As over 200 bishops continue to meet in Rome for the 11th General Synod of Bishops, heavy emphasis has been placed, in recent days, on specific ways that the faithful might better respect and come to a fuller appreciation for the Eucharist and its meaning for the worldwide Church.
On Friday, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education specifically stressed the need for Eucharistic formation among the Church's future priests, saying that, "The Eucharist constitutes the framework for all formation of seminarians: human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral."
"This centrality of the Eucharist", he said, "must be strongly emphasized in the life of the seminary at various levels. Solid theological elucidation of the mystery of the Eucharist and its relationship with the Sacrament of Penance, explanation of the meaning of liturgical norms, the example of teachers, correct preparation of Eucharistic celebrations in order that they be intimately experienced by the whole community, the presence and availability of good confessors, well-prepared adoration of the Eucharistic, persistent invitations to private adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament, etc., all these factors, seriously and constantly undertaken, should introduce the seminarian to a full understanding and love of the Eucharist."
The Cardinal highlighted the profound importance of seminary formation saying that "in reality, how the Eucharist is celebrated and how it is perceived by the faithful, mainly depends on priests."
Similarly, Bishop Petru Gherghel of Iasi, Romania, addressing the Synod Fathers earlier today, made his own specific proposal to increase respect towards the Eucharist.
During the "long period of communist rule," he recalled, "the Church was the only place in which the faithful could nourish the courage of their faith. Celebration of the Eucharist was, at one and the same time, a moment for evangelization, for catechesis and for communion with God and with our brothers and sisters."
"Bearing in mind", he said, "the oriental tradition, the richness of such testimony and the attempt to exchange gifts between [the Churches of the east and west], I propose that Mass also be given the name of 'Holy and Divine Liturgy,' alongside the Latin name already in use but not very precise."
"Such a name," the bishop opined, "would be more suggestive of the divine, and would invite people, to meditation, wonder, silence and adoration."
Bishop Gabriel Malzaire of Roseau, Dominica also suggested recommendations which he hoped would help reconcile what he sees as a disparity between the faith of many Catholics and how they live their lives.
For example, "the Sacrament of Penance", he lamented, "is not a regular part of the spiritual life of a growing number of Catholics" and "Mixed marriages sometimes lead to a diminished regard for the Eucharist. Inter-communion poses a problem in the Antilles."
He said that while "many of the faithful believe Holy Communion leads to personal sanctification and transformation of attitudes and engenders responsiveness to the needs of others... for many others there is a disparity between what they believe and how they live."
Some recommendations the bishop made to try to combat this include: "A return to the emphasis on Easter duties with its requirement for (at least) annual Confession; reclaiming the respect and reverence due to the holy places; need for greater silence before and during the celebration of Mass; pews with kneelers should be returned to the Church so that people get into the habit of showing reverence before the Blessed Sacrament."