.- 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.
“It is the primacy of God which we must, first and foremost, restore in our world and our lives,” Pope Benedict said at the closing Mass for the gathering held in Ancona,“because 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.”
History, the Pope noted, “has dramatically shown us” the failures that result from a “conviction that we can do everything alone, without God.” He said this“illusion” soon gives way to “disappointment, creating disquiet and fear.”
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 “the Eucharist for Daily Life.”
In his homily, the Pope described how the Eucharist restores the link between God and the world, through the “total gift Christ makes of himself” to those who receive him.
Through the sacrament, “daily life”can “become a place for spiritual development,” where the faithful can “experience the primacy of God in all circumstances.”
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 “have their roots in the love of Christ,” giving both states in life the“shared mission” of “ bearing witness to His love and making it present in service to the community.”
He urged priests and married couples to reject a limited view of the family as “a mere recipient of pastoral care” from the clergy. In fact, he said, the family is“the primary place for human and Christian education and,therefore, the greatest ally of priestly ministry.”
Likewise, “the priest's closeness to the family helps him to a fuller awareness of the profound truth about himself and his own mission.”
“What 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.”
And the Eucharist, which “drives the Church's activities,”must be the “center and source of this unity” 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.
“In some ways ours is not an easy time, especially for you young people,” the Pope observed. “The 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.”
“The wine is also lacking at the feast for a culture which tends to ignore clear moral criteria,” he said. “In their disorientation, people tend to move individually and autonomously ...Thus, even fundamental decisions become uncertain and remain perennially revocable.”
In this difficult atmosphere, the Pope said that young people should “never lose hope.”
“Keep your courage, even in moments of difficulty, remain firm in the faith,” he told them. “Do not lose heart before the shortcomings that seem to rob the feast of life of its joy.”
After the meeting, Pope Benedict left for the port of Ancona, from which he traveled by helicopter back to Castel Gandolfo.