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Sunday, 10 October 2004



1. The International Eucharistic Congress on the theme: "The Eucharist, light and life of the new millennium" opened today in Guadalajara, Mexico. I join in spirit this important ecclesial event which also opens the Year of the Eucharist.

For this special Year, I addressed to the entire Church an Apostolic Letter that begins with these words: "Mane Nobiscum Domine - Stay with us, Lord" (cf. Lk 24: 29). This invocation rings out in every Christian community: by recognizing the risen Christ "in the breaking of the bread" (Lk 24: 35), may the faithful be ready to witness to him with fruitful charity.

2. The diocesan Caritas is a privileged expression of charity in the local Church. In Rome, Caritas is celebrating its 25th anniversary. I thank God for all the good fruits that have ripened in these years and I encourage the Ecclesial Community to continue in the work of formation and in activities at the service of the poor and needy.

3. Let us entrust these intentions to the intercession of Mary Most Holy, "Woman of the Eucharist" (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, chap. VI).

After leading the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father said:

I send my greeting to the Italian Catholics who in these days have been taking part in their Social Week in Bologna on the theme: "Democracy: new scenes, new powers". May the reflection of this important Congress offer new incentives to the Ecclesial Community of Italy for an ever more effective witness in every area of the Country's life.

Next Sunday afternoon [17 October], in spiritual communion with all those in Guadalajara, Mexico, who will be concluding the International Eucharistic Congress, I will preside in St Peter's at a solemn Celebration for the opening of the Year of the Eucharist throughout the Church. I invite the faithful to participate in large numbers in this important ecclesial event, in order to pay a unanimous homage to Christ, the Light and Life of the new millennium.


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