Vatican News — “I encourage you to continue your efforts to contribute to a revival of faith in, and love for, the Holy Eucharist, the “source and summit of the Christian life.”
With these words, Pope Francis expressed his gratitude to the members of the Committee preparing for the forthcoming National Eucharistic Congress in the United States of America, for their efforts to promote love for the Eucharist.
“Indeed, the Eucharist is God’s response to the deepest hunger of the human heart, the hunger for authentic life, for, in the Eucharist, Christ Himself is truly in our midst, to nourish, console and sustain us on our journey.”
The Pope also decried that the proper sense of Eucharistic adoration is becoming more and more lost, urging the faithful to combat this trend.
Moreover, he urged, we need to value the elderly, often discarded, and who, instead, through their prayer and devotion, set a beautiful and powerful example of faith.
Sense of awe at Lord’s gift of Himself
The Pope expressed his wish to bring the Eucharist’s true meaning to the forefront.
“It is my hope, that the Eucharistic Congress will inspire Catholics throughout the country to discover anew the sense of wonder and awe at the Lord’s great gift of Himself…”
He also stated his desire that the Congress inspire the faithful to “spend time with Him in the celebration of the Holy Mass and in personal prayer and adoration, before the Blessed Sacrament.”
“I cannot fail to mention,” the Pope said, “the need for fostering vocations to the priesthood, for as Saint John Paul II said, ‘There can be no Eucharist without the priesthood.’”
“Priests are needed,” he underscored, “to celebrate the Holy Eucharist.”
Where we meet One Who gave everything for us
“In the Eucharist,” the Pope said, “we encounter the One Who gave everything for us, Who sacrificed Himself in order to give us life, Who loved us to the end. We become credible witnesses to the joy and transforming beauty of the Gospel only when we recognize that the love we celebrate in this sacrament, cannot be kept to ourselves, but demands to be shared with all.”
For this reason, he said, the Body of Christ, impels us to a strong and committed love of neighbor, especially those suffering, in need, or weary.
Significant moment in life of U.S. Church
Addressing those gathered before him as friends, the Holy Father recognized, “the National Eucharistic Congress marks a significant moment in the life of the Church in the United States.”
“May all that you are doing,” the Pope said, “be an occasion of grace for each of you, and may it bear fruit in guiding men and women, throughout your nation, to the Lord who, by His presence among us, rekindles hope and renews our lives. ”
Pope Francis concluded by entrusting them to the maternal intercession of Mary Immaculate, assuring them of his prayers for them, their families, and local Churches, and imparting upon them, his blessing.