The Year of the Eucharist
by Monsignor Charles M. Mangan
©Catholic Online 2005
(Editor's Note: The following interview, slightly adapted here, with Monsignor Charles M. Mangan appeared in The Year of the Eucharist Newsletter (pages three and four) published in November 2004 by the Saint Martin de Porres Lay Dominican Community, 3050 Gap Knob Road, New Hope, Kentucky 40052. Copies of the Newsletter are available by calling:  325-3061.)
1. What does it mean when the Pope declares a commemorative year like the Year of the Eucharist?
At various times throughout the decades, the Vicar of Christ has declared a commemorative year that helps to focus the Church's attention on some important aspect of our Catholic Faith. For example, the Church under Pope John Paul II has previously commemorated the Marian Year, the Year of the Family and the Year of the Rosary. Now, the Holy Father has announced the "Year of the Eucharist."
He is well aware of the extraordinary power contained in the Most Holy Eucharist. The Holy Father, in harmony with the Church's Faith that comes to us from Jesus Christ through His Apostles, is convinced that the Holy Eucharist is the real, true and substantial Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine. In a word, the Holy Eucharist is Jesus!
The closer we become to the Most Blessed Sacrament, the closer we are to Jesus. Authentic Eucharistic adoration and devotion, simply put, is worship of Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Mary.
2. Why do you think that the Holy Father chose this time to institute a commemorative year? Does it have anything to do with his continuing program for the Third Millennium?
The Year of the Eucharist is intimately linked with the Holy Father's Apostolic Letter of January 6, 2001, Novo Millennio Ineunte (At the Beginning of the New Millennium) in which he laid out his plan for the Church in the new millennium.
The Holy Father explained this past June when he announced the Year of the Eucharist: "The 'Year of the Eucharist' fits into the context of the pastoral project that I pointed out in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, in which I invited the faithful to 'start afresh from Christ'" (n. 2ff).
Both that Apostolic Letter and the Year of the Eucharist really insist on the same straightforward but powerful and life-changing mission that each disciple of Jesus is to make his own: to seek the Face of Christ.
This is, in summary fashion, the Holy Father's "continuing program" for the Third Christian Millennium.
3. Is the Year related to the Eucharistic encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia?
On Holy Thursday, April 17, 2003, Pope John Paul II issued his Encyclical Letter on the Most Holy Eucharist, entitled Ecclesia de Eucharistia (The Church Comes Forth from the Eucharist). On the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, June 10, 2004, the Holy Father announced that the Church would commemorate the Year of the Eucharist beginning with the Eucharistic Congress to be held October 10-17, 2004 in Guadalajara, Mexico and concluding with the Ordinary Synod of Bishops to occur October 2-29, 2005 in Vatican City.
If we look at the foregoing as a whole, we see how Ecclesia de Eucharistia is indeed connected to the Year of the Eucharist.
Pope John Paul II is an astute observer of our age. He recognizes, to use his own words, both the "bright spots" and the "shadows" of our time. Based on his other writings, the Holy Father has no doubt that our world desperately needs the Most Holy Eucharist. If we are ever to witness to true, lasting peace, admire fully the splendid gift of human life and achieve what God has in mind for us, then we must embrace Jesus in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, which was His "last will and testament" that He left for us during the Last Supper on Holy Thursday evening.
In his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (The Rosary of the Virgin Mary) of October 16, 2002, Pope John Paul II presented two important special intentions: peace in the world, and families. The Year of the Eucharist provides another backdrop against which we recommend these two concerns to the Most Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. And, of course, we may--and should--lift up all of our pressing concerns to the Eucharistic Jesus, confident that He will grant us all that we need.
4. Are there special graces attached to the celebration of this Year?
In the Handbook of Indulgences (Enchiridion Indulgentiarum), which is the official legislation concerning the obtaining of plenary and partial indulgences, one finds that special graces are attached to the practices of visiting and adoring the Most Blessed Sacrament, Eucharistic Processions, Spiritual Communions and the thanksgiving made after receiving Holy Communion.
Consequently, we recognize that if we avail ourselves of Eucharistic adoration and reception during the Year of the Eucharist, we will obtain much spiritual fruit--countless graces that will be for the praise of God and our benefit.
5. How do we learn what the Holy Father wants us to do during this Year? Can you give us some ideas of how we can respond?
On June 13, 2004, when speaking of the Year of the Eucharist, the Holy Father said: "By contemplating with greater perseverance the face of the Incarnate Word, truly present in the Sacrament, they [the faithful] will train themselves in the art of prayer (Novo Millennio Adveniente, n. 32) and undertake that high standard of Christian living (cf. n. 31), an indispensable condition for effectively developing the new evangelization."
On September 17, 2004, he expressed his wishes for the Year this way: "I very much hope that the Year of the Eucharist . . . will constitute a providential occasion to understand more profoundly the central importance of the Eucharistic Sacrament in the life and activity of each local Church."
We may learn what the Holy Father wants us to do during this Year by pondering the "tried-and-true" ways to adore the Eucharistic Lord that the Church has suggested to her sons and daughters in the past. Acts of love and worship directed towards the Most Blessed Sacrament help us to acknowledge the beauty of the "hidden Jesus" in the Holy Eucharist while simultaneously softening and strengthening our hearts so that we may progress along the path of holiness that leads us to Heaven.
Most of all, each of us is summoned to allow the Holy Eucharist to have the fullest possible effect in his life. How? By accepting the Lord's grace to be converted. Without contrition for one's sins, a firm purpose of amendment and a renewed desire to follow the Risen Lord Jesus wherever He may lead us, the Holy Eucharist will be blocked in some manner from bringing about the fullest conformity to Christ in one's soul.
A few practical ideas of how to respond to the Lord during this Year of the Eucharist are: attendance at daily Mass, a visit to the Most Blessed Sacrament during the day, a Holy Hour in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament once a week, reciting the Holy Rosary before the tabernacle or monstrance, asking Our Blessed Mother to reveal her Divine Son to you, etc. (See "What Can I Do?" below for additional possibilities.)
There are numerous other ideas. Ask the Holy Spirit to inspire you to adore Our Eucharistic Lord as never before!
6. What is the role of Our Blessed Lady in the Year of the Eucharist?
As indicated in his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, which was issued at the beginning of the Year of the Rosary, we are to seek and gaze upon the Face of Christ with the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Holy Father declared: " . . . To look upon the Face of Christ, to recognize its mystery amid the daily events and sufferings of His human life, and then to grasp the divine splendor infinitely revealed in the Risen Lord, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father: this is the task of every follower of Christ and therefore the task of each one of us." (11)
Our Blessed Lady will disclose Our Eucharistic Lord Jesus to us. No other human person knows Him better than Mary. Christ relied on His Ever-Virgin Mother for His very human existence. There is much truth in the traditional dictum: "Flesh of Jesus, Flesh of Mary."
The Year of the Eucharist is like a precious book waiting to be opened. When it is, unexpected treasures of wisdom and knowledge--in this case, relating to God and His unparalleled goodness--will be the gift for the one who takes the golden opportunity to explore and learn.
" Come, Lord Jesus!"
What Can I Do?
1. Attend daily Mass and receive Holy Communion; make a Spiritual Communion daily.
2. Read the Holy Bible for thirty minutes in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Especially recommended are Chapter 6 from Saint John's Holy Gospel and the Last Supper accounts in the Holy Gospels of Saints Matthew, Mark and Luke.
3. Recite the Holy Rosary before the tabernacle or monstrance. Meditate especially on the Fifth Luminous Mystery, the Institution of the Most Holy Eucharist.
4. Frequent the Sacrament of Penance more often.
5. Prayerfully read the section in the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Most Holy Eucharist. Read and meditate on the Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia and on the pamphlet Rekindling Eucharist Amazement (New Hope Publications), which contains excerpts from the Encyclical.
6. Ask your parish priest to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the special intention of an increase in love and reverence for the Most Holy Eucharist.
7. Pray the Prayers of Reparation requested by Our Lady of Fatima in atonement for the sins against the Most Holy Eucharist.
8. Become a catechist for those preparing for First Holy Communion.
9. Share Jesus with the sick, the elderly, the homeless, or unwed mothers.
10. Increase the time you spend in preparing for Holy Communion and in thanksgiving after receiving.
http://www.catholic.org , VA
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan - Official, 390 66616-1125
The Year of the Eucharist; Holy Communion; Pope John Paul II
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