Pope Urges Latin Americans to Make Sunday Mass a Priority

Meets With a Pontifical Commission

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 21, 2005 (Zenit.org).- To live Sunday «fully as the day of the Lord and of the Church» is the principal task of Latin America in the New Evangelization, says John Paul II.

The Pope said this today in a meeting with the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America that met in Rome to reflect on the topic «Sunday Mass, Center of Christian Life in Latin America.»

«To participate in Sunday Mass is not only an important obligation, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly points out, but, first of all, a profound need of every faithful,» said the Holy Father. «The faith cannot be lived without habitual participation in Sunday Mass, sacrifice of redemption, common banquet of the Word of God and of the Eucharistic Bread, heart of Christian life,» said John Paul II when proposing pastoral guidelines to the cardinals and bishops of what he has called the «continent of hope.»

«Because of this it is necessary to concentrate efforts on better and more careful instruction and catechesis of the faithful on the Eucharist, as well as to take care that the celebration is worthy and decorous, so that it inspires true respect and genuine piety before the greatness of the Eucharistic mystery,» the Pope said.

«Sunday Mass should be appropriately prepared by the celebrant, with his spiritual disposition, perceptible later in his gestures and words, and the proper preparation of the homily,» he added.

«Special attention must also be dedicated to the selection and preparation of songs, signs and other means that enrich the liturgy, always within the respect due to the established norms, valuing all the spiritual and pastoral richness of the Roman Missal and the dispositions proposed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments,» the Holy Father continued.

«It is not an easy task, and because of this it requires the cooperation of all: presbyters and deacons, the consecrated and faithful who are present in the parishes or who belong to ecclesial associations or movements,» he said.

«Accept the collaboration of all, unite efforts and work in communion!» John Paul II suggested.

The president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America is always the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, at present Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re.

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