HOLY FATHER OPENS CELEBRATIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS
Vatican City, 19 (NE) "In the heart of the Jubilee, as we begin this week dedicated to the
Eucharistic Congress, we turn our eyes towards the Incarnation, that historic event which
marked the fulfillment of our salvation", said Pope John Paul II yesterday, during the opening
ceremony of the 47th International Eucharistic Congress. In St. Peter's Square, where thousands
of faithful had gathered, the Pope presided the vespers liturgy commemorating the feast of the
Holy Trinity, opening celebrations for the Eucharistic Congress.
During the opening ceremony the Pope invited Catholics around the world to "share with us
these moments of high Eucharistic spirituality". "From the Eucharistic congress", the Pope
pointed out, "comes to us the invitation to renew our faith in the real presence of Christ in the
Sacrament of the Altar". The Church, gathered by this event, "turns these days to the Cenacle
and remains in profound adoration. She re-lives the great mystery of the Incarnation,
concentrating her attention in the Sacrament in which Christ gives to us the memory of his
Passion". "We adore You", the Pope exclaimed, "true Body of Christ, present in the sacrament
of the new and eternal alliance, living memorial of the redeeming sacrifice."
Earlier on Sunday, the Holy Father referred to the celebration of the Eucharistic congress during
the Angelus prayer. Addressing pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope stressed once
again that the year 2000 must "necessarily be an intense Eucharistic year".
The program includes three more celebrations to be presided by Pope John Paul II. On
Wednesday 21 the second one will take place during the general audience. That day the weekly
catechesis will be dedicated to the sacrament of the Eucharist. The following day, the traditional
Corpus Domini procession will take place, from the Basilica of Saint John Lateran to the
Basilica of Saint Mary Major. Finally, on Sunday 25 the "Statio Orbis" celebration will take
place, closing the Eucharistic Congress.