Before the Start of Year of the Eucharist

A Time of Intense Encounter With Christ, Says John Paul II

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 17, 2004 ( Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today when praying the midday Angelus with the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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1. The International Eucharistic Congress concludes today in the Mexican city of Guadalajara. For eight days the Eucharist was celebrated and adored as «light and life of the new millennium.» «Light,» because in the Eucharistic mystery shines the presence of Christ, Light of the world; «life,» because in the Eucharist Jesus has given us himself, Bread of life.

This afternoon, in St. Peter’s Basilica, I will preside over a Eucharistic celebration, in spiritual union with the great meeting of Guadalajara. In this way I will solemnly open the Year of the Eucharist, which will last until October 2005.

2. In the wake of the Second Vatican Council and of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, the Year of the Eucharist is meant to be a time of intense encounter with Christ, present in the sacrament of his Body and Blood. In this mystery, he sacramentally prolongs his paschal sacrifice, which has redeemed humanity from the slavery of sin and established the divine Kingdom of love, justice and peace.

From Christ’s Pasch the Church is born, which for this reason «lives from the Eucharist,» as I remind in the encyclical «Ecclesia de Eucharistia» (No. 1).

3. Together, let us invoke the Virgin Mary, so that she will help the Christian people to live this Year of the Eucharist as a time of profound conversion to Christ and of intense commitment to spreading his message of salvation.

[After praying the Angelus, the Pope greeted pilgrims as follows:]

I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to all those who, on the occasion of the anniversary of my election to the Chair of Peter, sent me their good wishes and assured me of their prayers.

While I pray to the Lord to comfort each one with the abundance of his gifts, I commend myself to him and invoke, through the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin, his constant help for the fruitful exercise of my ministry in the Church.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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