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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


21 - 13.10.2005




● Written interventions by Synodal Fathers
● Written intervention by an Auditor

Today and tomorrow morning will continue the works by the Working Groups ( Session II, III, IV), for the draft and the approval by every Working Group of the projects for the texts of the Propositions (the formulae of Synodal consensus regarding certain subjects deemed important by the Synodal Fathers, suggestions offered to the Holy Father as the fruit of the Synodal Work),
we hereby publish the written interventions, not presented in the Hall.

● Written interventions by Synodal Fathers

The following Synodal Fathers only delivered their interventions in writing:

- H.E. Most. Rev. Evaristus Thatho BITSOANE, Bishop of Qacha's Nek, President of the Episcopal Conference (LESOTHO)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Ian MURRAY, Bishop of Argyll and The Isles (SCOTLAND)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Liborius Ndumbukuti NASHENDA, O.M.I., Archbishop of Windhoek (NAMIBIA)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Tesfay MEDHIN, Bishop of Adigrat (ETHIOPIA)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Felix Alaba Adeosin JOB, Archbishop of Ibadan (NIGERIA)

Below are the summaries of the interventions not presented in the Hall, but delivered in the written form by the Synodal Fathers:

H.E. Most. Rev. Evaristus Thatho BITSOANE, Bishop of Qacha's Nek, President of the Episcopal Conference (LESOTHO)

Personal union of the faithful with Christ is the centre of the Eucharistic Liturgy. Our main problem is the shortage of priests to have a Eucharistic celebrations every Sunday especially in the faraway outstations which are visited only a few times a year by a priest. Extra-ordinary ministers of the Eucharist, who followed priests in faraway places seemed to be a welcomed solution. The sick also were able to receive the blessed sacrament a few time a year.
Soon serious problems arose There were no proper places where the Blessed sacrament could be kept in a respectable way. Containers, fit for the Blessed Sacrament, were not easily available and people ended by using whatever they had. We have had a few occasions where the Tabernacle was broken and the Blessed Sacrament taken away or scattered all-over.
With time the extra-ordinary ministers of the Eucharist were taken as ordinary ministers who could distribute Holy Communion whenever they wanted and to whom they wanted. The relationship between the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation gradually decreased to a point where the faithful did not see the need of going to confession before Holy Communion. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is seldom frequented, especially by the young people.
To remedy these abuses we are convinced that we have to start at the seminary: give the Eucharist the place of honor in the formation of our future priests. Make them aware, at an early age, that they are the ordinary ministers of the Eucharist and the Eucharist should be the centre of their personal lives. Priests should be reminded often that they are the ordinary minister of the Eucharist who delegate this important ministry of distributing Holy Communion to well prepared lay faithful.
Catechesis, especially among the youth, has to be intensified, to correct the indifference that is noticeable these days.

[00311-02.03] [IS001] [Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Ian MURRAY, Bishop of Argyll and The Isles (SCOTLAND)

It is while acting in persona Christi at the unique sacrifice of the Eucharist that the whole priestly ministry draws its strength (CCC 1566). The decline in priestly vocations in the developed nations means that the Eucharist, while now less available than previously, is still more accessible than in the developing world. In the developing world temporal and spiritual poverty go hand in hand; in the developed world they seemed to be inversely proportional.
Vocations today come increasingly from older men. They come with their particular expertise but often also with the burden of attitudes more appropriate to the world than to the church. Re-education is often required. Regarding the formation of the clergy, two aspects are to be considered: academic formation; and human/spiritual formation. Intellectual development by itself is insufficient. A woman who had experienced persecution for her faith said: "I kept my faith because of the holiness of priests." It is interesting how much we invest in the academic formation of our priests compared with what we invest in their human/spiritual formation.
Liturgy is a key instrument of evangelization and must be celebrated in a language which draws the faithful into the heart of the Mystery of Faith. Texts should transcend the vagaries of linguistic fads. Local languages present particular difficulties, as in my own diocese with Scots Gaelic. In situations like this, local Conferences of Bishops should be given the authority to produce and approve such liturgical texts.
Migrants from European countries require the services of chaplains of their own language who will accompany them.

[00312-02.04] [IS002] [Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Liborius Ndumbukuti NASHENDA, O.M.I., Archbishop of Windhoek (NAMIBIA)

I bring cordial greetings from Namibia. My reflection covers basically our general impression, as a Conference, of the Instrumentum Laboris in six points:
1. Advances in Biblical and Patristic studies have added to our understanding of the theology of the Eucharist. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, is particularly aware of the rich theological heritage received from the early Fathers of the Church. This has been affirmed already in various interventions.
2. The theology of the Eucharist touches almost every major area of theology. From Vatican II forward, all major themes have been treated. Thus, any document forthcoming from the Synod of Bishops should provide a balanced, interrelated treatment of the theme. It would be a mistake to produce a document which treats only some of the themes as a corrective to certain perceived abuses. The document should rather offer pastoral suggestions responding to the needs of people on the ground who are deprived of the gift of the Eucharist (for example, divorced persons receiving Holy Communion, to mention but one such situation).
3. We should, at all costs, avoid producing a disciplinary document, or one perceived to concentrate on rubrics without a firm underpinning of theology.
4. The pastoral-missionary dimension of the Eucharist should be highlighted in any deliberations or document. These should emphasize the essential connection between ecclesiology and the Eucharist, between ministry and the Eucharist, and, of course, between mission and the Eucharist.
5. The relationship between inculturation and the Eucharist is very important, especially for the developing world, particularly Africa, Asia and South America. The experience of the Eastern Churches in developing the various rites can be instructive and exemplary.
6. We Synod Fathers should all be aware that the document which we produce is to be a part of the trilogy on the Eucharist produced recently. First, the letter of our late Holy Father, "Mane nobiscum, Domine"; then the reflection issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship; and now the Synodal reflection. In this way, our document will be able to speak to the heart of the people of our secularized society, especially those infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS, in order to offer them Eucharistic nourishment and consolation on their journey of faith.

[00307-02.04] [IN229] [Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Tesfay MEDHIN, Bishop of Adigrat (ETHIOPIA)

I would like to make my intervention on the relational aspect of the Eucharist in reference to n° 28, 33 and no 85 of the Instrumentum Laboris:
- "The Perception of the Eucharistic Mystery among the Faithful", and
- "its Ecumenical dimension"
The Sunday Mass and Holy Communion, continue to be the centre and back bone of parish life individually and collectively in the Ethiopian Church, both Catholic and Orthodox. On Sundays and Feast days one can see streets and long countryside tracks which lead to churches full of an uninterrupted long line of people dressed mainly in white. One could say that in the countryside participation into the Sunday Mass and Communion could be as high as 70%, 80%. Into the towns, however, and among the youngest generations the figure is not so high (perhaps about 55%).
The compelling force behind these phenomena is not pure rationality but a very deep liturgical formation and sense of devotion and reverence of the "HOLY", not easily affected by the external standards like time and material life pressures.
According to the Ethiopian Tradition, taking into account the deep conviction among the faithful of the mysterious nature of the Eucharist:
- the understanding of it is rooted in the sacrificial aspect of the Mystery together with the participation into the Paschal Mystery of Christ and the building up of his Body the Church. This is in fact the preponderant aspect of the Mystery enhanced in the Ethiopian Liturgical Tradition, Trinity, Christ - the Paschal lamb and Mary hold the central part in the celebration of the Ethiopian Rite. There has always been great devotion to Mary, Mother of God, who also is taken as "the woman of the Eucharisr, the first tabernacle of the Eucharisr” (cf no 76). Source and sanctuary of Eucharist. That is why it is a liturgical must to have the image of Mary ALWAYS with her Son in the Eastern Tradition Churches.
In the liturgy, Solemnity, a great respect of the sacred, reverence in the presence of the "Mysterium Tremendum" is evident, and destractive physical movement minimized. Although it is becoming more frequented today, there is a great reluctance among the faithful to receive communion prior to a regular reception of the grace of Penance.
As the fruit of this practice of ecclesial, communal devotion to the Eucharist and liturgy, i.e. the social implications of the Eucharist (I.L. no.78) this has obviously helped communities to move on and to maintain their family and religious values and integrity despite respective political, social and natural calamities and conflicts that have cause enormous suffering on the people.
However, the destructive aspects of the globalization, the secular, consumerist pressures have reached and are affecting the family lives, youth lives, and the moral authority of the Church.
Our world is in need of order and redemption more than ever, and I do not believe we can have anything more powerful than the transforming power of the Eucharist, and the magnificent agenda of our Holy Father, to witness "the culture of the Eucharist" through the means of "Dialogue". (I.L. no. 76)
I have deep expectation from this Synod that the Holy Spirit will continue to inspire it to come up with innovative and timely propositions to our Holy Father, and with some soul saving, and hope giving pastoral orientations to our priests and faithful, focusing on the pastoral link of the Eucharist with regard to the family and the youth, endangered a lot with the biggest life consuming pandemic of HIV/AIDS, in most parts of the world.
Hence, as the fruit of the Year of Eucharist, I would pray that the Holy Spirit will inspire this Synod to:
- propose ways, perhaps special Synod, for promoting Christian unity
- Promotion of Catechesis on the Eucharistic spirituality specially addressing the life of the family and the youth to deepen the faith and devotion of the Eucharist in family and the youth
- Give special attention to the Seminary formation to ensure Eucharistic spirituality in the lives of priests and faithful, and for an adherance to well-prepared homilies and liturgical celebration.
May the Holy Spirit continue to inspire this Synod to be the means for hope and life in Christ, and may the transforming power of Christ's love through the Eucharist heal our world from its wounds.

[00310-02.06] [IN230] [Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Felix Alaba Adeosin JOB, Archbishop of Ibadan (NIGERIA)

I wish to address this assembly on the Pastoral Care of immigrants. By immigrants I mean those people who have left their nations or their own part of the nation, to another part because of natural disasters and, or to seek greener pastures, or the golden fleece (academic qualifications). I wish to address myself primarily to the Bishop who is the chief shepherd of the flock committed to his care, the local Ordinary and the “primus mysteriorum dei dispensator.” The Instrumentum laboris reminds us that the Eucharist brings the faithful together and makes them a community, despite their differences in race, language, nation and culture.
Today you can scarcely get a nation that is not harbouring thousands of immigrants. St Paul reminds us that “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor 10:17). The Bishop or the Parish Priest should not turn immigrant faithful into visitors in the Church. They should rather be welcomed, made to feel at home and belonging to the universal Church. Their vibrant Liturgy should be used to rejuvenate the local Church and they should be organized to be missionaries to themselves- serving as Catechists, Lay Readers etc. in the community. Instrumentum laboris no. 25 reminds us that “the Lay faithful are an essential part of the communion of the Church.” Migration is not limited to Lay faithful alone. We have priests and religious sent to study or acquire some necessary experience for the development of their Congregations or Dioceses. There are no Priest-Vagi. They belong to the Presbyterium of that Diocese (Bishop) where they sojourn. They offer every sacrifice of the Mass praying for the Pope and the Local Ordinary. The Residential Bishop should therefore be concerned with the Liturgical, Pastoral and Spiritual life of every priest in his Diocese particularly the migrant priests.
If the immigrant priest is to celebrate the sacred sacrifice with dignity, devotion and reverence he must be recognized, be granted a decent means of livelihood and be assured of belonging. The sacred Synod must also appeal to Bishops and Superiors not to send their clergy to any institution outside their Dioceses without adequate arrangements and information to the Bishop ad quem. The care of Female Religious immigrants is more complex, and deserves greater care. Consecrated life is a witness to Christ in the Church and their presence is a blessing to the local Church. They are, however, not to reside in a local Church without the written permission of the local Ordinary. In these days of dwindling numbers of Religious in the old Church and the desire for survival and for continuity has led to indiscriminate recruitment of young ladies from mission territories. These young ladies are uprooted from their culture and tradition and planted in Europe and America where the climate, culture and customs often overwhelm them and often they are thrown out of these institutions. Inevitably many of them fall prey to people and situations. Their plight, as the broken body of Christ, should be looked into with compassion and love. They are part of the body of Christ, the Church. In conclusion, I urge every Diocesan bishop:
1.To regard immigrant faithful as members of his faithful, the one body of Christ over which the Holy Spirit has placed him as shepherd. With his priests, to welcome them to all religious celebrations, particularly the Sunday Mass, since the Eucharist brings the faithful together and makes them a Community despite their differences in race, language, nation and culture.
2. To assure the integration of every immigrant clergy (mostly on study leave) into his Presbyterium, since there are no priest-vagi. To assist them to be faithful in the celebration of the Sacrifice and praise and adoration of Christ in the sacrament of his love. 3. To guide the vocations of the women Religious in his Diocese by an adequate provision of the sacraments in their convents and to check uncontrolled recruitment of young ladies from outside his Diocese that might lead to abuses.

[00306-02.02] [IN232] [Original text: English]

● Written intervention of by an Auditor

The following Auditor only delivered his intervention in writing:

- Mr. Gioacchino TOSCANO, General Secretary of the Confraternities of the Dioceses of Italy

Below is the summary of the intervention not presented in the Hall, but delivered in the written form by the Auditor:

- Mr. Gioacchino TOSCANO, General Secretary of the Confraternities of the Dioceses of Italy

The Synod of Bishops, one of the most relevant of the Universal Church, has opened our hearts to all the continents, where the Mystery of Jesus-Eucharist brought fruits to all the peoples of the World. In this context, we wish to bring this experience to the Confraternities, lay institutions that, while going back to the dawn of the Church’s history, still bear within themselves such charisms and such ecclesial vitality to allow us to place them at the attention of the Synodal Fathers as especially apt institutions in becoming evermore “a new frontier” of Evangelization
Today, they are gathered in the Confederation of Confraternities of the Dioceses of Italy, erected by the Italian Episcopal Conference and lead, always entrusted with this by the C.E.I. by H. Exc. Msg. Armando Brambilla, Auxiliary Bishop of Rome and Delegate for the Confraternities and the Pius Orders.
To celebrate, in a worthy way, the Year of the Eucharist, the Confederation of Confraternities of the Dioceses of Italy promoted, at Bolsena and at Orvieto, Eucharistic cities, on September 24th and 35th 2005, a special national convocation of the “Path of Fraternity” of the Italian confraternities, in particular those who bear the name of “Most Holy Sacrament”.
The Confraternity does not live closed within itself, but is an ecclesial missionary component, centered in a global pastoral of the family. This pastoral is noted for its permanent Christian formation under the priest’s care, Primicerio, who animates it: 1) to devotional liturgical life caring of the Diocesan life, especially sensitive to the Bishop’s calling; 2) to a life of charity, with works that have overcome the trials of time, maintained by the administration of goods, which they can avail themselves of with Diocesan approval; 3) the responsible witness in their own cities, areas and in the various work realities (many are the Confraternities linked to the arts and artisans), with a “Christian” participation in civil life and in social occurrences. The ways of formation to Christian life are fundamental, to enter with the right spirit into the management of the various services, and are necessary for the self-government of the Confraternities, proceeding in the technical acquisitions of the administration in the spirit of who places themselves among the last if “wishing to be the first in the sequel of Christ Jesus”.
Because of this, the Confraternities, docile to the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs and of the Bishops, knew how to maintain during the tests of the centuries the treasure of faith and the patrimony of popular religiosity, centered in Eucharistic Worship, which is expressed by an exemplary artistic patrimony and of orators available for moments of missionary aggregation in the dimension of culture and communication, which, today, are woven inextricably with the same pastoral reality, mission and evangelization of the peoples.

[00314-02.03] [AU026] [Original text: Italian]




The Seventeenth General Congregation, for the presentation in the Hall of the Reports by the Working Groups, will take place Friday afternoon 14th October 2005.


The next Bulletin No.22 will be available to the accredited journalists on Saturday morning 15 October 2005 at 09.00.


The next briefing for the language groups will take place on Saturday 15 October 2005 at 12.00.


Accredited journalists are informed that on Saturday 22 October 2005, at 12:45 p.m., in the John Paul II Conference Hall of the Holy See Press Office, the Third Press Conference will be held on the works of the XI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (Elenchus finalis).

● H. Em. Card. George PELL
Archbishop of Sydney (Australia)
● H. Em. Card. Marc OUELLET, P.S.S.
Archbishop of Québec (Canada)
● H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Roland MINNERATH
Archbishop of Dijon (France)
Special Secretary
● H.Exc. Most. Rev. Msg. Salvatore FISICHELLA
Titular Bishop of Voghenza
Auxiliary of Rome
Magnificent Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome


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