Pope identifies Eucharist as the parish's 'beating heart'
Pope John Paul II has told the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Laity that the parish is the "place par excellence to announce Christ and educate people in the faith".
The Assembly is looking at rediscovering "the true face of the Parish".
"The first step" towards the rediscovery of the parish, he suggested, "consists in helping the lay faithful to discover once again the true face of the parish .... the place par excellence to announce Christ and to educate people in the faith. Precisely for this reason it must be constantly renewed in order to become the true 'community of all communities,' capable of truly incisive missionary activity."
"In this year dedicated to the Eucharist," he added, "we must remember that the Eucharist is the beating heart of the parish, font of its mission and presence which continually renews it."
The Holy Father expressed his hope that the assembly's reflection on the parish "may help everyone to understand better that the parish community is a place to encounter Christ and our brothers and sisters."
He also noted some of the initiatives promoted by the Council, such as the meeting of Catholics in Eastern Europe last year in Kiev, Ukraine "which emphasized the role of lay people in the spiritual and material rebuilding of those nations after years of atheistic totalitarianism," and the publication of the "Catalogue of the International Associations of the Faithful" as a fruit of "greater collaboration among the different associations, communities and movements."
The Pope also mentioned "the intense preparation for World Youth Day which will be celebrated in Cologne, Germany in 2005. This gathering, whose theme is 'We have come to adore Him,' encourages the entire Church and especially young people to take up the path of the Three Magi in order to encounter God, made man for our salvation."
Parish is key place to announce Christ and educate Christians, says Pope (Catholic News Agency 25/11/04)
The Eucharist is the beating heart of the parish (Vatican Information Service 25/11/04)
The Pope's teaching at the general audience: "With his divine "fullness", but also through shedding his blood on the Cross, Christ "reconciles" and "restores" all things in heaven and on earth…recreating the original harmony, willed by God in accordance with his loving plan of life." (Fides 24/11/04)
"Rediscovering the authentic image of the parish" theme of Pontifical Council for the Laity plenary assembly (Fides 24/11/04)
Pope Presents Christ as "Image of Invisible God" (Zenit 24/11/04)
Commentary on Canticle in Letter to the Colossians (Zenit 24/11/04)
26 Nov 2004