Year of the Eucharist

OCt. 13-19, 2005
VOL 124 NO. 35
Year of the Eucharist
This monstrance at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception will be used for the Liturgy of the Hours being held Oct. 16 during Edward Cardinal Egan’s visit celebrating the conclusion of the Year of the Eucharist
By Connie Cissell/ SUN editor
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Year of the Eucharist … a beginning, not an ending

“Divine Wayfarer, expert in our ways and reader of our hearts, do not leave us prisoners to the evening shadows.

Sustain us in our weariness, forgive our sins and direct our steps on the path of goodness. Bless the children, the young people, the elderly, families and the sick in particular. Bless the priests and consecrated persons. Bless all humanity.

In the Eucharist, you made yourself the ‘medicine of immortality:’ give us the taste for a full life that will help us journey on as trusting and joyful pilgrims on this earth, our gaze fixed on the goal of life without end.

Stay with us, Lord! Stay with us! Amen.”

— Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the opening of the Year of the Eucharist, 2004-2005
Pope John Paul II opened the Year of the Eucharist on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2004. That November he blessed the monstrance that will be used during the diocesan Holy Hour planned for Sunday, October 16 beginning at 2:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York, will join the diocese in thanking the Lord for the Eucharist in a special event that will include vespers, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the cardinal’s homily and benediction. And in his words, “Indeed, the ‘Year of the Eucharist’ must never end, but rather live on in our ever-increased devotion to Jesus Christ, ‘body, blood, soul, and divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine.’”

When Ron Stott, a parishioner of St. Agnes Church in Brewerton, presented the monstrance blessed by Pope John Paul II to Bishop James Moynihan, his real intent was to increase awareness of the blessings adoration gives the adorer. “My primary goal was to pray for vocations,” Stott said. “But if we could begin in this diocese to explore adoration with reasonable hours, people will begin to realize what we’re losing if we don’t participate in this.” Stott has researched Eucharistic adoration and said that the Archdiocese of Chicago offers adoration at 70 percent of its parishes. Parishes could begin by offering single nights of adoration for vocations, Stott suggested. After the special celebration with Cardinal Egan, the monstrance will travel from parish to parish giving people across the diocese the opportunity to experience the spiritual gifts adoration provides.

Cardinal Egan said the Holy Father provided everyone with the opportunity to reflect on the gift of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist by declaring the year of special devotion.

“It is my hope and prayer that the ‘Year of the Eucharist’ does not end with our various gatherings, pilgrimages, and ceremonies this month,” the cardinal said.

The celebration at the Cathedral will be a different occasion. It will not be a Mass, but rather Liturgy of the Hours. Father Joseph Scardella, director of the Office of Formation for Ministry and Liturgy, said that Catholics are used to celebrations being part of Mass, but this opportunity will be a “nice change, an hour before the Blessed Sacrament.” Armand Di Scenna, former director of Music and Liturgy for the diocese, is preparing the music for the event. Father Scardella said that the services will include chant but will not include organ accompaniment, but rather tone bells. He added that discussion about how to conclude the Year of the Eucharist began in late spring. “The bishop and I had talked about the close of the Year of the Eucharist and he suggested we invite Cardinal Egan to preach,” Father Scardella said.

The Cardinal graciously accepted the offer and planning began for the event. The diocesan Commission on Women In Church and in Society helped to coordinate the event. Members will participate in parts of the celebration and there will be a reception at the OnCenter immediately afterward.

It is hoped that the conclusion of the Year of the Eucharist will bring people together from across the diocese united in understanding of the meaning and the gifts of the Body of Christ.

Bishop Moynihan invites people of the diocese to participate in the special occasion, as does Edward Cardinal Egan. “It will be a great blessing for me to join the People of God of the Diocese of Syracuse on October 16th, as together we thank the Lord for the Eucharist, that gift which surpasses all others — Himself on our altars and in our tabernacles for our growth in grace and holiness,” the Cardinal said.
VATICAN CITY

At opening Mass, pope says Eucharist is way to just society, peace

(CNS) — At an opening Mass for the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, Pope Benedict XVI said the Eucharist was the true way to build justice in society and to create peace in human hearts. He encouraged the synod not only to pronounce “beautiful things” about the Eucharist, but also to experience its power and communicate it to the world.

About 250 synod participants and thousands of others joined the pope in St. Peter’s Basilica Oct. 2 for the inaugural Mass, a liturgy marked by a solemn tone and few multicultural flourishes.

Dressed in pale green vestments, the pope read a sermon that explained the Eucharist in simple terms, as the place where “God comes to meet us.” “God is waiting for us. He wants to be loved by us. Shouldn’t this appeal touch our hearts?” he said. But this very encounter, he said, is often hindered by people’s indifference. He said today’s faithful need to recall the prophet Isaiah’s parable of the vineyard and ask themselves: “Is not our Christian life perhaps more vinegar than wine?”

The pope said the refusal to meet God, a phenomenon already described in biblical times, continues today in various forms. In essence, he said, human beings want to possess the world and control their own lives by themselves. “God is an obstacle for us. Either he is reduced to a simple devotional phrase or is denied altogether, banished from public life, so that he loses all meaning,” he said.

Under the popular notion of tolerance, he said, God is accepted as a private opinion but is refused a place of public influence. “This is not tolerance but hypocrisy,” the pope said. Ultimately, it leads not to justice but to a society ruled by power and private interests, he said. The pope recalled God’s “threat of judgment” to people of the Old and New testaments and said it applies to modern Europe and to the West in general. “We do well if we allow this warning to resound in all its seriousness in our soul, crying out at the same time to the Lord: ‘Help us to be converted!’” he said. He asked the synod to remind people that the Eucharist offers a true sense of hope, built on Christ’s saving sacrifice. It helps people to reject the false ideal of self-sufficiency, he said. The synod marks the close of the Year of the Eucharist proclaimed by Pope John Paul II. The official list of synod members included a record-high 244 bishops and 12 priests from 118 countries.

Pope Benedict invited four bishops from mainland China to the synod, but they were not present for the opening Mass. Vatican sources said it looked doubtful that China would allow them to travel to Rome, but said church officials had not given up hope. “We have not yet had a definitive response. We continue to hope they can come, even if it is for the last day of the synod,” Croatian Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops, said at a press conference Oct. 1.

The synod, which ends Oct. 23, was expected to discuss a wide variety of issues connected to the Eucharist, including Sunday Mass attendance, liturgical practices, the belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the shortage of priests, and the church’s policy against reception of Communion by Catholics who have divorced and civilly remarried without an annulment. Pope Benedict did not address any of the specific topics at the opening Mass. In introductory prayers, he asked the Holy Spirit to “enlighten, guide and inspire the synod’s work and push us toward charity, harmony and service of the truth.”

Speaking afterward at his weekly Sunday blessing, the pope said people might well ask why a synod on the Eucharist was needed. The answer, he said, is that the church’s doctrine on the Eucharist needs to be grasped and communicated in new ways that are relevant to modern times. He said the Eucharist has always been a lens to view the path of the church, which was founded so that “every person can know God’s love and find in it the fullness of life.”

The pope noted that the synod and the eucharistic year close Oct. 23, World Mission Sunday, highlighting the connection between the Eucharist and missionary activity. “The Eucharist, in effect, is the central motor of the entire evangelizing action of the church, somewhat like the role of the heart in the human body,” he said. The pope asked for prayers for the success of the synod, including prayers to guardian angels, whose feast day was celebrated Oct. 2. He also asked people to pray the rosary, which he said was enjoying a revival in the church, thanks in part to the efforts of Pope John Paul. The pope’s mention of his predecessor drew a wave of applause from the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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