Encyclical on Eucharist Due Out on Holy Thursday

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 30, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II plans to sign his forthcoming encyclical on the Eucharist during the Mass of the Lord's Last Supper on Holy Thursday.

The Pope made the announcement today to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The encyclical "is centered on the intrinsic value and importance for the Church of the sacrament that Jesus left us as a living memorial of his death and resurrection," the Pope said.

In the Eucharist, "Jesus, Bread of eternal life and true manna, sustains believers on the way through the 'desert' of history toward the Promised Land," he explained.

John Paul II will publish the encyclical instead of his usual Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday.

He added: "From this moment, I entrust to Mary this important document."