The Pope expressed his joy this morning that the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, during the Year of the Eucharist, had chosen to reflect on "various initiatives to rediscover and fully 'experience Sunday as the day of the Lord and the day of the Church'," as proposed in the Apostolic Letter "Mane nobiscum Domine."
The Holy Father received members and counselors of the commission today who are participating in their plenary session on the theme: "Sunday Mass, center of Christian life in Latin America."
"Participation in Sunday Mass," said the Pope, "is not only an important obligation, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 1389) makes quite clear, but above all a profound need of each individual faithful.”
It is not possible to experience faith without participating regularly in Sunday Mass: the sacrifice of redemption, the shared banquet of the Word of God and of the Bread of the Eucharist, heart of Christian life."
John Paul II underlined the "renewed efforts" by pastors of the Church to "raise awareness of the centrality of Sunday in the ecclesial and social life of the men and women of today.”
“To this end,” he said, “it is necessary to concentrate efforts on a better and more careful education and catechesis of the faithful about the Eucharist, and to ensure that the celebration is dignified and decorous, so that it inspires true respect and authentic piety in the face of the greatness of the Eucharistic mystery."
"Sunday Mass," he went on, "must be correctly prepared by the celebrant, with a spiritual disposition which is then revealed in his words and gestures, just as the homily must be prepared in an appropriate way."
On this subject, the Pope referred to the importance of choosing and preparing "the hymns, symbols and other elements that enrich the liturgy, always showing due respect for established norms, taking advantage of all the spiritual and pastoral richness of the Roman Missal and the directives proposed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments."
The Holy Father concluded by asking the bishops, in collaboration with priests, religious and faithful, to give "the maximum commitment to reflecting on and deepening this essential dimension of the sacramental life of the Church," and to work "to awaken an ever greater love for the Mystery of the Eucharist in their dioceses."