Eucharist Increases "Bonds of Spiritual Love" With Deceased

Pope Dedicates Angelus to Remember the Faithful Departed

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 7, 2004 ( Receiving the Eucharist reinforces «the bonds of spiritual love» with the deceased, said John Paul II before praying the Angelus on Sunday.

Addressing several thousand pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father dedicated his address to remember the dead, whom the Church remembers particularly in November.

God «is not God of the dead, but of the living,» he said quoting words from Sunday’s Gospel. «He remains faithful to his close covenant with man, covenant that not even death can break.»

«This pact, sealed in Christ’s Pasch, is rendered constantly present in the sacrament of the Eucharist,» the Holy Father continued from the brief text he read in Italian.

In the Eucharist, «the prayer for the deceased also finds its culmination. By offering the Holy Mass for them, believers sustain them in the final purification. By approaching Holy Communion with faith, they reinforce the bonds of spiritual love with them,» he added.

Several passages of the Catechism of the Catholic Church recommend prayer for the dead, in particular during the Mass.

«From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also recommends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead,» says number 1032.

The Pope concluded his address with the hope that «[f]rom Paradise, may Mary most holy intercede for all our deceased dear ones, and reinforce in us, pilgrims on earth, faith in the final resurrection, of which the sacrament of the Eucharist gives us the pledge.»

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