Vatican City (Fides Service) – The divine gift par excellence, the Eucharist, is given in particular to priests who, receiving it, are responsible for its effectiveness in the world. This is the theme for reflection proposed by the Congregation for the Clergy for World Day for the Sanctification of Priests, celebrated on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, (this year tomorrow 27 June), or another date chosen by the local Church. A handbook in Italian and Portuguese prepared for the occasion takes its inspiration from the recent Papal Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia and it intends to “create an intense spirit of adoration and prayer around the Mystery of the Blessed Sacrament, which will foster among priests and among the faithful that “Eucharistic amazement” of which the Holy Father’s speaks, affirming that it “should always fill the Church assembled for the celebration of the Eucharist. But in a special way it should fill the minister of the Eucharist” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia 5).
The handbook consists of six brief parts: the priest, responsible for the Eucharist; the cry of faith; building the Church and contemplation in adoration; the Eucharist and the ministerial priesthood; the Eucharist and ecclesial communion; with the faith of Mary. In the opening paragraph the booklet underlines that “the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus us an invitation to contemplate the love that gushes from the inexhaustible source of Christ and is poured out over the whole of humanity through the “gift par excellence” which is the Eucharist. The recent Encyclical by John Paul II draws our attention to the value of this gift, which is totally exceptional”.
Among the other reflections it is recalled that every celebration of the Eucharist must awaken in the priest “responsibility for a world which needs to be transformed, transfigured by the Eucharist. Pronouncing or hearing the words: “the Mystery of faith” the priest realises that this cry of the faith urges him to go to a world in which Christ works wonders and he is deeply aware of the missionary task that cannot be postponed to spread Christ’s kingdom everywhere. He receives new light on the priestly mission with which he has been entrusted and the role he must fulfil so that the power of the Eucharist may produce its effects in every human life”. SL (Fides Service 26/6/2003 EM lines 27 Words: 369)