Year of the Eucharist
The Year of the Eucharist is the name of the
liturgical yearfrom October 2004to October 2005, as celebrated by Catholics worldwide. On June 10, 2004, Pope John Paul IIannounced the dedication of an entire year to the Blessed Sacramentand invited the entire Church to reflect upon the Eucharist.
Opening the Year
Pope John Paul II stated that the idea came from scheduled events to take place in the following liturgical year. The
International Eucharistic Congresswas scheduled for October 10, 2004to October 17, 2004, and would mark the opening of "Year of the Eucharist". The year would close with the "Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops", held from October 2, 2005to October 29, 2005.
He stated that the
World Youth Day 2005was another consideration in his decision of the dedication. He said, "I would like the young people to gather around the Eucharist as the vital source which nourishes their faith and enthusiasm."
Specifically how the year was to be celebrated was left to the particular Churches. However, Pope John Paul II offered some basic guidelines. Suggestions were also presented by the
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. In the United States, many dioceses encouraged local parishes to conduct celebrations, to examine the place of the Eucharist in parish life, to encourage Eucharistic adorationseparate from the Mass, and to evaluate how Eucharistic adoration is conducted locally. Many Bishops took the time to encourage their local parishes to institute 40-hour devotions.
Goals of the Year of the Eucharist
Pope John Paul IImade several suggestions to the Church in order to help the faithful benefit from the "Year of the Eucharist". He called on Catholics to understand the Eucharist as "an urgent summons to testimony and evangelization," providing the necessary strength to carry out the "charge" given at the end of each Mass to spread the Gospel. John Paul II also asked for a commitment to a "culture of the Eucharist," i.e. a commitment to providing witness to God's "real" presence in the world.
Another reflection offered by Pope John Paul II is that of the meaning of the word "
Eucharist": Thanksgiving. John Paul II said, "In Jesus, in his sacrifice, in his unconditional 'yes' to the will of the Father, is contained the 'yes', the 'thank you' and the 'amen' of all humanity." He asked for a commitment to giving thanks to God, which he called a "'Eucharistic' attitude."
Among the many reflections published in honor of the year, Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes' of the Archdiocese of New Orleans wrote, "On this side of heaven, one cannot experience a more substantial or intense communion with Christ's presence than in the Eucharist." [http://www.archdiocese-no.org/eucharist/letter/index.html]
This year also saw the death of
Pope John Paul IIon April 2, 2005(the one who established the year itself), and the subsequent election of Pope Benedict XVIon April 19, 2005.
There was an
Eucharistic Congressin the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conceptionin Washington, D.C., on September 25 2004, the homilywas given by Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefectof the Congregation for Divine Worship[http://www.adoremus.org/Arinze-EuchUnites.html] . The closing Mass was attended by 3,000 Catholics.
* [http://www.yearoftheeucharist.com/ USCCB Year of the Eucharist webpage]
* [http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20041014_anno-eucaristia_en.html Year of the Eucharist Vatican Website]
* [http://www.adoremus.org/JPIICatechesisEucharist.html Catechesis of His Holiness John Paul II on the Eucharist] presented by Adoremus
*cite web|title=Apostolic Letter Mane nobisum Domine|work=Apostolic Letter, MANE NOBISCUM DOMINE, of the Holy Father John Paul II to the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful for the Year of the Eucharist|url=http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_20041008_mane-nobiscum-domine_en.html|accessdate=December 13|accessyear=2005
*cite web|title=Solemnity of Corpus Christi - Homily of John Paul II|work=Mass and Eucharistic Procession for the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, Homily of John Paul II, Basilica of St John Lateran, Thursday, 10 June 2004|url=http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/homilies/2004/documents/hf_jp-ii_hom_20040610_corpus-domini_en.html|accessdate=December 13|accessyear=2005
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