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Monday, October 24, 2005


VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2005 (VIS) - During a Eucharistic concelebration over which he presided this morning in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI closed the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist and the Year dedicated to the same Sacrament. He also proclaimed five new saints, the first of his pontificate.

  In his homily the Pope referred to the new saints in turn, describing St. Jozef Bilczewski (1860 - 1923), as "a man of prayer," whose "profound theological knowledge, faith and Eucharistic devotion ... made him an example for priests and a witness for all the faithful."

  The Polish St. Zygmunt Gorazdowski (1845 - 1920), priest, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, "became famous for his devotion rooted in the celebration and adoration of the Eucharist. His experience of Christ's sacrifice drove him to the sick, the poor and the needy."

  The Holy Father went on to speak of the Chilean Jesuit priest, St. Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga (1901 - 1952) who "wished to identify himself with the Lord and to love the poor with the Lord's own love. ... In love and in total commitment to God's will, he found the strength for his apostolate. He founded the 'Hogar de Cristo' (Home of Christ) for the most needy and the homeless, offering them a family atmosphere full of human warmth. In his priestly ministry he stood out for his simplicity and his readiness to help others."

  With reference to the Italian priest, St. Gaetano Catanoso (1879 - 1963), founder of the Congregation of the Veronica Sisters of the Holy Countenance, the Pope stressed how "daily Mass and frequent adoration of the Sacrament of the altar were the soul of his priestly ministry. With ardent and tireless pastoral charity he dedicated himself to preaching, catechesis, the ministry of Confession, the poor, the sick, and to nurturing priestly vocations."

  Finally, Benedict XVI spoke of St. Felice da Nicosia (1715 - 1787) of the Friars Minor Capuchin, who was "austere and penitent, faithful to the most genuine expressions of the Franciscan tradition. ... (He) helps us to discover the value of small things that give life a precious value, teaching us to perceive the meaning of the family and of service to our brothers and sisters, and showing us that the true and lasting joy, for which all human hearts long, is the fruit of love."

  The Pope then sent, together with the Synod Fathers and in the name of the entire episcopate, "a fraternal greeting to the bishops of the Church in China," who did not receive permission from the authorities to participate in the Synod. "With heartfelt sorrow 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."

  Benedict XVI continued: "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, lie the roots of celibacy which priests have received as a precious gift and a sign of total love towards God and towards others. For lay people too, 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."

  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," he concluded, "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."
HML/CLOSURE SYNOD:EUCHARISTIC YEAR/...            VIS 20051024 (680)

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