Here is a translation of the address Pope Francis gave Saturday to participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.
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Dear Brother Bishops and Priests,
Brothers and Sisters,
I am happy to meet with you at the end of your Assembly’s works. I thank Monsignor Piero Marini for the courteous words he addressed to me, on behalf of all, at the beginning of this meeting. I greet the National Delegates designated by the Episcopal Conferences and, in a special way, the delegation of the Philippine Committee led by Monsignor Jose Palma, Archbishop of Cebu, city in which the next International Eucharistic Congress will take place, in January of 2016.
In those days, the Catholic world will fix the eyes of its heart on the supreme mystery of the Eucharist, to draw from it a renewed apostolic and missionary impulse. This is why it is important to be well prepared, and I thank you, dear brothers and sisters, for the work you are doing to help the faithful of every continent to understand ever more and ever better the value and importance of the Eucharist in your life.
The Eucharist has the central place in the Church because it is the Eucharist that “makes the Church.” As Vatican II affirms, quoting the words of the great Augustine, it is “sacramentum pietatis, signum unitatis, vinculum caritatis” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 47).
The theme chosen for the next International Eucharistic Congress is all the more significant: “Christ in You, Hope of Glory” (Colossians 1:27). It puts in full light the bond between the Eucharist, the mission and Christian hope. Today there is a lack of hope in the world; therefore, humanity needs to hear the message of our hope in Jesus Christ. The Church proclaims this message with renewed ardour, using new methods and new expressions. With the spirit of the “New Evangelization,” the Church carries this message to all and, in a special way, to those that, though being baptized, have estranged themselves from the Church and live without making reference to the Christian life.
The 51stInternational Eucharistic Congress offers the opportunity to experience and understand the Eucharist as a transforming encounter with the Lord in His Word and in His sacrifice of love, so that all may have life, and life in abundance (cf. John 10:10). It is the propitious occasion to rediscover the faith as source of grace that leads to joy and hope in personal, family and social life.
The encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist will be a source of hope for the world if, transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit to the image of Him whom we encounter, we receive the mission to transform the world giving the fullness of life that we ourselves have received and experienced, bearing hope, forgiveness, healing and love to all those who are in need, in particular the poor, the disinherited and the oppressed, sharing life and aspirations with them and walking with them in search of an authentic human life in Christ Jesus.
Dear brothers and sisters, henceforth I entrust the next International Eucharistic Congress to the Virgin Mary. May Our Lady protect and support each one of you, your communities and render fruitful the work you are doing in view of the important ecclesial event of Cebu. I ask you, please, to pray for me and I bless you wholeheartedly.[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]