Pope John Paul II inaugurated the year of the Eucharist with the celebration of Mass on Sunday, October 17, concomitantly with the closing Mass of the 48th International Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Via satellite, the Pope said to the participants in the Congress in Guadalajara that "the theme of the congress, 'The Eucharist; Light and Life of the New Millennium', invites us to consider the Eucharistic mystery not only in itself but also in relationship to the problems of our times."
"The human heart needs light, as it is weighed down by sin, often disoriented and tired, tried by sufferings of every type,”said the Pope. “The world needs light in the difficult search for a peace that seems so distant, at the beginning of a millennium upset and humiliated by violence, by terrorism and by war."
Emphasizing that life is the greatest human aspiration, the Pope noted that "threatening shadows weigh on this universal longing, the shadows of a culture that denies respect for life in every stage; the shadow of an indifference that send countless people to destinies of hunger and underdevelopment: the shadow of scientific research that often aims to serve the egoism of the strongest."
"We must all feel called by the needs of so many of our brothers and sisters," without forgetting that nourishing ourselves with the Body of Christ "means welcoming life itself from God, opening ourselves to the logic of love and sharing," said the Holy Father.
As did the disciples of Emmaus, ask "the divine Wayfarer, Who knows our hearts, not to leave us as prisoners of evening shadows,” instructed the Holy Father.
“Sustain us in our fatigue, pardons our sins, orient our steps to the path of good. ... Bless all of mankind!" he prayed.
In conclusion, addressing the Lord, the Pope said: "In the Eucharist You made yourself 'the remedy for immortality': give us delight in a full life that makes us walk on this earth as trusting and joyous pilgrims, always looking to the goal, the end of the life that has no end. Stay with us, Lord. Stay with us!"
The Pope conclude with the announcement that the next International Eucharistic Congress will be held in Quebec, Canada in 2008.