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Friday, September 17, 2004


VATICAN CITY, SEP 17, 2004 (VIS) - This morning at Castelgandolfo, the Pope received 130 recently-appointed bishops who participated in a meeting organized in Rome by the Congregations for Bishops and for the Oriental Churches.

  The Holy Father said to the bishops of the "two traditions of the universal Church, East and West," that "with consecration, a bishop turns into teacher, priest and guide of the Christian community. Therefore, Christ, the divine Master, present in the Word of Scripture as well as in the sacrament of the Eucharist, must always be at the center of his ministry."

  "My strong desire is that the Year of the Eucharist, that will begin on October 10 with the opening of the International Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, will be a providential occasion to better explore the central importance of the sacrament of the Eucharist in the life and activity of every particular Church. The bonds of fraternal charity are strengthened around the altar and the awareness is enlivened in all believers of belonging to the one People of God, whom the bishops guide."

  John Paul II emphasized that as bishops they have the duty "to take special care of the celebration of the Sacraments and worship in general. Defend the hope of the faithful to have a dignified celebration in which nothing is left to improvisation or chance."

  "You are aware," he concluded, "that the ministry of sanctification requires the witness of a holy life. The Spirit of God, which has sanctified you through episcopal consecration, awaits your generous response daily. … In order to confirm what we teach, the  witness of our life is necessary."
AC/EPISCOPAL MINISTRY/…                        VIS 20040917 (290)

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