.- Pope Benedict XVI told 100,000 participants in an Italian Eucharistic congress that the world needs, more than anything else, to recover a sense of God's loving sovereignty over creation.
âIt is the primacy of God which we must, first and foremost, restore in our world and our lives,â Pope Benedict said at the closing Mass for the gathering held in Ancona,âbecause it is this primacy which allows us to rediscover the truth of who we are; and it is in knowing and following the will of God that we discover our own good.â
History, the Pope noted, âhas dramatically shown usâ the failures that result from a âconviction that we can do everything alone, without God.â He said thisâillusionâ soon gives way to âdisappointment, creating disquiet and fear.â
Pope Benedict traveled to Ancona from his summer residence Castel Gandolfo on the morning of Sept. 11. He celebrated Mass at the city's shipyard, marking the end of the 25thItalian National Eucharistic Congress on the theme of âthe Eucharist for Daily Life.â
In his homily, the Pope described how the Eucharist restores the link between God and the world, through the âtotal gift Christ makes of himselfâ to those who receive him.
Through the sacrament, âdaily lifeâcan âbecome a place for spiritual development,â where the faithful can âexperience the primacy of God in all circumstances.â
The Family and the Priesthood
Later in the day, the Pope met with priests and families of the Archdiocese of Ancona in the San Ciriaco Cathedral. He observed that both marriage and the priesthood âhave their roots in the love of Christ,â giving both states in life theâshared missionâ of â bearing witness to His love and making it present in service to the community.â
He urged priests and married couples to reject a limited view of the family as âa mere recipient of pastoral careâ from the clergy. In fact, he said, the family isâthe primary place for human and Christian education and,therefore, the greatest ally of priestly ministry.â
Likewise, âthe priest's closeness to the family helps him to a fuller awareness of the profound truth about himself and his own mission.â
âWhat is important, then, is to integrate and harmonize priestly ministry with the true Gospel of marriage and the family, in order to achieve effective fraternal communion.â
And the Eucharist, which âdrives the Church's activities,âmust be the âcenter and source of this unityâ between different vocations, the Pope said.
From the cathedral, Pope Benedict traveled to the city's Piazza del Plebiscito, to address a group of young couples preparing for marriage. He described the challenges of their generation in terms drawn from the New Testament.
âIn some ways ours is not an easy time, especially for you young people,â the Pope observed. âThe table is full of delicacies but,like the Gospel narrative of the wedding feast of Cana, the wine seems to have run out. In particular, the difficulty in finding stable work extends a veil of uncertainty over the future.â
âThe wine is also lacking at the feast for a culture which tends to ignore clear moral criteria,â he said. âIn their disorientation, people tend to move individually and autonomously ...Thus, even fundamental decisions become uncertain and remain perennially revocable.â
In this difficult atmosphere, the Pope said that young people should ânever lose hope.â
âKeep your courage, even in moments of difficulty, remain firm in the faith,â he told them. âDo not lose heart before the shortcomings that seem to rob the feast of life of its joy.â
After the meeting, Pope Benedict left for the port of Ancona, from which he traveled by helicopter back to Castel Gandolfo.