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Pope John Paul II inaugurates Year of the Eucharist

Pope John Paul II has inaugurated the year of the Eucharist with the celebration of Mass on Sunday, concomitantly with the closing Mass of the 48th International Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Via satellite, the Pope said to the participants in the Congress in Guadalajara that "the theme of the congress, 'The Eucharist; Light and Life of the New Millennium', invites us to consider the Eucharistic mystery not only in itself but also in relationship to the problems of our times."

"The human heart needs light, as it is weighed down by sin, often disoriented and tired, tried by sufferings of every type," said the Pope. "The world needs light in the difficult search for a peace that seems so distant, at the beginning of a millennium upset and humiliated by violence, by terrorism and by war."

Stressing that life is the greatest human aspiration, the Pope noted that "threatening shadows weigh on this universal longing, the shadows of a culture that denies respect for life in every stage; the shadow of an indifference that send countless people to destinies of hunger and underdevelopment: the shadow of scientific research that often aims to serve the egoism of the strongest."

"We must all feel called by the needs of so many of our brothers and sisters," without forgetting that nourishing ourselves with the Body of Christ "means welcoming life itself from God, opening ourselves to the logic of love and sharing," said the Holy Father.

The Pope concluded with the announcement that the next International Eucharistic Congress will be held in Quebec, Canada in 2008.

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19 Oct 2004