The Holy See Search



2-23 October 2005

The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church

This Bulletin is only a working instrument for the press.
Translations are not official.

English Edition


08 - 05.10.2005




This morning, Wednesday 5 October 2005,the meetings for the Working Groups of the XI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops started, 238 Synod Fathers were present, for the election of the Moderators and the Relators of the Working Groups for the beginning of the discussions on the Synodal topic. The names of the Moderators of the Working Groups appointed were announced by the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops during the Fifth General Congregation, which was held this afternoon.



At 4:30 p.m. today, Wednesday 5 October 2005, with the prayer Actiones nostras qæsumus Domine aspirando præveni et adiuvando proseguere ut cuncta nostra oratio et operatio a te sempre incipiat et per te coepta finiatur (Inspire, we beg You, Lord, our actions and accompany them, so that all our prayers and work always begins with You and through You we have fulfillment) prayer recited by the Holy Father, the Fifth General Congregation took place, for the continuation of the interventions of the Synodal Fathers in the Hall on the Synodal topic The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church. The President Delegate on duty was His Em. Card. Telesphore Placidus TOPPO, Archbishop of Ranchi (India).


At the opening of the Fifth General Congregation the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops read the List of Moderators and Relators of the Working Groups, appointed in the First Session of this morning.


Anglicus A
H. Em. Card. Justin Francis RIGALI, Archbishop of Philadelphia

Anglicus B
H. Em. Card. Cormac MURPHY-O'CONNOR, Archbishop of Westminster, President of the Episcopal Conference

Anglicus C
H. Em. Card. Peter Kodwo Appiah TURKSON, Archbishop of Cape Coast

Gallicus A
H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Jean-Pierre RICARD, Archbishop of Bordeaux, President of the Episcopal Conference

Gallicus B
H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Franc RODÉ, C.M., Archbishop Emeritus of Ljubljana, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life

Gallicus C
H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Jean-Louis BRUGUÈS, O.P., Bishop of Angers

H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Amédée GRAB, O.S.B., Bishop of Chur, President of the Swiss Episcopal Conference, President of the Consilium Conferentiarum Episcoporum Europae (C.C.E.E.)

Hispanicus A
H. Em. Card. Darío CASTRILLÓN HOYOS, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy

Hispanicus B
H. Em. Card. Jorge Mario BERGOGLIO, S.I., Archbishop of Buenos Aires

Hispanicus C
H. Em. Card. Francisco Javier ERRÁZURIZ OSSA, of the Schönstatt Fathers, Archbishop of Santiago de Chile, President of the Episcopal Council of Latin America (C.E.L.AM.)

Italicus A
H. Em. Card. Renato Raffaele MARTINO, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

Italicus B
H. Em. Card. Geraldo Majella AGNELO, Archbishop of São Salvador da Bahia, President of the Episcopal Conference


Anglicus A
H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Diarmuid MARTIN, Archbishop of Dublin (Ireland)

Anglicus B
H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Donald William WUERL, Bishop of Pittsburgh (U.S.A)

Anglicus C
H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Seán Baptist BRADY, Archbishop of Armagh, President of the Episcopal Conference (Ireland)

Gallicus A
H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Alain HAREL, Titular Bishop of Forconio, Apostolic Vicar of Rodrigues (MAURITIUS)

Gallicus B
H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Robert LE GALL, O.S.B., Bishop of Mende (France)

Gallicus C
H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Paul-André DUROCHER, Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall (Canada)

H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Gerhard Ludwig MÜLLER, Bishop of Regensburg (Germany)

Hispanicus A
H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. José María ARANCIBIA, Archbishop of Mendoza (Argentina)

Hispanicus B
H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Alberto GIRALDO JARAMILLO, P.S.S., Archbishop of Medellín (Colombia)

Hispanicus C
H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Juan Francisco SARASTI JARAMILLO, C.I.M., Archbishop of Cali (Colombia)

Italicus A
H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Francesco CACUCCI, Archbishop of Bari-Bitonto (Italy)

Italicus B
H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Renato CORTI, Bishop of Novara (Italy)


In this Fifth General Congregation, the following Fathers intervened:

- H. B. Grégoire III LAHAM, B.S., Patriarch of Antiochia of the Greek-Melkites, Head of the Synod of the Greek-Melkite Church (SYRIA)
- H.E. Most. Rev. José María ARANCIBIA, Archbishop of Mendoza (ARGENTINA)
- H.E. Most. Rev. José Mario RUIZ NAVAS, Archbishop of Portoviejo (ECUADOR)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Yannis SPITERIS, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Corfù, Zante and Cefalonia, Apostolic Administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" Thessaloniki (GREECE)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Juan Francisco SARASTI JARAMILLO, C.I.M., Archbishop of Cali (COLOMBIA)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Patrick Daniel KOROMA, Bishop of Kenema (SIERRA LEONE)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Gabriel PEÑATE RODRÍGUEZ, Titular Bishop of Succuba, Apostolic Vicar of Izabal (GUATEMALA)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Stanisław RYŁKO, Titular Archbishop of Novica, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (VATICAN CITY)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Jean-Noël DIOUF, Bishop of Tambacounda (SENEGAL)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Pierre TRÂN ÐINH TU, Bishop of Phú Cuong (VIETNAM)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Ricardo BLÁZQUEZ PÉREZ, Bishop of Bilbao, President of the Episcopal Conference (SPAIN)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Juda Thaddaeus RUWA'ICHI, O.F.M. Cap., Bishop of Mbulu (TANZANIA)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Joseph POWATHIL, Archbishop of Changanacherry of the Syro-Malabras (INDIA)

Below are summaries of the interventions:

- H. B. Grégoire III LAHAM, B.S., Patriarch of Antiochia of the Greek-Melkites, Head of the Synod of the Greek-Melkite Church (SYRIA)

The Eucharist and the Economy of Salvation
I would like to peruse the Instrumentum Laboris, demonstrating the importance of the relationship between the Eucharist and the Economy of Salvation, a topic so dear to the Oriental Christian. The Sacraments - called the Mysteries in Oriental tradition- are different aspects of the great Sacrament of the Mystery of God, who wanted to take human form and to raise men to His Divine image. Thus the Eucharist is the Sacrament of Sacraments, and the mystery of mysteries.
Through it each Christian becomes a paschal man. The Church, in celebrating the Eucharist, becomes herself a paschal presence of Christ in the world.
On this subject, I would like to insist on not only the theological meaning of the three Sacraments of Christian initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. It is not only a theological connection, like that presented in the chapter on the relationship between the Eucharist and the other Sacraments (pages 14-16), but there is also a Biblical relationship, which has its starting point in the concept of the economy of salvation: the Father created, the Son saved and gave the Sacrament of the Eucharist. (Lk 22:19: “do this in remembrance of me”) and the Holy Spirit vivifies.
The Eucharist and the Economy, or Salvation Plan (No. 28 to No. 30)
The Eucharistic Mystagogy is that of the liturgical year condensed, and which appears under three aspects: 1) the Liturgy of the Word, which is the Theophany and corresponds to the feasts of Nativity, Baptism and Kerygma; 2) the Liturgy of the Anaphora, that corresponds to the Passion, to the Death on the Cross and the Resurrection; 3) the Liturgy of Communion, which corresponds to Pentecost, to the Divinization (Theosis).
The prayer of the Anaphora of St. John Chrysostome reminds us that Christ “has accomplished the whole economy of the Providence of the Father on us”.
From the table of the Eucharist to the table of the poor brother (No. 79)
The different aspects of the economy of salvation are the fundamental dimensions which we live in the Eucharist, which become the elements of Christian life in the world.
St. John Chrysostome, in his fiftieth Homily on St. Matthew, says this:”The mystery of the Eucharist is the mystery of the brother, and judgment will be on the way we link together the mystery of Christ present in the Holy Eucharist and the sacrament present in the brothers (In Matthew 25:31-46). In the IV century, Narsaï the Syrian also tells us: “Holiness without your brother man is not holiness, for you cannot enter the Kingdom alone”.
The Eucharist and the Evangelizing Mission (No. 82 and No.88)
On page 81, it would be useful to mention the role of the “Church of the Arabs”, that was made known in the West by the book by Father Jean Corbon, with this title. In fact, in the present day, after 11 September 2001, with the war against Iraq, with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the increase in Islamic fundamentalism and the extension of the phenomenon of terrorism, it is very important to remind the Arab Christians about their role as Church “of the Arabs”, in the context of Islam, to which they are historically linked (“Church of Islam”). Such a reminder would help to encourage Christians in the Arab world and in Islamic countries, and would be very favorably received in this world and in these countries . Furthermore, it would be a corollary of the liturgical formula “Ite, missa est”
On the subject of the “Eucharist and peace” (page 75), it would be appropriate to mention Jerusalem and Palestine, spiritual home of all Christians: to say a word for the peace in the Holy City and in the Holy Land, key to peace in the Near East and in the whole world, and what, for we the Christians in the Arab world, is of the greatest importance for the preservation of Christian presence in this Arab world.

[00058-02.07] [IN009] [Original text: French]

- H.E. Most. Rev. José María ARANCIBIA, Archbishop of Mendoza (ARGENTINA)

Since many SHADOWS have been found in the Eucharist celebrated by the Church, some LIGHTS should also be pointed out. Thus the same obscurity can be the better pondered, and paths of reflection opened in hope.
Between us, the Vatican Council II and liturgical reform have been received with enthusiasm. As a true step of God for the renewal of the Church, and the service she gives to the world. Priests, scarce in number and great in self-denial, celebrate every Sunday in distant towns or districts, in very popular and highly participated celebrations. They make an effort to prepare better homilies. As best possible, they impart confessions, without reaching all those requiring it.
The distant communities, reached every so often, call upon deacons and ministers of the Word so that the people may live the day of the Lord. Furthermore, the growing participation of deacons, acolytes and lay faithful are of great use in the preparation and celebration of the Eucharist, and in adoration.
The faithful assemble together in the Mass not only to comply with the precept, but because they want to meet with each other in a community, with the Lord, with His Word, with His Body and Blood as food. Increasingly one preaches and hopes so that the Eucharist may provoke a change in personal, family and social life. In a secular society, and faced with the challenge of sects, Catholics continue to trust in the Eucharist as an incomparable treasure.
The need to renew and increase the catechesis for the Sacraments is recognized. More so, we maintain the hope and the commitment to advance towards “permanent catechistic journey”, which includes all ages and conditions of life. One returns to contemplate the beauty and decorum of all that concerns the Eucharist, although we should secure it from our poverty.

[00081-02.04] [IN074] [Original text: Spanish]

- H.E. Most. Rev. José Mario RUIZ NAVAS, Archbishop of Portoviejo (ECUADOR)

In Ecuador, as in some countries, one must face three realities:- Numerous baptized people wish to receive the Sacraments without pre-sacramental catechesis, for many the only opportunity to know and love Jesus. - Some priests resort to an inappropriate reading of the affirmation that the Sacraments are “ex opere operato” instruments of Grace. - Some educators consider as catechesis the obligatory classes of theoretical religious instruction.
The strong wind of secularism, in some European Christian communities with deep roots in the Gospel, will pass by like a long, probably drawn out, a winter. God willing, a new Spring will come, because they have deep roots in the Gospel.
Evangelization, in my country, has strong expressions of Christian devotion, which we respect; but the roots of evangelization are not deep. It is urgent to deepen in them, before the secularizing wind arrives in our countries.
In the scene of Emmaus we discover two travelers and a stranger, two disciples and the Master. The disciples are not before someone unknown to them; they are before their Master.
Recognition presupposes previous knowledge and a deep relationship.
Only in walking with Jesus will one be able to recognize the Master of Nazareth, in his new risen state, present in the Eucharist, where he may be recognized in the “breaking of bread”: Lk 24:13-35 does not speak of disciples who have the experience of “knowing”, but of recognizing Jesus in the Breaking of bread.
They recognize Him because they are disciples; in its turn, the recognition, in the breaking of the bread, converts the disciples into evangelizers: The bread broken and shared moves them to start on the road which leads to Jerusalem, symbol of where one should go to tell of and confirm the experience of faith.
Discipleship, as knowledge and recognition, goes together with an interpersonal relationship; this normally takes place in small communities and movements; it is difficult that it takes place in the crowd, and even less in a multitude. Pope Paul VI blessed and clarified the identity of small Christian communities, contribution of the Church in Latin America (E.N. 58) and Pope John Paul II proposes them as an instrument and means of evangelization (R.M. 51).
Pastoral on the Eucharist should be the culmination of and never separated from a Pastoral for New Evangelization which gives foundation to the experience of faith.
In my country, as in other countries of Latin America, the catechists collaborate without any financial remuneration, but need more formation and accompaniment. In the Parishes, served by teams that include Religious Sisters as well, the formation of the catechists and the accompaniment of children and youngsters towards the encounter with Jesus Christ is better achieved.
Parish priests and Religious Sisters will feel encouraged and endorsed with a blessing of the Pope.

[00082-02.03] [IN075] [Original text: Spanish]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Yannis SPITERIS, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Corfù, Zante and Cefalonia, Apostolic Administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" Thessaloniki (GREECE)

“The causal influence of the Eucharist at the origin of the Church” is by now an established axiom both in the Magisterium and in theology. It is true: the Eucharist makes the Church, not in a chronological and logical sense, but in the sense that the Eucharist allows the Church to exist and live in a sacramental way and as experience the true Body of Christ. The community and ecclesial dimension of the Eucharist therefore forms the quintessence of the Eucharistic mystery. However, I have the impression that this Eucharistic reality is the most ignored one and the least understood by our faithful at least in practice. One has the sensation that, in the Eucharistic vision of our faithful, an individualistic, over-pious and intimist practice of the Eucharist prevails to the detriment of its prevalently communion and ecclesial aspect. In practice, there is the unconscious tendency to divide Christ the Head from His Body. One wishes to communicate with “Jesus” without communicating with the whole of Christ, Head and limbs. Hence, one falls once again into legalism: Sunday becomes a ritual day of obligation to be observed and not just a life to share in communion and love. The statement “the Eucharist makes the Church” means that every Eucharistic celebration must dynamically transform, more and more, the believers into lively “ecclesial communities”, shape them more and more into a living organism, in the living Body of Christ. To recuperate the ecclesial aspect of the Eucharist, one should also rediscover its pneumatological dimension. It is the Holy Spirit that makes the miracle of transubstantiation, and it is He who makes “us all become one in Christ”. The Eucharist cannot be given without the Holy Spirit, likewise Incarnation is not given. Do not forget that the Spirit brings Christ to man and Christ, in turn, takes the Holy Spirit, according to the general law of the economy of salvation: wherever there is the Spirit, there is Christ, and wherever there is Christ there is the Spirit. In this pneumatological context also lies the debate on the Eucharistic epiclesis, a very live reality in Oriental Eucharistic anaphoras. If we really wish to “breathe with both lungs” Catholic theology must fully recuperate the pneumatological aspect of the Eucharist - something, for instance,which the two preparatory documents regarding the Synod did not do.

[00089-02.06] [IN083] [Original text: Italian]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Juan Francisco SARASTI JARAMILLO, C.I.M., Archbishop of Cali (COLOMBIA)

The Eucharist is the answer to the negative signs of contemporary culture. In first place, in contrast with the culture or anti-culture of death which traffics with arms, which builds massive systems of destruction, which legitimizes abortion, which authorizes research using human embryos, Jesus defines himself and gives himself to us as “Bread of Life”. In second place, our culture is marked with hatred and terrorism: September 11th, March 11th, the London Underground... The Eucharist is the permanent possibility of reconciliation with God and our brothers and the invitation to reconcile ourselves with one another before offering worship to the Lord; from that point it is normal that the “rite of peace”, renewed in the liturgical reform is so deeply felt in many communities.
Another contemporary feature is scientific positivism and relativism; but in the Eucharist the reality of “mystery”, and the validity of believing and loving as ways of knowledge, are affirmed; with Eucharistic faith, sustained in the ecclesial tradition based on the words of the Lord, we have access to authentic although imperfect certainties. Finally, faced with the solitude and despair which confront modern man, the Eucharist offers us - as it did the disciples of Emmaus - a profound company and a promise of eternal life which fills us with definitive hope.

[00117-02.04] [IN092] [Original text: Spanish]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Patrick Daniel KOROMA, Bishop of Kenema (SIERRA LEONE)

I am speaking on behalf of the Inter-territorial Bishops Conference of Sierra Leone and the Gambia.
I am talking with reference to No. 6 - the Eucharist in Various Situations in the Church.
1. The situation:
Mass attendance is good and helped by the incorporation of local gestures, local language, songs, musical instruments etc.. some parishes in the urban areas have Eucharistic chapels and observe first Thursday and First Friday devotions.
2. Problem:
- less than 20% of Sunday attendance at Mass receive Communion and are mostly children, young and the elderly because of the Sacrament of Matrimony -
Many communities without priests to celebrate Mass.
3. Response:
We need an intensive catechesis over the years which can make much impact.

[00118-02.04] [IN100] [Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Gabriel PEÑATE RODRÍGUEZ, Titular Bishop of Succuba, Apostolic Vicar of Izabal (GUATEMALA)

The pilgrim Church in Guatemala is conscious that the Eucharist is the greatest gift the Church has received from God, because it contains the presence of Jesus Christ our Lord, Himself
Therefore she proclaims her faith in this Sacrament every time that it is celebrated in the Holy Mass and honors it with maximum adoration of the Lord in the colorful procession of Corpus Christi, in the holy hours on Thursdays and the visits that the faithful make to Jesus personally in the Tabernacle.
It is a question of tradition faithfully transmitted from generation to generation and which we faithfully commit ourselves to continue celebrating and handing down until the Lord returns.
Guatemala is a country menaced by mineral exploitation. Many licences has been granted in this field to companies from developed countries who do not guarantee the care of the environment, and show no respect for the rights of the indigenous communities; and that are not fair in the distribution of profits, from which they leave hardly one per cent in form of royalties.
This is why we take courage for the position of the Church in Guatemala with the affirmation of the Instrumentum Laboris which in N. 3 says that: “Therefore, since the Eucharist is the summit towards which all creation tends, the Eucharist is the response to the concerns of the contemporary world, even those of ecology”.
We also hope that the bread that is converted in the body of the Lord and the wine which is converted into his blood may be fruit of a fertile, pure and uncontaminated land.

[00119-02.02] [IN101] [Original text: Spanish]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Stanisław RYŁKO, Titular Archbishop of Novica, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (VATICAN CITY)

The spreading process of secularization and religious indifference and of a “strange forgetfulness of God” - as the Holy Father Benedict XVI calls it - provoke among many baptized of our time a troublesome weakening, if not even loss, of one’s own Christian identity. In this situation one of the most urgent challenges that the Church must face is that of adequate post-Baptismal Christian initiation, capable of creating Christian communities that live faith deeply. In our times there is an urgent need for catechesis for adults that knows how to communicate to the faithful the foundations of faith (kerygma!) And one that, on the example of patristic catechesis, has a strong mystagogical mark(Cf. Jean Daniélou, Catechesis in the first centuries, Elle DiCi, Turin, 1982).
Christian identity has its own, true sacramental character because it stems from the three sacraments which create and develop a Christian: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist, which is the summit of Christian life and the moment when a Christian is himself at the highest level. The Eucharistic celebration constitutes a privileged place where one achieves the full, mature and coherent Christian identity of the lay faithful. Because it is in the Eucharist that a lay Christian fully realizes his participation in the triple mission entrusted to him by Christ: priestly, prophetic and royal. The priestly mission: in the Eucharist the Christian discovers his doxological vocation, he discovers that his whole life in all its dimensions must become a spiritual worship and a spiritual sacrifice united to the one of Christ. The prophetic mission: the Eucharist opens up to the mission, that is the Christian testimony in the world and the proclamation of the Word of God right up to the ends of the world. And lastly the royal mission: the Eucharist is an inexhaustible source from which - in a Christian’s life - the force to transform the world according to the Gospel comes from. As the Holy Father recalled in Cologne, the real revolution which changes the world starts with the Eucharist: :”Here now is the central act of transformation that alone can truly renew the world: violence is transformed into love, and death into life... To use an image well known to us today, this is like inducing nuclear fission in the very heart of being - the victory of love over hatred, the victory of love over death. Only this intimate explosion of good conquering evil can then trigger off the series of transformations that little by little will change the world” (Homily, 21 August 2005). In this way the Eucharist becomes not only the heartbeat of the Church, but also of the world. For this reason an authentic lay spirituality can only be an Eucharistic spirituality.

[00120-02.04] [IN102] [Original text: Italian]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Jean-Noël DIOUF, Bishop of Tambacounda (SENEGAL)

The Eucharist is the mystery of light and of life. In fact, what is greater and more precious than the gift of life for an African?
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus brings revives the son of the widow of Nain and gives him back to his mother and to the community. It is possible to establish a parallel between Africa-the mother and the widow. The children of her womb are all the Africans, the African populations, who must face under development and under development. However, the compassion of Christ our Lord was practiced in favor of the widow-Africa thanks to the missionaries, of all the Congregations together, who brought the Gospel and the Eucharist.
Unfortunately, faced with the immense aspiration of this Africa at its rebirth to a new life, many obstacles and threatening shadows arise.
However in 1994 the Synodal Fathers unanimously stated: “Christ is risen. We will win!”.

[00121-02.04] [IN106] [Original text: French]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Pierre TRÂN ÐINH TU, Bishop of Phú Cuong (VIETNAM)

As regards Nos. 6 to 8 of the instrumentum laboris, I would like to share some experiences with you on our Church in Vietnam.
Vietnamese Catholics are practicing. For them, the Eucharistic celebration is of special importance. About 80% attend Mass on Sundays, and 15% during week days. On important feasts, such as Christmas and Easter, the number may reach 96%.
If one wishes to find out the cause, one can find this out in the catechistic formation and in family education.
In this year of the Eucharist, all the dioceses prepared special programs. They lay faithful are made aware and invited to study the documents of the Magisterium of the Church on the Eucharist. For the celebrations, the Episcopal Conference organized a Eucharistic Congress at the Centre Marial National de Lavang, and there were 500,000 participants. All the dioceses have special programs. Parishes are invited to build adoration halls outside the church and to organize permanent adorations or several hours in the day. There are already several parishes who follow this practice.
Eucharistic worship in Vietnam has brought healthy effects: religious life has increased, community activities are more animated, fraternal communion is more sensitive and mutual aide among families has become more natural and numerous. In brief, one has the right to hope that Eucharistic devotion will bring many results for our country.

[00122-02.03] [IN109] [Original text: French]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Ricardo BLÁZQUEZ PÉREZ, Bishop of Bilbao, President of the Episcopal Conference (SPAIN)

Christian Initiation includes introduction to the knowledge of and the participation in the Eucharist. This initial catechesis should be followed up through ulterior ones. When the Church reminds us of the moral obligation to participate in the Sunday Eucharist, she wants to underline its vital necessity, since the Eucharist is the most important action of Christians and of the whole ecclesial community.
The history of salvation both flows towards and is condensed in the Eucharist. St. John of the Cross, in his song Though it is night time, makes God’s communication in creation and in the history of salvation converge in the Eucharist: This eternal fountain is hidden/ in this living bread to give us life,/ though it is night time.
Jesus instituted the Eucharist when “his hour” arrives, that is to say, the hour to pass from this world to the Father; the Eucharist, for that reason, is the sacrament of the Easter of Jesus, celebrated by the Church, which opens the doors of eternal life to its participants. Living the Easter event with Jesus Christ, we pass from slavery to freedom, from darkness to light, from death to life, from fear to hope, from indifference towards others to the compassion of the helpless, from hate to love, from dispersion in the midst of the world to communion with the Church, from violence to peace, from confusion to clarity, from agitation to serenity, from chaos to the new creation that overflows into the beauty and harmony of the first creation, from the great and terrible desert to the promised land where milk and honey flow. Jesus Christ is the Easter of our salvation.
As the Eucharist is the central action of the Church, it is to be understood that Christian Initiation should particularly introduce into the participation of this admirable sacrament.

[00085-02.03] [IN079] [Original text: Spanish]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Juda Thaddaeus RUWA'ICHI, O.F.M. Cap., Bishop of Mbulu (TANZANIA)

The twofold acknowledgement found on p. 2 of the Lineamenta affirming that the Eucharist is the summit of the life of the church, and that communion with the Lord leads to the sanctification and divinization is beyond any contestation. In a way, this affirmation sums up the truth that intrinsically, the Holy Eucharist is a saving and sanctifying gift which must be approached with a profound sense, respect and commitment due to the sacred.
However, we must admit that the same affirmations entail implications for the individual and the community of believers as a whole. Such implications demand that a sustained pastoral attention be given to the instilment, cultivation and consolidation of those dispositions which are required for the attainment intended effects of the Holy Eucharist. Among other things, it is necessary to identify those factors which erode the sense and respect of the sacred and hence militating to the call to holiness which the Eucharist in particular and the sacraments as a whole are designed to accomplish in us. Priests have an essential role to play in instilling and safeguarding the sense of the sacred among the faithful they minister to. However, they must cultivate the same in their own lives. While doing that, it is necessary to check the overtones entailed in the two extremes of laxity as well as scrupulosity respectively.

[00116-02.05] [IN008] [Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Joseph POWATHIL, Archbishop of Changanacherry of the Syro-Malabras (INDIA)

The Eucharist - and liturgy as a whole - is the most privileged and powerful medium through which the Church transmits the deposit of faith received from the Apostles. Traditions transmitted by liturgy guarantee throughout time the continuity and authenticity of the apostolic faith. Liturgy, especially the Eucharist, is not only the expression of the faith, it is the very 'Epiphany' of the Church. Liturgical abuses therefore do violence to the very ethos of Christian life.
The Oriental Churches have been called 'liturgical Churches' owing to the great emphasis they give to eucharistic celebration and to liturgy as a whole. For them liturgy celebrates the faith handed down by the Apostles, theology explains that which is celebrated and discipline protects, like a shell, that which is celebrated, explained and lived.
The variety of liturgical traditions and therefore of the faith traditions of the Church serves to manifest the richness of the mystery of Christ and the divine plan of salvation. Hence the patrimony of all the Churches must 'remain whole and entire' and the Churches should return to those traditions 'if they have fallen away do to the vicissitudes of time or persons'.
Unfortunately the Oriental Churches have in various ways through the vicissitudes of history failed in different degrees to preserve their valuable heritage. In the present day context of globalisation and standardisation there is the danger that these small Churches may further loose their perspectives.
Therefore we hope that the Successor of Peter, endowed with the duty of confirming his brethren in faith, will help the Oriental Churches in a special way to grow and bear more effective witness before the world with greater fidelity to their valuable heritage. This will surely strengthen the cause of Christian unity and the proclamation of the mystery of Christ in our times.

[00059-02.04] [IN048] [Original text: English]

Then free interventions followed.

This General Congregation ended at 7:00 p.m. with the prayer Angelus Domini. 246 Fathers were present.


Here below are published the names of the Members of the Commission for the Message, appointed in the Third Congregation yesterday, 4 October, with the addition of the Members appointed by the Pope:


H. Em. Card. Marc OUELLET, P.S.S., Archbishop of Québec

Vice President

H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Salvatore FISICHELLA, Titular Bishop of Voghenza, Auxiliary of Rome, Magnificent Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome


H. B.Em. Card. Nasrallah Pierre SFEIR, Patriarch of Antiochia of the Maronites, Head of the Synod of the Maronite Church (Lebanon)

H. Em. Card. Ivan DIAS, Archbishop of Bombay

H. Em. Card. Juan Luis CIPRIANI THORNE, Archbishop of Lima (Peru)

H. Em. Card. Cláudio HUMMES, O.F.M., Archbishop of São Paulo

H. Em. Card. George PELL, Archbishop of Sydney

H. Em. Card. Walter KASPER, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity

H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Laurent MONSENGWO PASINYA, Archbishop of Kisangani, President of the Episcopal Conference

H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Djura DŽUDŽAR, Titular of Acrasso, Apostolic Exarch of Serbia and Montenegro for the Catholics of Byzantine Rite (Serbia and Montenegro)

H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Bruno FORTE, Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto

Rev.P. Peter-Hans KOLVENBACH, S.I., Superior General of the Society of Jesus (Netherlands, U.S.G.)


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