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Thursday, October 27, 2016
Vatican issues document on Year of the Eucharist
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 The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments yesterday published a document entitled: "The Year of the Eucharist: Suggestions and Proposals," in answer to a idea put forth by Pope John Paul in his October 7 Apostolic Letter "Mane nobiscum Domine." Today's document, published in Italian, is expected to be available shortly in other major languages. In Number 29 of "Mane nobiscum Domine," the Holy Father wrote: "There is room here for any number of initiatives, according to the judgement of the Pastors of the particular Churches. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments will not fail to provide some helpful suggestions and proposals. I do not ask, however, for anything extraordinary, but rather that every initiative be marked by a profound interiority. If the only result of this Year were the revival in all Christian communities of the celebration of Sunday Mass and an increase in Eucharistic worship outside Mass, this Year of grace would be abundantly successful. At the same time, it is good to aim high, and not to be content with mediocrity, since we know we can always count on God's help." The text is divided into an Introduction, a Summary of the five Chapters (Frame of Reference, Worship Contexts, Lines of Eucharistic Spirituality, Pastoral Initiatives and Commitments and Cultural Paths), a list of documents and abbreviations used, the five Chapters and a Conclusion. The Introduction notes that "barely a year after the conclusion of the Year of the Rosary, there is a new initiative of the Holy Father: The Year of the Eucharist from October 2004 to October 2005. There is continuity between these two initiatives and they are, in fact, within the framework of pastoral indications that the Pope gave to the Church with the Apostolic Letter 'Novo millennio ineuente', placing the face of Christ at the centre of ecclesial commitments in the wake of Vatican Council II and the Great Jubilee." "Now," continues the Introduction, "the Year of the Eucharist ...offers us an important pastoral occasion for the entire Christian community to be further sensitized to make this wonderful Sacrifice and Sacrament the heart of its life. "The Holy Father left it up to the particular Churches to prepare initiatives for this Year. He did, however, ask the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments to offer 'suggestions and proposals' that could be useful for everyone, pastors and pastoral workers at every level, who is called to make a contribution. "Thus the nature of this handbook. It does not pretend to be exhaustive, but rather limits itself to give, with a simple style, some working suggestions." The congregation indicates a series of suggestions on the parochial and diocesan level in order to begin the Year of the Eucharist. For example, it encourages the preparation of documents - especially where the dioceses cannot do so - that emphasize the Year of the Eucharist and promote reflection by priests and faithful on the doctrinal and pastoral problems in their respective countries (lack of priests, low Sunday Mass attendance, abandoning Eucharistic adoration); they also suggest promoting national Eucharistic congresses and inviting universities, faculties and seminaries to explore this theme. As to dioceses, the document encourages knowledge of the saints who have a special relationship with the diocese and who have been distinguished by love for the Eucharist. Increasing perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in churches and chapels, especially at a time when it is convenient for parishioners, is emphasized. In addition, the congregation suggests organizing Eucharistic adoration for young people around Palm Sunday. It also proposes dedicating space to the theme of the Eucharist in diocesan magazines, internet sites, as well as on local radio and television stations. The text recalls the Pope's invitation to make every effort to make sure that Sunday Mass occupies the central place in the parish. In addition, it highlights the importance of teaching the faithful the proper behaviour when entering a church, helping them to prepare themselves interiorly during Mass, especially in the most important moments and educating them on exterior participation as well. Parishes, continues the text, must promote Eucharistic worship and personal and community prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, namely visiting the Blessed Sacrament, adoration and Eucharistic benediction and spiritual assistance for those who are in irregular situations, and who cannot receive communion although they participate in Mass. It is suggested that monasteries, religious communities and institutes organize mediation on the quality of Eucharistic celebration in community, fidelity to liturgical norms and personal Eucharistic devotion, as well as provide for the possibility of increasing adoration hours before the Blessed Sacrament. Lastly, the document emphasizes that in seminaries and houses of formation a certain familiarity with Latin and Gregorian chant is necessary in order to pray and sing in Latin. Also, it asks that the tabernacle be conveniently located in a place conducive to private prayer. In the Conclusion, the text says: "the success of this Year undoubtedly depends on the depth of our prayer. We are invited to celebrate the Eucharist, to receive it and to adore it with the faith of the saints. ... This special year must help us to encounter Jesus in the Eucharist and to live by Him." Source: VIS
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