Ministers of Holy Communion: The New Evangelization
When was the last time you read a papal encyclical or letter? How about on your feast day?
Consider the Solemnity of Corpus Christi as your feast day, the feast day of every Minister of Holy Communion. The Diocesan Worship Office invites you to celebrate on this day of Holy Communion and to take this opportunity to join other ministers in reflecting with Fr. Czesław Krysa, Diocesan Director of Worship and Minister of Holy Communion Training, on the source and mystery of the Sacrament you were installed to serve.
Please join in on Sunday, June 10, 2012 at 1pm in the Social Hall at Stanislaus Church off Fillmore on Peckham Street in Buffalo.
Read the selections of Blessed John Paul II’s writings cited below. Consider which one speaks to you and your ministry most deeply. Bring the fruits of this reflection to fellow ministers at the faith-sharing time of this gathering. Take this opportunity to build up each other’s faith in the Eucharist: our life. A great way to celebrate your ministry’s feast day.
Then, at 3 p.m., you are welcome join in, vested in white albs as a group (if you like), the Witness Walk Eucharistic Procession from St. Stanislaus Church to the diocesan parish celebrating its annual feast day: Corpus Christi. If you never before took part in a traditional, Catholic, public manifestation of our faith of Jesus’ real presence in the broken bread, it’s all the more reason to be there. A Solemn Mass will follow the Witness Walk.
The U.S. bishops hope that Roman Missal III will spark a renewal in Eucharistic faith through catechesis. Our diocesan ministers can always benefit from experiencing Jesus in the Eucharist and deepening your love for the church’s ageless celebration of the mystery of Jesus present and active among believers. Take the time to make Corpus Christi Parish’s feast day, your feast day—a day of traditional witness and the new evangelization.
Selections from Blessed Pope John Paul II’s Eucharistic Writings (for discussion on June 10) given below:
Blessed are those called to the Supper of the Lamb (Call to Holy Communion: Roman Missal III)
In celebrating the sacrifice of the Lamb, we are united to the heavenly “liturgy” and become part of that great multitude which cries out: “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev 7:10). The Eucharist is truly a glimpse of heaven appearing on earth. It is a glorious ray of the heavenly Jerusalem which pierces the clouds of our history and lights up our journey.
—Encyclical on Eucharistic Renewal: Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003, n. 18
Deliver us from all distress…as we await the blessed hope (Prayer after the Lord’s Prayer at Mass)
“Stay with us, Lord, for it is almost evening” (Lk 24:29). This was the insistent invitation that the two disciples journeying to Emmaus on the evening of the day of the resurrection addressed to the Wayfarer who had accompanied them on their journey. Weighed down with sadness, they never imagined that this stranger was none other than their Master, risen from the dead. Yet they felt their hearts burning within them as he spoke to them and “explained” the Scriptures. The light of the Word unlocked the hardness of their hearts and “opened their eyes.” Amid the shadows of the passing day and the darkness that clouded their spirit, the Wayfarer brought a ray of light which rekindled their hope and led their hearts to yearn for the fullness of light. “Stay with us”, they pleaded. And he agreed. Soon afterwards, Jesus' face would disappear, yet the Master would “stay” with them, in the “breaking of the bread” which had opened their eyes to recognize him.
—Apostolic Letter for the year of the Eucharist, 2004, n. 1
Corpus Christi Witness Walk He walks with us & He talks with us
The image of the disciples on the way to Emmaus can serve as a fitting guide for a Year when the Church will be particularly engaged in living out the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. Amid our questions and difficulties, and even our bitter disappointments, the divine Wayfarer (Risen Lord) continues to walk at our side, opening to us the Scriptures and leading us to a deeper understanding of the mysteries of God. When we meet him fully, we will pass from the light of the Word to the light streaming from the “Bread of life”, the supreme fulfilment of his promise to “be with us always, to the end of the age” (Mt 28:20).
—Apostolic Letter for the year of the Eucharist, 2004, n. 2
Join me in adoration
I wish once more to recall this truth and to join you, my dear brothers and sisters, in adoration before this mystery: a great mystery, a mystery of mercy. What more could Jesus have done for us? Truly, in the Eucharist, he shows us a love which goes “to the end” (Jn 13:1), a love which knows no measure.
— Encyclical on Eucharistic Renewal: Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003, n. 11
“Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord!” (Deacon’s words of dismissal in Roman Missal III)
The Eucharist is a straining towards the goal, a foretaste of the fullness of joy promised by Christ (Jn 15:11); it is in some way the anticipation of heaven, the “pledge of future glory”. In the Eucharist, everything speaks of confident waiting “in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.” Those who feed on Christ in the Eucharist need not wait until the hereafter to receive eternal life: they already possess it on earth, as the first-fruits of a future fullness which will embrace man in his totality.
The [eschatological] tension kindled by the Eucharist expresses and reinforces our communion with the Church in heaven. Certainly the Christian vision leads to the expectation of “new heavens” and “a new earth” (Rev 21:1), but this increases, rather than lessens, our sense of responsibility for the world today. I wish to reaffirm this forcefully at the beginning of the new millennium, so that Christians will feel more obliged than ever not to neglect their duties as citizens in this world. Theirs is the task of contributing with the light of the Gospel to the building of a more human world, a world fully in harmony with God's plan.
Many problems darken the horizon of our time. [lists : peace, international justice, solidarity, defending human life, and the plight of the weakest, powerless, poorest with so little hope!]. It is in this world that Christian hope must shine forth! For this reason too, the Lord wished to remain with us in the Eucharist, making his presence in meal and sacrifice the promise of a humanity renewed by his love. Significantly, in their account of the Last Supper, the Synoptics recount the institution of the Eucharist, while the Gospel of John relates, as a way of bringing out its profound meaning, the account of the “washing of the feet”, in which Jesus appears as the teacher of communion and of service (Jn 13:1-20). The Apostle Paul, for his part, says that it is “unworthy” of a Christian community to partake of the Lord's Supper amid division and indifference towards the poor (1Cor 11:17ff).
Proclaiming the death of the Lord “until he comes” (1Cor 11:26) entails that all who take part in the Eucharist be committed to changing their lives and making them in a certain way completely “Eucharistic”. It is this fruit of a transfigured existence and a commitment to transforming the world in accordance with the Gospel which splendidly illustrates the [eschatological] tension inherent in the celebration of the Eucharist and in the Christian life as a whole: “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20).
—Encyclical on Eucharistic Renewal: Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003, 18-20
Eucharist & Service: Benedict XVI
There is one other point which I would like to emphasize, since it significantly affects the authenticity of our communal sharing in the Eucharist. It is the impulse which the Eucharist gives to the community for a practical commitment to building a more just and fraternal society. In the Eucharist our God has shown love in the extreme, overturning all those criteria of power which too often govern human relations and radically affirming the criterion of service: “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mc 9:35). It is not by chance that the Gospel of John contains no account of the institution of the Eucharist, but instead relates the “washing of feet” (cf. Jn 13:1-20): by bending down to wash the feet of his disciples, Jesus explains the meaning of the Eucharist unequivocally. Saint Paul vigorously reaffirms the impropriety of a Eucharistic celebration lacking charity expressed by practical sharing with the poor (cf.1Cor 11:17-22, 27-34).
—Encyclical on “The Sacrament of Charity”, 2007, n. 28
Rev. Czeslaw M. Krysa, SLD - Director
Phone: (716) 847-5545
Fax: (716) 847-2206