12-March-2013 -- EWTNews Feature |

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Military archbishop says Eucharist defines Catholics

The Eucharist is a sign of God's generosity and prepares Catholics for eternal life, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio said in a speech asking Catholics to remember how important the Sacrament is.

"Take away the sacrifice of the Mass, prohibit it, or make it risky to attend, then we begin to appreciate how precious this celebration really is."

"We should remember that fact when we are tempted to skip Mass, say that it offers us nothing, or find it boring," the head of the Archdiocese for the Military Services said.

"From the origins of the believing community, men and women have made enormous sacrifices to participate in this celebration which makes us present at the central event of our salvation history," he added, noting that people in some countries like Saudi Arabia still take great risks to attend Mass today.

Archbishop Broglio spoke at the Eucharistic Congress of the Diocese of St. Augustine in Jacksonville, Florida March 9. He delivered the congress' keynote speech in the place of Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, who is in Rome for the papal conclave.

The archbishop said the consecration of the Eucharist is "the moment that defines us as Catholics."

"We recognize the generosity of God. He sent His Son to assure our salvation. He gives us the opportunity to keep and offer a gift acceptable to Him, permitting us also His unique and specific presence," he said.

He said the Eucharist helps prepare Catholics for their final encounter with Jesus at the end of their lives. It prompts Catholics to ask themselves whether they are "firmly fixed" on eternal life or if they have reduced their goals to "a better car, more money, a nice house, or a more interesting job."

"Our goal should be elevated and noble. It must be eternal life. The Eucharist puts us in contact with that life; it allows us to taste the union with Christ and the whole Church of those living, suffering, or triumphant." Archbishop Broglio focused on two aspects of the Eucharist: sacrifice and communion.

Both aspects complement each other. However, Catholic theology historically treated sacrifice as the primary aspect, while the pastoral emphasis of the Second Vatican Council period developed the aspect of communion. The archbishop said this latter emphasis sometimes neglected the importance of sacrifice.

He warned against the dangers of abuse in communion services that divorce the celebration of the Eucharist from the reception of Holy Communion, noting how hasty some military service members receive the Eucharist in haste before moving out on assignment.

Eucharistic Adoration is an important way to cultivate desire for union with God, he said. However, he also stressed that Eucharistic adoration is impossible without the celebration of the Mass.

The archbishop said the celebration of Mass tells Catholics "proclaim the Gospel in your lives." It is also connected to the love of the poor, because Jesus' limitless love in the Eucharist nourishes charity and reminds Catholics they too hunger and thirst Archbishop Broglio discussed the importance of families and parishes that educate children in the importance of the Eucharist.

"If we are well instructed in the teaching about the Eucharist we can build an ever stronger community of believers who make manifest in their lives the faith celebrated in Word and Sacrament," he said.

The archbishop said the relationship between the priesthood and the Eucharist is "very close indeed." The celebration of the Eucharist "provoked the first thoughts of vocation in my heart," he said.

Archbishop Broglio's archdiocese ministers to about 1.8 million Catholics who serve in or work with the U.S. armed forces around the world.

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=7213#ixzz2NL14llQ7

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