Sunday Mass Should Be Seen as a Joy, Says Pope

We Can’t Live Without It, He Tells Crowd at Angelus

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 12, 2005 ( Sunday Mass is not an imposition but a joy and a need for Catholics, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope delivered that message from the window of his study today before praying the Angelus with the more than 40,000 people gathered below in St. Peter’s Square.

The Holy Father’s brief address was centered on the Year of the Eucharist, which closes with a synod of the world’s bishops this October in Rome.

Pope John Paul II had convoked the Year of the Eucharist «to reawaken ever more, in the consciences of believers, wonder toward this great Sacrament,» said Benedict XVI, eliciting applause from his listeners several times.

«In this singular Eucharistic time, one of the recurring topics is Sunday, the Day of the Lord, a topic that was also at the center of the recent Italian Eucharistic Congress, held in Bari,» he said. Benedict XVI attended the close of the congress May 29.

A need

«During the conclusive celebration,» the Holy Father continued, «I also underlined how participation at Sunday Mass must be seen by a Catholic not as an imposition or weight, but as a need and joy.

«To meet with brothers, to listen to the Word of God and to be nourished of Christ, immolated for us, is an experience that gives meaning to life, which infuses peace in the heart. Without Sunday, we Catholics cannot live.»

Noting the large crowd in St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father noted: «Italian pilgrims are very numerous, as always. Thank you for your enthusiasm.»

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