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


12 - 07.10.2005





At 4:35 p.m. today, Friday 7 October 2005, with the prayer Adsumus, the Ninth General Congregation began, 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 Presidente Delegate on duty was H. Em. Card. Juan SANDOVAL ÍÑIGUEZ, Archbishop of Guadalajara (Mexico).


The following Fathers intervened during the Ninth General Congregation:

- H.E. Most. Rev. Gervais BANSHIMIYUBUSA, Bishop of Ngozi (BURUNDI)
- H. Em. Card. Francisco Javier ERRÁZURIZ OSSA, Archbishop of Santiago de Chile, Presidente del Consiglio Episcopale Latinoamericano (C.E.L.AM.) (CHILE)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Agostino VALLINI, Archbishop-Bishop Emeritus of Albano, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (VATICAN CITY)
- H.E. Most. Rev. José de la Trinidad VALERA ANGULO, Bishop of La Guaira (VENEZUELA)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Paul BÙI VĂN ÐOC, Bishop of My Tho (VIETNAM)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Manuel Felipe DÍAZ SÁNCHEZ, Bishop of Carúpano (VENEZUELA)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Luis Antonio G. TAGLE, Bishop of Imus (PHILIPPINES)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Lucius Iwejuru UGORJI, Bishop of Umuahia (NIGERIA)
- H. Em. Card. Zenon GROCHOLEWSKI, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education (for Seminaries and Institutes for Studies) (VATICAN CITY)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Andrej GLAVAN, Titular Bishop of Musti di Numidia, Auxiliary of Ljubljana (SLOVENIA)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Dominic JALA, S.D.B., Archbishop of Shillong (INDIA)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Renato CORTI, Bishop of Novara (ITALY)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Leo Laba LADJAR, O.F.M., Bishop of Jayapura (INDONESIA)

Below are the summaries of the interventions:

- H.E. Most. Rev. Gervais BANSHIMIYUBUSA, Bishop of Ngozi (BURUNDI)

My intervention is a testimony on the importance of the Eucharist in moments of conflict, in reference to what has been experienced by the Church in Burundi in recent years. Burundi, over 60% a Christian catholic country, has just experienced a period of trial with tragic conflicts among the different ethnic communities in the country. These conflicts have degenerated into civil war to the extent that people from different ethnic groups no longer dare to cross each other in the street.
The Eucharistic celebrations have remained the privileged places where people from different ethnic groups can meet to pray for their reconciliation. By this “double Table” of the Word of God and of the Eucharistic bread, the Eucharistic celebration, was, so to say, a privileged opportunity for: - a prophetic proclamation which regularly nourished the hope of the people in a possible reconciliation; - a Word which called everybody without siding with anyone to a conversion of hearts and mentalities. Beyond everything, the Eucharistic celebration was a source of grace which gave Christians supernatural courage to act against the current, refusing, often at the price of their blood - all negative solidarity based solely on the natural fraternity of the ethnic group or of selfish interests.
Thanks to the Eucharist, the Church in Burundi has re-found the splendor of the Christian dimension of martyrdom. Lay people, consecrated people and priests have given their lives to the sacrifice of death to bear witness in favour of this universal fraternity, which finds its origin in communion with the same body and the same blood of Christ!
A big thanks to the universal Church which, aware of her universal communion with us through the Eucharist, has shown us in many ways her proximity, preoccupation and fraternity.
I hope this Synod helps us to value this dimension of a communion with the same Christ who opens us up to the fraternity of children of the same family: the family of God. By making this fraternity more tangible among the Churches of the countries in the North and South, we will contribute to this current world, more sensitive to witness rather than to words, growing towards this great mystery of faith by our brotherhood.

[00188-02.04] [IN160] [Original text: French]

- H. Em. Card. Francisco Javier ERRÁZURIZ OSSA, Archbishop of Santiago de Chile, Presidente del Consiglio Episcopale Latinoamericano (C.E.L.AM.) (CHILE)

The profound interchange that takes place in the Synodal Assembly increases, day by day, the wonder this great mystery of faith causes. The Eucharistic gift can fill the hunger of humanity: the hunger for communion, for life, and for peace, for transcendence and intimacy, for truth and beauty, for the meaning of suffering and for dignity, for mission, solidarity and fruitfulness; in a word, the hunger for God.
We are permanently accompanied by the longing to share this treasure of the Church: Jesus Christ, our Easter. Let us reflect, then, on the participation of the lay faithful in the Eucharist.
The Instrumentum Laboris, in number 25, invites us to consider interior participation in the Eucharist. It expresses that “the participation of the faithful at liturgical celebrations, particularly the Eucharistic Liturgy, is essentially entering into this spiritual worship where God comes down to the individual and the individual is raised to God”. It consists, therefore, in receiving with constant amazement, from our repentant poverty, the gift of God that descends, which is his own Son, the Bread sent down from heaven and broken for the life of the world, prolonging the mystery of the Incarnation and the New covenant in his Blood, by the work of the Holy Spirit. It also consists in entering into the Eucharistic action in order to listen to Him, contemplate Him, adore Him, and thank Him for coming down to us, but also in order to implore his grace. In this way, we want to incorporate ourselves into his offering to the Father, offering all we are and have, including our sufferings and our hopes. Fed by his Body and Blood we want to be conformed with Christ as children of the Father and brothers of the Firstborn, and to be converted into his food for our brothers, above all the most afflicted, in missionaries sent to configure all to Him in the fruitfulness of his Spirit, so that He may be recognized as the Head of all Creation. We do not want to ascent to Him alone, but in unity with all the redeemed, day by day, forming his Family, as co-heirs with Christ.
Therefore, as the Instrumentum Laboris says, it is a question of entering in to the liturgical action. To do this, the best way is to share the feelings and the attitude of Holy Mary, “Eucharistic woman”, who preceded and still precedes the Church Spouse on the paths of faith, of Calvary, of the covenant and of new life with the ardour and the sending out of Pentecost.
The lay faithful participate fully when their life is profoundly united with the Eucharist; when it is a life of total welcome to God, of attentiveness to the Word and docility to the Spirit; when it is adoration and thanksgiving, as well as renewal of the New Covenant; when all of life of offering and communion, sacrifice, impetration and expiation, free gift of god for our brothers and sisters. The Eucharist is really the source and summit of the life and mission of the lay faithful, when the exercise of the priestly, prophetic and royal functions of their Christian existence flow from her and come together in her, in their personal, family, working, artistic, cultural, social, and political life, in all daily tasks as well as those extraordinary ones. I remember some words by the Blessed Alberto Hurtado, at whose canonization we shall, God willing, be able to assist: “My Mass is my life, and my life, a prolonged Mass!” This is the aim and the path for all Eucharistic pedagogy.

[00189-02.03] [IN162] [Original text: Spanish]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Agostino VALLINI, Archbishop-Bishop Emeritus of Albano, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (VATICAN CITY)

In the ecclesial communities of the western areas of the world, statistical data on Eucharistic practice are hardly comforting. Among the many causes, I would like to point out the competition between the old and modern religious beliefs, growing secularization and pervasive relativism. In this cultural context, pastoral must be called into question, and in particular, parish pastoral. As comforting as the fact is that in many parishes there are blossoming and lively groups of faithful, we still should not think that the majority of baptized believe and live the Eucharist. This means that the system of the ordinary pastoral of the parishes should be thought out again, because faith cannot be pres-supposed. The parish, with courage, patience and farsightedness should renew the contents and the methods of ordinary pastoral, placing as a priority and as foundation of its action the “question of faith”, to give it greater energy. The parish pastoral, which after Vatican Council II made many strides forward, still follows a scheme tied to the cultural dimension, on the greater part. This pastoral does not manage to form a Christian community that celebrates the Eucharist as “root and focus” of its life. In pastoral plans one needs to start anew from forms of kerygmatic proclamation, offering the occasion for a personal and conscious option for faith. Greater space should be given to the Word of God, in the form of the lectio divina or by other means that may help its assimilation, and then to liturgical catechesis that favors the comprehension and the dignified and fruitful celebration of the Eucharist. It is question of introducing Christians to the enjoyable experience of the Eucharistic celebration. But this cannot be improvised, it comes from faith. To achieve this pastoral innovation, one must not overlook a reflection of the figure of the parish priest, which should join the charism of the pastor with that of the evangelizer (spoken of in Eph 4:11). Not an easy task, but it cannot be put aside due to the urgency of the moment.

[00190-02.04] [INI65] [Original text: Italian]

- H.E. Most. Rev. José de la Trinidad VALERA ANGULO, Bishop of La Guaira (VENEZUELA)

Celebrate with joy and celebrate the joy of the Lord’s Easter.
The world has to know and to live the joy in the Holy Spirit, is hungry for God and it is Christ who reveals man to man. Revelation, more than pure reasoning, is LIFE, it is the joy of communication of the Trinity of the One God. We celebrate this joy in sanctity in the Liturgy. In the Eucharistic celebration one lives the novelty of the Paschal Christ, happiness of the faithful and promise for those who do not know him yet. How many martyrs won because of the chanted joy of the Eucharist! The whole Eucharist is a chant, it is to surpass all limits of space- temporality in order to enter into the mystery of the living and real God.
Our service, as shepherds of the flock, is to achieve the ways which permit our people to live the joy of the Risen One. The liturgical orientations have to be far away from all legalisms and to search for the way in which they can be in line with the joy in the Holy Spirit in order for the world to believe and to have life.

[00150-02.02] [IN108] [Original text: Spanish]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Paul BÙI VĂN ÐOC, Bishop of My Tho (VIETNAM)

In the liturgy of the Holy Spirit lies the perfect mystagogy, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly affirms: “In the liturgy the Holy Spirit is the teacher of the faith of the People of God” (CCC 1091; see CCC 1092).
The preparation of hearts to meet Christ is the common work of the Holy Spirit and of the assembly, in particular of its ministers (see CCC 1098). And here it is about the minister who is bishop, the primus mysteriorum Dei dispensator. Here, it is the bishop who co-operates with the Holy Spirit to introduce the people of God into the Mystery of the Faith. The mystagogy, being an introduction to the mystery of the presence of Christ, needs the light and strength of the Holy Spirit. I am personally very convinced about the assistance of the Holy Spirit in my Eucharistic celebrations and I fervently pray before Mass and during Mass, invoking the Holy Spirit to come to my assistance.
To be a good mystagogue, we must introduce the faithful into the mystery by letting ourselves be introduced by the Holy Spirit into the Mystery of Christ. The ‘ars celebrandi’ must create the atmosphere, the divine environment for the meeting of each faithful with the Risen Christ. And it is the Holy Spirit, with our collaboration, who creates this divine environment. It is He himself who is the divine environment: we celebrate the holy Mass in Spiritu.

[00151-02.03] [IN110] [Original text: French]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Manuel Felipe DÍAZ SÁNCHEZ, Bishop of Carúpano (VENEZUELA)

Reference No. 52 of the Instrumentum Laboris (Ars celebrandi)
In the new socio-political situation in Venezuela, a testimony of unity by Catholics is necessary. They will find the strength for such a witnessing in the Eucharist. The Church in Venezuela has celebrated a Plenary Council, which dealt with the liturgical topic in the document “The Celebration of the Mysteries of Faith”. In this document was an explicit reference to the Ars celebrandi.
This reference to the Instrumentum Laboris in No. 52 is very important. There has always existed the danger that, by not stressing the Ars celebrandi, one might put in danger faith itself. We find examples of this in my own country.
The liturgy envelops the mystery of the encounter between God and man, where the latter is sanctified. The liturgy has a didactic and educational role. If a celebration is to be epiphany of the mystery, it means that those who participate should be aware of what is being carried out.
The pedagogic character of liturgy does not only refer to the aesthetic and artistic aspect. The liturgy reaches and educates the faithful, makes use of the resources of art to reach their sensitivity, and has guidelines to safeguard its unity and ecclesial character. It all goes towards putting in context the character of action of salvation which the sacramental celebration holds.
The Ars celebrandi should be cultivated by every minister, but the Instrumentum Laboris reminds that in this the Bishop has to be exemplary. We bishops have to take on this irreplaceable function within our particular Churches with love and diligence.

[00161-02.04] [IN112] [Original text: Spanish]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Luis Antonio G. TAGLE, Bishop of Imus (PHILIPPINES)

We thank God because the Catholics in the Philippines, especially the children and the youth, still value the Eucharist and adoration. We have priests but not enough for the big Catholic population. Some communities do not have a stable access to the Eucharist.
To respond to the hunger for the Eucharist, priests say many masses, accept multiple intentions and send lay ministers for the service of the Word with communion. Priests exercise their responsibility to the best that they can. The faithful know the difference between a bible service and Eucharist, a priest and a lay minister. Many communities wait for the gift of the priesthood and the Eucharist with humility.
For the sake of these communities I propose the following. 1) The Synod can initiate a serene study of the shortage of priests. As we look at the world for threats to the gift of vocation, we should also ask whether the Church is a good steward of the gift. 2) To address the confusion of roles in the Church and the Eucharist it is not enough to recall LG 10 on the essential difference between the ministerial priesthood and the common priesthood of the baptized. LG 10 also says that they are ordered to each other. In mutuality and communion we will rediscover the gift of the priesthood and Eucharist.

[00176-02.02] [IN115] [Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Lucius Iwejuru UGORJI, Bishop of Umuahia (NIGERIA)

It is of great significance that at the Last Supper Christ identified himself with broken bread. The breaking of the bread was to become the action through which his disciples recognised him at Emmaus (Lk 24: 13-35). In the celebration of the Eucharist in the apostolic times, the breaking of bread was so prominent that the first Christians employed the term, "breaking of bread" to designate the Eucharistic assemblies (Acts 2: 42-46; 20:7).
We cannot ignore the importance of the rich symbol of receiving Christ in the Eucharist in the sign and symbol of broken bread. Communion with Christ, the broken bread, cannot but be communion with those who are members of Christ. The fraternal unity arising from Eucharistic communion is concretely expressed by the early Christian community in a model Eucharistic community. They lived together, sharing spiritual and material goods with one another (Acts 2: 42-44).
If the Eucharist brings about fraternal unity in the Body of Christ, then the ever widening gap between the affluent and the millions of poor people living in hunger and undeserved misery in today's society is a great scandal (cf. 1 Cor 11: 17-22). If Christians partake of the Broken Bread at the Lord's altar, they must be ready to work for a better and more just world for all. They must be prepared to be broken bread and to share bread with broken humanity.
Such sharing has to involve a certain breaking of the political and economic patterns, which assures security to the affluent while reducing millions to abject poverty and wanton suffering. If Christians profess to break bread, it means that they are willing to be broken in terms of their comfort and security and to be agents of justice and solidarity. The social, political and economic implications of this can be immense. Among other things, this involves living simply, so that others might simply live.

[00177-02.02] [IN116] [Original text: English]

- H. Em. Card. Zenon GROCHOLEWSKI, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education (for Seminaries and Institutes for Studies) (VATICAN CITY)

I refer to the third and fourth part of the Instrumentum laboris, in general.
1. The centrality of the Eucharist in seminarian formation. The Eucharist is closely bound to the Sacrament of Orders, rather it is “the principal and central raison d'être of the sacrament of priesthood, which effectively came into being at the moment of the institution of the Eucharist” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 31a). Therefore priests, as the ministers of sacred things, are above all ministers “of the Sacrifice of the Mass” (cf. Presbyterorum ordinis, 13c). The many pastoral activities of the priest find in pastoral charity the bond that gives unity and meaning. This charity flows from the Eucharistic sacrifice, which is at the center and the root of the whole life of the presbyter (cf. Presbyterorum ordinis, 14b). The centrality of the Eucharist for life and for the priestly ministry must become, necessarily, the heart of the formation of the candidates to the priesthood (cf. Pastores dabo vobis, 48). We could say that the Eucharist makes up the weave of all formation for seminarians, that is human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation. This centrality of the Eucharist must be strongly emphasized in the life of the Seminary on various levels: the solid theological illustration of the mystery of the Eucharist and its relationship with the Sacrament of Penance, the due explanation of the meaning of the liturgical norms, the example given by the teachers, adequate preparation in the same Eucharistic celebrations that they may be lived intimately by the whole community, just as the presence and availability of good confessors, well-prepared Eucharistic Adorations, the persistent invitation to private Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament, etc. All this, taken seriously and constantly, should introduce the seminarian to an understanding, to love and live the Eucharist in depth, so that it truly becomes the source and summit of his whole life and of his apostolic zeal. I think that - despite it being mentioned in Pastores dabo vobis - there is still a great deal to be done, concerning this, in quite a few seminaries.
The formation of Seminarians is of great importance and should be underlined, because in reality, it mainly depends on the priests how the Eucharist will be celebrated how it will be seen and lived by the faithful. If the Most Holy will be adored or not depends on them, as does the people’s feeling the need to kneel when passing in front of the Tabernacle or not. That is to say, the acting out of all that we read in the third part of the Instrumentum laboris depends on them, but even in the fourth part, concerning the weight of the Eucharist on the moral, spiritual and apostolic of the Christian communities.
2. The importance of the Eucharist for theological formation. I have said that the Eucharist is important in all aspects of priestly formation: human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral. I would now like to dwell upon the relationship between the Eucharist and intellectual formation, that is to say theological, because unfortunately this often isn’t noticed. Here, however, I obviously refer not only to the Seminaries but to theological studies in general. The Instrumentum laboris correctly mentions that “in the liturgy of the Eucharist [Jesus path, truth and life] is made known” and at the same time stimulates “the reason and the intelligence of the believer into constantly looking for him” (31b). The students of theology must realize that to understand the truth of faith, acuteness of human thinking does not suffice , each researchers’ own study does not suffice, but it is necessary to be deeply united with God, to humbly search in prayer true wisdom. In fact, the disciples of Emmaus hadn’t yet recognized Jesus when explaining the Scriptures, but they recognized him in the breaking of the bread. This connection between the union with God and the comprehension of the truth of faith was underlined in Pastores dabo vobis (cf. 51 and 53). John Paul II emphasized this, in a very expressive way in the Apostolic Letter Novo millennio ineunte no. 20, commenting on the known scene in Caesarea of Philippi (mt 16:13-20). Weren’t Saint Thomas, Saint Robert Bellarmine, and many others looking for the mystery of God in the Tabernacle? Our old teachers would tell us that theology must be studied on one’s knees. I think that facing this truth of faith in this way one would find less extravagant human inventions in the theological field and would embrace more deeply the magnificent mystery of the Love of God.
3. The Catholic Universities. Widening the vision of our numerous Catholic universities, which by their nature are inserted in the Apostolate of the Church, the Eucharist must also be given merit in them so that their students can evermore realize and become more able to achieve the Christian commitment in the practice of their various professions.

[00178-02.04] [IN118] [Original text: Italian]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Andrej GLAVAN, Titular Bishop of Musti di Numidia, Auxiliary of Ljubljana (SLOVENIA)

Part I - Chapter II no. 23
First of all, I would like to comment on number 23 of the Instrumentum laboris, where it says: “In some countries individual confessions have been eliminated. At most, the Sacrament is celebrated twice a year, during a communal liturgy ...”. In the Slovenian Dioceses there are still many confessions, but the number decreases progressively. On the one hand, in the various Deaneries priests are elaborating together a plan for confessions, especially during Advent and Lent; this happens also in the Sanctuaries and for the particular celebrations with a large number of faithful. On the other hand, it is heard everywhere that priests are not that fervent anymore in hearing confessions - and if the faithful do not confess, they do not go either to receive Communion. The Instrumentum laboris thanks the priests who administrate confession. It would be important to reaffirm also that they must be available for confession and that they are co-responsible that the faithful, adequately prepared, frequently receive Holy Communion. Receiving Communion presupposes conversion and conversion is verified in individual confession.
Parte III - Chapter II no. 66
I now permit myself to present the project of the Slovenian Eucharistic Union. The spirituality of this initiative, proposed for the Eucharistic renewal of the parishes, is inspired in the spirituality of Communion of the Second Vatican Council, that flows from the mystery of the Risen Christ and today is present in the Eucharist. The project consists essentially in the institution of Eucharistic base communities, that is, of people who adore of the sacrament the Most Holy Eucharist, in the parishes - a community for each parish - and in the connection of these through inter-parish networks, in Eucharistic encounters planned by areas. Because the Eucharist is a source of communion, the Eucharistic base community has a the character of an internal bond for the spiritual nucleus of the parishes, rather than constituting an additional group to be added to the ones already existing. For this reason, it is necessary that the parish priest, with his authority, accompany the Eucharistic base community, since he is, in force of the sacrament of ordination to the priesthood, the celebrant and the custodian of the Eucharist. Therefore, he should participate as much as possible, at the meetings of the Eucharistic community. All the faithful are invited to this Eucharistic base community, in a particular way the youth and even the youngsters, in addition to all the other members of the various parish groups. In the parishes where there already exists a parish Eucharistic group, the Slovenian Eucharistic Union is available to offer its aid so that a Eucharistic base community grows, capable to overcome any eventual isolation and to open up to everybody. The constant commitment of the Eucharistic base community has to be the deepening of the community adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament outside of the Mass, the apostolate of the celebration of the Lord’s Day, whose center is the Sunday Mass, and renewed Eucharistic life which emphasizes the renewal of the families. Members of the Eucharistic base communities have to commit themselves to revive the days of Eucharistic Adoration in the parishes (the “forty hours”) and the visits to the Most Holy Sacrament in our churches during the week. Following the example of Mary, Eucharistic spirituality has to be lived also through daily offering, through commitment to peace and to unity, through solidarity towards all, particularly towards people who suffer and are alone.

[00181-02.04] [IN129] [Original text: Italian]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Dominic JALA, S.D.B., Archbishop of Shillong (INDIA)

In multi-religious contexts, the assembly gathered for a Eucharist is often composed not only of Catholics. The presence of followers of other faiths poses a serious question to our Eucharistic ecclesiology especially in India. What place do such people have vis a vis our faith community? How wide can a Eucharistic community stretch itself? If the sacrifice of communion is celebrated for the salvation of all, what is the relation of the Eucharistic Christian community with the rest?
The Church's faith and discipline admits to communion only those who share in the faith and who profess the same Eucharistic faith. Neither does it seem appropriate to distribute other "gifts" during the communion of the faithful, so as not to confuse the meaning of Eucharistic communion. There remains the challenge to fmd ways of showing some means of Eucharistic hospitality to members of other faiths.
In tribal areas, as in many of the young churches in the Indian sub-continent, people who are open to accept the faith, can be considered to have a special relation to the faith community at the Eucharist. Through this community, we find light and life in the doctrine of the Eucharist as a sacrifice, a fulfillment and a perfection of our traditional sacrifices, and in the sense of community that is experienced in the Church.
Such situations demand that the priest and the faithful pay special attention to the ars celebrandi, not merely in style or in keeping rules and rubrics. These have to flow from a deep faith experience, humility and a devotion that should mark the Eucharistic spirituality of everyone. The symbolic nature of the liturgy has in it an inbuilt power to transform lives and celebrants must pay careful attention to make the symbols communicate.
Eucharistic devotion outside the Mass, flowing from it and leading to it, has had and continues to have a great influence in drawing people to the Church and in helping communities to. be more missionary. Of particular relevance is, for instance, the yearly Eucharistic processions especially in Northeast India. However communities still awaiting a priest, as in most of our more remote villages of our missions, are a great concern for us. The Sunday Liturgy should foster in these faithful a true love and a longing for the Eucharist.

[00185-02.02] [IN139] [Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Renato CORTI, Bishop of Novara (ITALY)

I begin by the statement of Pope Benedict XVI: “The Eucharist is not static; instead it is a dynamic presence”. One can wonder why. I think I can reply that it is like this because the Eucharist is celebration of the New and Eternal Covenant, which includes the free promise of the salvation of God, the realization of the Word which we find in the Book of Jeremiah: “You will be my people, and I will be your God”, the involvement of freedom and decision “to serve” the Lord. Everything in the covenant is dynamic: it is so on the side of God because his love is free; it is so if you consider its heart, which is communion of persons; it is so if you consider the part which is due to us: “Decide today whether you wish to serve the Lord.” All this was already true in the Old Covenant, and it is even more so in the New one, which finds its fullness in Christ Jesus.
Experience tells me that when there is great concern about cultivating this intrinsic dynamism in the Eucharistic celebration, the way of our communities and of the individual faithful becomes alive and strong. I am pausing in particular on considering the moment of the liturgy of the Word. I wish to make a basic remark regarding the physiognomy of the Word of God in the context of the Eucharist celebration, and that is in the deep unity with the sacramental celebration. There are brief references to this in the Instrumentum Laboris, Nos.46-47. I express it like this. The Liturgy of the Word, within the Eucharistic celebration, is something original compared to other possible and precious forms of approaching the Word of God. The beauty and originality of the Liturgy of the Word in the Eucharist lies in the fact that it is always a remembrance of the event which gives origin to the community itself that is celebrating. That event is what creates and makes the Church live; it is what she is formed for every day in her existence. Rightly so, the Instrumentum Laboris recalls that the veneration for the Gospel Book indicates the mystical entrance of the Incarnate Word and his presence in the midst of the assembly of believers (No. 46). In the same line can be found the chant of the “Alleluja”, a word which we find in Revelation, and which specifically refers to the Risen Christ, who is Living and Present in our midst. The same meaning can be found in the final reply at the proclamation of the gospel: “Praise you, oh Christ”. A praise which recognizes the person of Christ present and recognizes him as a source of light and joy.
If I ask myself which are the Christian communities in which I think I can notice some significant choices (in particular on the occasion of the pastoral visit, I think this dynamism of the Covenant is expressed): the first one is to cultivate among the faithful, on the part of the priests, the wish to listen to the Lord. I recognize the second significant choice at a time of celebration, which perhaps nowadays has been neglected too much. I refer to the time of communion and to the talk with God to whom we are called to speak to. At that point, the Word can descend and dwell within us together with the Body of Christ. A third choice, on which it is necessary to invest a great deal on the part of priests and the liturgical group, consists in the concern that everything nurtures the possibility of easily and clearly hearing the proclaimed Word. The priest has great responsibility and it is his task to give the homily.

[00173-02.04] [IN147] [Original text: Italian]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Leo Laba LADJAR, O.F.M., Bishop of Jayapura (INDONESIA)

The aim of my intervention is to highlight some points in IL chapter II and else where regarding the Eucharist and ecclesial communion and the role of the priest.
"The Eucharist is the heart of ecclesial communion ... The Eucharist builds the Church and the Church is the place where communion is realized with God and humanity" (IL .No 12). To be relevant and meaningful for the secular society, our discourse on Eucharist has to deal more with building communion. Many secular people are humanists who dedicate themselves for building communion among people. This can be taken as our common stand point.
Building communion with all human beings and with the whole cosmos begins in the liturgy of Eucharist itself. The whole liturgical community has a decisive role. The priest may not be separated from the community. I get impression that IL is too "priest centered". There are some praxis and rules which should be questioned, inter alia:
The authority for a priest to celebrate the Eucharist apart from an assembly (the so-called "privat" Mass);
The limitation of the purpose of ordination only to the Eucharist, putting in shadow the other two munera of clerics;
Enlarge the difference between ministerial and common priesthood to the point of reducing the role of acolytes to mere emergency situations;
Also the connection between the Eucharist and reconciliation or penance is seen only in the perspective of the priest. The meaning of reconciliation in community and liturgical assembly is underestimated. In fact, the literal meaning of some biblical texts like Mt 18: 15-20 and Lk 17:3, suggests that the power to absolve is delivered to a brother and to the community as well.
My impression of the "priest centered" view of IL is strengthened also in the underestimation of the liturgy of the Word, presided by a lay minister. IL 55 speaks of it as "liturgies awaiting a priest", and not as the listening to the voice of the Lord and answering Him in prayer.
Suggestions: we need to encourage the theologian to study and formulate a new theologly of priesthood in connection with the threefold munera of clerics in the ecclesial community, listening also to the praxis in apostolic time and the Eastern Churches.

[00170-02.02] [IN150] [Original text: English]

In the presence of the Holy Father, the free interventions then followed.

At this General Congregation, which concluded at 7:00 p.m., with the prayer Angelus Domini, 239 fathers were present.


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