visited Mexico and was very impressed by the faith of the crowds of Mexicans he has seen in different shrines.

«It is the first time I am with the Virgin of Guadalupe and I am amazed by the popular piety, the great faith of the simple people,» he said. «I think that in Mexico there is hope for the universal Church.»

Cardinal Bernard Law, who was born in Torreon, Mexico, and is now archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome, said: «In August I had the opportunity to visit the city of San Luis Potosi, on the anniversary of the foundation of that diocese, and that visit helped me learn much about Mexican culture.»

«It is a ‘Eucharistic culture,’ and I think it is very special,» he said. «Of course it has challenges, but so does the rest of the world.»

The president of the Mexican episcopal conference, Bishop José Martín Rábago, pointed out that «the Mexican people are spontaneously ‘Eucharistic,’ and have lived their approach to the Eucharist with simplicity: nocturnal adoration, holy hours, the feast of Corpus Christi, and a multitude of manifestations of popular religiosity.

«We need to reflect more on this popular religiosity, so rich and worthy of being respected — to reflect further so that it will also have a content that is in greater accord with the whole dimension of the mystery of the most holy Eucharist.»

Cardinal Angelo Scola, patriarch of Venice, Italy, went further, saying that in his opinion, the Catholic Church in Mexico is the most important in the world.

«I am convinced that the Mexican Church is the future of the Church, because it is the most important Church of the People of God,» he said. «The mixture of peoples and cultures of Mexico found its DNA in the Virgin of Guadalupe.»

Earlier, in a press conference, the papal legate to the congress, Cardinal Jozef Tomko, said that «Mexico occupies a special place in the continent of hope and in the new evangelization that is proposed, beginning with faith in the Eucharist.»

So impressed was Cardinal Tomko by the Mexicans’ faith that on Saturday, after giving first Communion to more than 300 children in the town of Acatitlan, in the Guadalajara Archdiocese, the cardinal took up his video camera to preserve memories of his visit.

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