Pope to Render Homage to "Sacrament of Love"

Confirms Trip to Italian Eucharistic Congress

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 16, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI has confirmed that his first apostolic trip in Italy, to the city of Bari, will be to render homage to Jesus in the sacrament of the Eucharist.

The Holy Father explained this in a letter published today and dated May 13, sent to Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar for the Diocese of Rome, and president of the Italian bishops’ conference, whom he has named his special envoy to the Italian Eucharistic Congress, to be held in Bari May 21-29.

«I wish to be present at the conclusive Eucharistic celebration on Sunday, May 29, to render homage to Christ in the sacrament of his love and to reinforce at the same time the bonds of communion that unite the Successor of Peter with the Church that is in Italy and with its pastors,» said the Pope in his letter.

Benedict XVI will be in Bari for half a day for the closing of the Eucharistic Congress. The main event will be the Mass, on the day the feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated in Italy (the universal Church will celebrate it the previous Thursday).

The Pontiff said that this Eucharistic Congress «is being celebrated in the context of the special Year of the Eucharist, during which Catholics worldwide are invited to renew their awareness of the great gift that Christ left us in the Last Supper.»

«In the bread and wine, becoming in the Holy Mass the Body and Blood of the Lord, the Christian people find the nourishment and support to journey on the path to holiness, the universal vocation of all baptized» persons, says the Pope.

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