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Friday, 22 March 2002


Your Eminences,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
Dear Brothersa and Sisters,

1. I am pleased to welcome you and greet you warmly. I want to welcome warmly Cardinal Jozef Tomko, President of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, whom I thank for his words on your behalf.

In these days when you have gathered to plan the activity of the Committee whose members have recently been renewed, you have wished to meet with the Pope. I thank you for your visit, and offer my cordial welcome to each one of you, together with my wishes for the success of your work.

2. I willingly take this opportunity to express my deepest appreciation to your committee, that is dedicated to promoting throughout the Church devotion to the Eucharist. Eucharistic congresses are important experiences of faith and intense prayer, because they offer many believers the opportunity to contemplate the face of Christ, mysteriously veiled in the sacrament of the Eucharist. Through you, I would like to convey my most sincere gratitude to the National Delegates and to all those who cooperate in various ways for the success of these important manifestations of Christian devotion.

You are well aware of the importance of Eucharistic devotion for the life of the Church and the spread of the Gospel. Indeed, the Eucharist contains the most precious spiritual good of the Christian community: Christ, who gave himself up on the Cross for the salvation of mankind. Therefore continue with dedication and enthusiasm in your work, which is deeply appreciated.

As I assure you of my remembrance in prayer, I cordially impart to you and to all your loved ones a special Apostolic Blessing.

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