The Eucharist leads the faithful to holiness and is the secret to the New Evangelization, said Angelo Cardinal Sodano, the Vatican’s secretary of state, on behalf of Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the 55th National Liturgy Week, Aug. 23-27.
The weeklong event is being held in San Giovanni Rotondo in southern Italy, where the beloved St. Padre Pio lived. The theme of the conference is Liturgy and Holiness.
Liturgical celebrations can provide people with “constant energy and support in their journey toward Christian perfection,” wrote the cardinal.
“The Liturgy, through which one is in contact with the sacred mysteries, invites us therefore to reach for holiness, responding to the evangelical call to become perfect, as our Father in heaven is perfect,” he said, drawing from the Gospel of Matthew.
The cardinal also referred to Pope John Paul II’s document “Novo millennio ineunte”, in which the pontiff reminds all of the faithful of the universal call to holiness and urges all Catholics to attend Sunday mass and make it “the heart of each Sunday.”
“The liturgy is a school for holiness because it helps transform one’s existence to include prayer, whether it be private or in community. The pious, conscious, active participation in the Mysteries, which the liturgy celebrates, unites us to Christ and it helps us to constantly begin again in Christ,” he said.
The cardinal also commented on the significance of the conference being held where St. Padre Pio lived and ministered, a saint who emphasized the importance of the Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation.