Here is the address given by Pope Francis to the Bishops-Friends of the Focolare Movement who are gathered in Rome for their 38thmeeting, which reflects on the theme “The Eucharist: Mystery of Communion”.
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I welcome you and I thank Cardinal Kovithavanij for his introduction. I also thank the President and the Co-President of the Focolare Movement for their presence.
Friendship with this Movement and your interest in the “spirituality of communion” has gathered you in Rome. In particular, over these days your reflection is focused on the theme “Eucharist, Mystery of Communion.”
Indeed, the charism of unity proper to the Work of Mary is strongly anchored in the Eucharist, which confers on it its Christian and ecclesial character. Without the Eucharist, unity would lose its magnet of divine attraction and would be reduced to a sentiment and to a dynamic that is only human, psychological and sociological. Instead, the Eucharist guarantees that Christ is the center, and that it is His Spirit, the Holy Spirit that moves our steps and our initiatives of encounter and communion.
The Apostle Paul writes: “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:17). As Bishops, we gather the communities around the Eucharist: the Bishop does not gather the people around his person, or his ideas, but around Christ present in his Word and in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. And at the school of Jesus, Good Shepherd made Lamb immolated and risen, the Bishop gathers the sheep entrusted to him with the offer of his life, he himself assuming a form of Eucharistic existence. Thus the Bishop, conformed to Christ, becomes a living Gospel, he becomes Bread broken for the life of many with his preaching and his witness. He who nourishes himself with faith in Christ, the living Bread, is driven by his love to give his life for brothers, to go forward, to go to encounter the one who is marginalized and despised.
In a particular way, I thank you, Brothers, who come from the bloodied lands of Syria and Iraq, as well as from Ukraine. In the suffering you are living with your people, you experience the strength that comes from the Eucharistic Jesus, strength to go forward united in faith and in hope.
In the daily celebration of Mass we are united to you, we pray for you offering the Sacrifice of Christ; and from there the many initiatives of solidarity in favor of your Churches draw their strength and meaning. Dear Brothers, I encourage you to carry forward your commitment in favor of the ecumenical path and the inter-religious dialogue. And I thank you for the contribution you give to greater communion among the various Ecclesial Movements.
May the Lord bless you and Our Lady protect you. Let us pray for one another. I thank you for your prayers.[Translation by ZENIT]