Eucharist Seen as a Means to Bolster the Identity of the Priest

Cardinal Castrillón Sends Letter for a World Day of Prayer

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 26, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The key to overcome the infidelity of some priests is the rediscovery of their identity based on their relation with the Eucharist, says the Holy See.



Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Clergy, delivered that message in a letter sent to bishops and priests on the occasion of World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. The Day of Prayer coincides this Friday with the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The cardinal in his letter says the "feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is an invitation for us to contemplate the love which unceasingly flows from Christ and spreads through the whole human race through 'the gift par excellence' which is the Eucharist."

"Every Eucharistic celebration, is bound to awaken the conscience of those who participate in it," he writes. "For the priest, it awakens his responsibility toward a world which has to be transformed, transformed by the Eucharist."

"In pronouncing or hearing the words 'this is the sacrament of our faith,' the priest understands better that this call of faith urges him toward a world in which Christ works miracles. He feels within himself the urgency of the mission to extend his kingdom everywhere," the letter emphasizes.

"The miracle of this presence opens the way in every priest's heart to a new hope which overcomes all of the obstacles which have accumulated during his ministry, even those burdened by tribulations and struggles," it concludes.

In another message sent by Cardinal Castrillón to all bishops, he suggests "prolonged adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament" as a way to observe the Day of Prayer. This, he says, is a means to rediscover the value of the Eucharist and, consequently, the identity of the priest.