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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: [270] 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 ...

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