Bishop’s Synod continues focus on liturgy, proper access to the Eucharist

.- As 233 Synod Bishops, currently gathered in Rome, continued to meet in smaller working groups Friday, issues of liturgy and Eucharistic awareness dominated discussions.

Archbishop Alberto Giraldo Jaramillo P.S.S., of Medellin, Colombia, who represented many of the Spanish speaking bishops said that his working group drew up a number of proposals which would encourage greater awareness of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

First, he said, “all bishops should give great importance to the formation of seminarians, accompanying them and their teachers. Special care and attention has to be given to the selection and formation of candidates to live the charism of celibacy.”

The group added that “well-structured vocational pastoral care should be organized in the diocese, based on prayer for vocations and with the support of families, priests and seminarians.”

Likewise, he said that “Dignified celebrations should be guaranteed in the cathedral, the parishes and the various churches of the diocese. The faithful should also be given the opportunity of being able to visit the Holy Sacrament at any time of day.”

As many have stressed throughout the Synod, the archbishop said that “there should be renewed pastoral care of the Sacrament of Penance,” and called on the group to “succeed in finding suitable catechistic ways for priests and faithful to understand the presence of Mary in every Eucharistic celebration.”

“Let us succeed”, he added, “in understanding that, although the Eucharist is a gift, it is our pastoral duty to bring people close to this Sacrament, Helping them to receive the Lord Jesus in the Sacrament."

Specifically, he said that “Special attention should be paid to the sick so as to ensure they receive the Eucharist, and “special attention should be given to people who have formed their families on the basis of the Sacrament of Matrimony.”

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland, speaking about the 'ars celebrandi', said that his group “stressed that what is involved is not some type of choreography of the liturgical rite but a way of entering into the mystery of the Eucharist and a longing to enter into communion with God, through the Paschal mystery.”

His group also suggested “that a listing of thematic homilies be prepared to cover the basic mysteries of Salvation with appropriate references to the Lectionary, the Fathers of the Church and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

Likewise, Archbishop Martin suggested that a 'Eucharistic Companion' for lay people “be drawn up with doctrinal, catechetical and devotional contents for the benefits of the faithful.”

His group, one of the English speaking ones, also “stressed the bonds between the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Penance, especially as many people have lost the sense of sin.”

Noting that “Christians in Western civilization are affected by the secularization of conscience”, which “can lead to rendering real Christian truths banal, and to the profanation of liturgy and ways of life”,  Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany said that Jesus Christ is the “true light, that enlightens every man.'

“The lack of understanding of the liturgy and its practice”, he concluded, “can only be overcome by a positive orientation towards Jesus Christ.”

No General Congregations will meet today, but the relator general, secretary general and the relators of the Working Groups will continue work on the unification of the propositions.

A time of adoration with Pope Benedict will be held at 5 pm today, to which all Synod participants are invited.

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