The Holy Father's Apostolic Letter Mane Nobiscum Domine (Stay with us, Lord) was launched on Friday by Cardinal Francis Arinze, who announced that its underlying theme is the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The Letter, begins with the words "'Stay with us, for it is towards evening,'" said Cardinal Arinze, who is prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. "This was the heartfelt invitation that the two disciples, walking towards Emmaus the very evening of the Resurrection, issued to the Traveller who had joined them along the road. Filled with sad thoughts, they could not imagine that that stranger was their very Master, by now risen." The Year of the Eucharist takes place between now and next October. In the 32-page document, the Holy Father indicates that he had planned for some time to declare a Year of the Eucharist. He says that he hopes the initiative will lead to a deeper appreciation for the central role of the Eucharist in the life of the Church, a greater respect for the norms of the liturgy, a more reverent attitude toward the Blessed Sacrament, and a more active participation in Sunday Mass. Mane Nobiscum Domine is the third in a series of recent documents on the Eucharist. Pope John Paul offered his encyclical letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia in April 2003; it was followed one year later by an instruction on liturgical abuses, Redemptionis Sacramentum, prepared by the Congregation for Divine Worship. "The Year of the Eucharist," said Cardinal Arinze, "will see the Church especially committed to living the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. Jesus continues to walk with us and to introduce us to the mysteries of God, opening us up to the deep meaning of Sacred Scriptures. At the summit of this encounter, Jesus breaks for us 'the bread of life'." "The Eucharistic celebration nourishes the disciple of Christ with two 'meals'," he said, "that of the Word of God and that of the Bread of Life. When minds are enlightened and hearts burn, signs speak. In the Eucharistic signs the mystery is in some way open to the eyes of the believer. The two disciples of Emmaus recognise Jesus as they break bread." Source: VIS/FIDES
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