Benedict XVI Urges Whole Church to Prepare for Synod

October Event on the Eucharist Approaches

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 4, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI appealed to the whole Church, and not just bishops, to prepare for next month's synod on the Eucharist.



Addressing the crowds who gathered at the papal summer residence today before the Angelus, the Pope reminded them that with that synodal assembly, the first of his pontificate, the Year of the Eucharist will close. The theme of the synod, convoked by Pope John Paul II, is "The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church."

The close to 250 bishops who will attend the Oct. 2-23 synod are studying the working document which will serve as the basis for their addresses.

Benedict XVI today said: "I request, however, that the whole ecclesial community feel involved in this phase of immediate preparation, and that it participate with prayer and reflection, taking advantage of every occasion, event and meeting."

On July 7, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops, revealed that the Pope has made some modifications so that the synod will be more participatory (there will be free interventions every day) and ecumenical (the number of representatives of other Churches has doubled, from six to 12).

Memories of Cologne

As an example of the initiatives which can be organized to involve communities in the preparation of the synod, Benedict XVI mentioned the many references to "the mystery of the Eucharist" during the recent World Youth Day in Germany.

"I remember, for example, the thought-provoking Saturday night vigil, on August 20, in Marienfeld, which had its culminating moment in Eucharistic adoration: a courageous choice, which made the glance and hearts of young people converge on Jesus, present in the Most Holy Sacrament," the Pope said.

"I remember, moreover, that during those memorable days, in some churches of Cologne, Bonn and Duesseldorf, there was continuous adoration, day and night, with the attendance of many young people, which in this way were able to discover the beauty of contemplative prayer," the Holy Father added.

The Bishop of Rome's hope is that "thanks to the commitment of pastors and faithful, participation in the Eucharist will be ever more assiduous and fervent in every community."

For this reason, he urged "sanctifying with joy the 'Lord's Day,' Sunday, a sacred day for Christians" and one of "encounter with the risen Lord."