During a Mass yesterday which concluded the 11th General Synod of Bishops and the “Year of the Eucharist” instituted by John Paul II, Pope Benedict canonized 5 new saints and stressed the centrality of the Eucharist, saying it must be the driving force for the lives of all the faithful.
Speaking to a large crowd, the Holy Father said that "Contemplation of the Eucharist must encourage all members of the Church - and in the first place priests, ministers of the Eucharist - to revive their commitment to faithfulness.”
“In the mystery of the Eucharist, celebrated and adored,” he said, “lie the roots of celibacy which priests have received as a precious gift and a sign of total love towards God and towards others.”
But “for lay people too,” the Pope stressed, “Eucharistic spirituality must be the inner force for all their activities, and there can be no separation between faith and life in their mission of Christian animation of the world."
257 Bishops from around the world have been discussing issues of the Church in the world and the place of the Eucharist for the last two weeks. The conclusion of their Synod, not coincidentally, fell yesterday on World Mission Day.
On this, the Holy Father highlighted how, "this Eucharistic perspective, is an appropriate context for today's World Mission Day, for which the venerated Servant of God John Paul II chose the theme: ‘Mission: Bread broken for the life of the world.’"
"Even today," the Pope said, "before the multitudes, Christ continues to exhort His disciples, 'you give them something to eat.' And in His name missionaries continue to announce and bear witness to the Gospel, at times even sacrificing their lives."
In addition to his Eucharistic message, Pope Benedict, united with the Synod Fathers, and in the name of the entire episcopate, sent a special message to Chinese bishops who were unable to receive permission from government authorities to attend the Synod.
"With heartfelt sorrow”, Benedict said, “we felt the absence of their four representatives. Yet I would like to assure all Chinese prelates that, in prayer, we remain close to them, to their priests and to their faithful. The troubled path of their communities ... will not fail to bear fruit."