The Pope presided over the Mass on Thursday afternoon outside the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The liturgy ended with a procession through a main street of Rome to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
The Holy Father followed the procession from a convertible car, recollected in prayer before a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament.
He dedicated the homily of the Mass to meditate on passages of his last encyclical, "Ecclesia de Eucharistia," reminding the faithful that "the Church lives from the Eucharist."
John Paul II hoped that each one of the faithful, nourished by Christ in the Eucharist, "will be able to face with hopeful confidence any trial in life."
"The Bishop of Rome, Successor of Peter, his brothers in the episcopate and priesthood, all religious, the consecrated laity, and all the baptized live from the Eucharist," he said.
"Christian families in particular live from the Eucharist," as it is the nourishment to continue "in the way of conjugal and family holiness," John Paul II added.
The procession of the faithful with the sacrament "manifests symbolically our existence as pilgrims on the way to the heavenly homeland. We are not alone in our pilgrimage: Christ, bread of life, walks with us," the Pope explained.
One of the petitions, during the Prayers of the Faithful, was for "the peoples of the Holy Land and all those who, in various parts of the world, are living the drama of war, oppression and social injustice. May the Lord uproot hatred, calm dissent, and inspire in governments farsightedness and the will to seek solutions that respect the dignity of every man."