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The Catholic University In Crisis

The Catholic university is one of the most important and influential organs
in the life of the Church.  There, the Church educates her future leaders
in light of the faith and inculcates in them a sense of apostolate and,
hopefully, vocation.  This is where the Church engages the culture
intellectually.  As such, the Catholic university is hugely significant
in the movement to evangelize the culture and transform it into a culture
of life.  As the Holy Father says in Ex Corde Ecclesiae, “Catholic
universities are called to continuous renewal, both as ‘universities’ and
as ‘Catholic.’  For what is at stake is the very meaning of scientific
and technological research, of social life and of culture, but, on an even
more profound level, what is at stake is the very meaning of the human person.”

No one is more concerned with the transmission of the authentic meaning
of the human person than are those gathered at this conference.  It is,
therefore, necessary to attend to the state of the Catholic university today.
Most Catholics know that our Catholic colleges are not what they once
were, but those same Catholics are often unaware of how urgently renewal
is needed.  Without an immediate rededication to the spiritual as well
as the academic development of students, the faith of another generation
is at stake.

Catholic identity discussions today center around the mandatum for theologians
and issues of institutional fidelity to the Church.  But despite their
importance, Catholic identity and the reasons for the mandatum are awfully
abstract ideas, and sometimes the debate and confusion over these abstract
ideas obscure the urgent and pronounced problems that exist in today’s American
Catholic colleges and universities.

The bottom line is that students at Catholic colleges tend to emerge from
those colleges less devout, practicing their faith less, and believing less
that the Church teaches.  For example, support for legalized abortion
among Catholic colleges students increased shockingly from 40.4% to 58.5%.
As part of the powerful secularizing trend in Catholic higher education
since the 1960s, Catholic universities have largely descended into a spirit
of fideism.  That is, while claiming to profess the truths of the Catholic
faith, Catholic universities actively avoid “imposing” that faith on their
own institutional functions.  They have adopted a secular understanding
of the relationship between faith and reason.  To a large extent, they
have preferred a religious studies model of religious education over that
of theology.  Theology is essentially ecclesial in character and takes
the teachings of the Magisterium as its data and first principles, whereas
religious studies is an anthropological study of religion.

Other departments in the Catholic university, especially the natural sciences,
no longer, for the most part, see themselves as having any sort of relationship
to the faith.  Student life policies at many Catholic universities
are indistinguishable from those of secular universities.  Health Centers,
in order to avoid being judgmental refuse to label any reproductive choices
as immoral, including abortion and contraception.  A few colleges even
refer students to Planned Parenthood.  A vanishingly small amount of
Catholic colleges offer programs to encourage chastity among students.

In order to receive government funding, many universities have dissociated
themselves from their religious orders (a move that many legal scholars
now judge was unnecessary and imprudent).  So, most Catholic universities
are owned and governed by a lay board of governors or trustees.  So,
they lack any sort of official ties to the Church.

There have been hopeful signs, though.  University administrators,
for the most part, see that American Catholic higher education has problems
and see the strengthening of Catholic identity as the major question to be
answered in the early part of this century.  The problem is getting them
to define Catholic identity in the same way that the Catholic Church defines
Catholic identity.  So far in the debate about Catholic identity, there
have been only two viewpoints heard: the American Catholic hierarchy and
the faculties and administrations of American Catholic universities.

That discussion has gone something like this: Ex Corde Ecclesiae
is released, followed by an outcry from theologians and university administrations.
The U.S. Catholic bishops listen sympathetically to protests that Ex Corde
violates academic freedom.  Then, they release a draft of norms to implement
Ex Corde seemingly designed to placate the apoplectic Catholic
intelligentsia, but the norms are so vague about who implements Ex Corde
and how it should be implemented that they might as well not have released
anything.  Unsurprisingly, Rome shoots down the norms.  The intelligentsia
become even more disgruntled.  So, the U.S. Bishops release an implementation
document that the Holy See can finally approve.  The Catholic intelligentsia,
especially theologians, cry foul and claim the pope wants to squelch academic
freedom.  So, most bishops in the U.S. decide to placate the schismatic
theologians again and declare that the most controversial part of Ex
Corde
, the requirement that all theologians have a mandate from the
local bishop to teach Catholic theology, will be a private matter between
the bishop and the theologian.  The rest of the document has received
hardly a glance since the norms came out.

Perhaps you may have noticed what is conspicuously missing from the whole
process: any sort of serious appraisal of the interest of the Catholic student.
Both the U.S. bishops and the faculties and administrations of Catholic universities
have altogether ignored this most fundamentally important piece of the puzzle,
acting as if the university is simply a community of scholars with no end
other than their own intellectual edification.  Certainly there has
been no talk of the responsibilities that both the Bishops, as teachers of
the faith, and the universities, as Catholic educational institutions, have
to Catholic students.

If Catholic universities were merely research institutes or think tanks,
the exclusion of the student’s perspective makes sense.  They are not,
though.  Both the proximate and the final end of activity in the university
is the education of students.

The right to academic freedom is a vitally important part of university
life, as the pope declares consistently throughout Ex Corde.
But, because the education of students is the most fundamental end of university
activity, the right of academic freedom must be limited.  The right
to academic freedom may be exercised only so far as the right of the student
to be educated in the truth is respected.  In the case of the theologian,
he or she may exercise the right to academic freedom so far as the right
of the student to be educated in the true teachings of the Church is recognized.
Theology (or religious studies) departments are free to pursue almost whatever
course of study they find fitting as long as, at a Catholic university,
they honestly teach the authentic Catholic faith when they say they are
teaching Catholic theology.  If they find this distasteful, they are
then free to renounce the inaccurate adjective, “Catholic.”  They are
not free to define Catholic faith for themselves, in violation of the Bishop’s
canonical right and duty to teach the faith and the right of the student
to receive instruction in the authentic teachings of the Church at a Catholic
institution.

Of course, there are other compelling arguments against absolute academic
freedom, the best of which are outlined briefly in Ex Corde and fleshed
out significantly in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Instruction
on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian
and even further unpacked
in Cardinal Ratzinger’s essay, The Nature and Mission of Theology.

The First Buds of a New Springtime at Catholic Universities

It has been frustrating for me and the rest of the members of the advisory
board that has created the Association of Students at Catholic Colleges
that university administrations and faculties are interested in selfishly
protecting their own rights and uninterested in the rights of us faithful
Catholics who, in choosing to attend Catholic colleges, expect an honest
education in the faith, opportunities for genuinely Catholic service to those
in need, and a campus culture that supports the living out of the life of
faith.

In the last few years at Gonzaga University (Spokane, Washington), I have
worked with many of my fellow students and with an administration that is
supportive of the aims of Ex Corde to build the kind of campus culture
of life envisioned by the Holy Father.  We have accomplished an astonishing
amount in a few short years.  There has been a palpable shift in the
campus culture.  Mass attendance is way up, perhaps as much as an astonishing
250%, including and especially daily Mass, there are dozens of Bible studies,
a wide array of new faith-based clubs that have emerged and continue to
emerge, a Catholic fellowship group, weekly Eucharistic adoration, Rosary
groups, the exponential growth of Gonzaga Right to Life, a full RCIA class,
the proposed development of a St. Vincent de Paul Society conference group
on campus, and much more.

This Catholic mini-Renaissance is, I hope, a small prelude and pre-figuration
of what the pope has been calling for when he speaks of the “New Springtime.”
Being fairly isolated in Eastern Washington, we at Gonzaga, at least among
the students, thought that what we were doing at Gonzaga was pretty much
unique.  That changed when I started my job for the summer, an internship
at the Cardinal Newman Society.  As I was familiarizing myself with
the various activities of the Cardinal Newman Society, I kept coming across
small signs of similar renaissances at other Catholic universities.
The most interesting thing to me at that point was that these renaissances
were happening at fairly diverse campuses.  They were happening, for
example, at small places like Benedictine College in Kansas and St. Mary’s
College of Ave Maria Unviersity in Michigan, at medium-sized campuses like
Gonzaga in Washington state and Desales University in Pennsylvania, and at
very large campuses like Notre Dame.

Finally, I came to an article written about three years ago about the revitalization
of Catholic culture at Notre Dame, which, as I understand, is not a small
thing at all.  This article was really the first in-depth account of
a Catholic revitalization at a university I had read, and I was astonished
at how similar many of the initiatives at Notre Dame were to those we were
working on at Gonzaga.  At the same time, there were initiatives at
Notre Dame that we at Gonzaga had not thought about, but which I had a feeling
could be fairly easily tried at Gonzaga.

What struck me about most of these goings-on, though, was that they were
largely student-initiated and student-maintained, with varying degrees of
assistance or hostility from the faculty and administration.  Right
after I read the article about Notre Dame, I got up from my chair, went into
the office of my boss, Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society,
and said something like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there were some kind of
organization out there to link and support all of these grass-roots Catholics
activities at these colleges?”

At a small, fairly young organization like the Cardinal Newman Society,
it’s always pretty dangerous to air an idea about a new project.  His
answer was something along the lines of, “Yeah.  Go for it.”  Then,
reading through Ex Corde itself, I found this line that seems to precisely
address the project of the ASCC: “Various associations or movements of spiritual
and apostolic life, especially those developed specifically for students,
can be of great assistance in the developing the pastoral aspects of university
life.” (ECE 42)

The Proper Role of the Student at a Catholic University

A natural question at this point is: What is the proper role of a student
at today’s Catholic universities in light of the legion of problems I have
outlined briefly?  The student goes to school in order to be educated.
At best, the proposition that students have some sort of positive role to
play in the renewal of Catholic higher education seems tenuous.  Students
have neither the teaching authority of the episcopal office nor the authority
that comes from expertise and greater knowledge possessed by university
faculty members and administrators.

Nevertheless, the student has the right to expect certain things when attended
a university calling itself Catholic.  Among others, that student has
the right not to be deprived of the truths of the faith through distortions.
In essence, the Catholic student has the right not to be scandalized.
If such a situation exists, as it very often does, then the student has the
right to petition the Church, as all of the faithful do, and to demand correction
by the university.

Further, the Catholic student necessarily has the right to engage in Christian
apostolate.  Because all the faithful share in the priesthood of Christ
by virtue of their baptism, they also share in the teaching authority of
the Church.  As Dominican Father Michael Sweeney says in his essay reflection
on the importance of the Holy Father’s apostolic exhortation Christifideles
Laici
: “Each Christian has authority to speak for the whole Church in
presenting Christ to the world, and each Christian is called to exercise
authority for the sake and mission of the Church.”  He continues:

Christ has conferred upon you — through baptism and anointing
— the authority to teach the world about Him.  You have the authority
to speak in His name.  But you have also been given the power to do
so.  In other words, when you speak to others about Christ, the Holy
Spirit will move the hearts of others to hear you — exactly, that is, to
the degree that you really do speak with and for the Church.  The result
is that the person will respond, not simply to you, but to Christ speaking
through you.

In other words, the faithful Catholic, including students, teach with authority
when they proclaim Christ while in communion with the Church.

Christifideles Laici is a treasure trove for Catholics.
The Second Vatican Council was much less about saying Mass in the vernacular
than it was, perhaps most significantly among other things, an unprecedented
emphasis on and theological development of lay vocation.  Christifideles
Laici
is the Holy Father’s apostolic exhortation on lay vocation written
in the authentic spirit of Vatican II.  Catholic students benefit from
this wisdom as much as the rest of the faithful.

In Christifideles Laici, the Holy Father defines the vocation
of the lay faithful as being to “seek the Kingdom of God by engaging in
temporal affairs and ordering them according to the plan of God” (CL
9).  In this context, lay Catholic share in Christ’s mission as priest,
prophet and king.  Lay Catholics are to offer themselves as sacrifices
in their daily lives and work, to proclaim Christ, and to spread His kingdom
through the world and through time.  (CL 14)

Put simply, the mission of the Association of Students at Catholic Colleges
is to help Catholic students live their lay vocations at Catholic colleges
and to help make them aware of the power and authority they share in by
virtue of their baptism.  Because that power and authority come from
being in communion with the Church, we also insist that our members be entirely
faithful to the Catholic faith as it comes to us through the Magisterium
of the Church.

The Association Itself

The ASCC’s mission statement reads: “The Cardinal Newman Society’s national
association of students, the Association of Students at Catholic Colleges
(ASCC) is designed to serve students at Catholic colleges and universities
interested in preserving and building up the Catholic identity at their
schools through a variety of means.  The organization assists in fostering
collaboration among existing groups and individual students at Catholic
institutions throughout the country and acts to help students found groups
concerned with living the Catholic faith in a way that is faithful to the
Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church and guided by the Apostolic Constitution
on Higher Education, Ex Corde Ecclesiae.”

Because of the roughly fifty year process of secularization, especially
intensive in the seventies through the nineties, Catholic universities, for
the most part, fail spectacularly to live up to their institutional commitments
to the Church.  The personnel on the faculties, in the administration,
and on the boards of trustees are largely uninterested for the pope’s call
for a New Evangelization and the creation of the culture of life.
Because of the consequences of tenure among faculty members and the fact
that most universities have dissociated legally and officially from their
religious orders (including Notre Dame), there is simply no way juridically
to force universities to live out their Catholic mission faithfully.
The bishops have, thus far, shown an alarming reluctance to stand up for
the faith scandalized terribly at American Catholic universities.
Instead, the prefer to abandon their obligations to the faithful Catholics
working at those universities and attending them as students in favor of
placating schismatic theologians and university administrators who have,
thus far, shown themselves to be completely unwilling to teach the faith
faithfully.

Because they consider, strangely, the bishops and the governors of the
Church to be, somehow, an outside element in relation to the operation of
the Catholic university, which stands in opposition to the understanding
of the Church, which is that the Catholic university is “born from the heart
of the Church,” (ECE 1), most faculties and administrations have
not made the reforms called for by the Holy Father.  I suspect that
they will not reform if the only impetus to renewal comes from an element
they consider to be “outside.”

This is where the ASCC comes in.  Our strategy is to change the campus
culture first.  Out of that renewed, inspired culture, the students
themselves will demand that their university lives up to its moral and, frankly,
fiduciary responsibility to be Catholic.  So, the ASCC will launch projects
designed to strengthen the Catholic identity and the culture of life on campus.

In Ex Corde, the Holy Father lists four essential characteristics
a Catholic university must have.  These are:
“A Christian inspiration not only of individuals but of the university
community as such; A continuing reflection in the light of the Catholic
faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge, to which it seeks to
contribute by its own research; Fidelity to the Christian message as it
comes to us though the Church; An institutional commitment to the service
of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage to the transcendent
goal which gives meaning to life.” (ECE 17)  The ASCC hopes to
serve the Church by strengthening the Catholic identity of Her universities,
especially in these four critical areas.

The main foci of the ASCC are to link and support already existing student
initiatives on campus and to help students start initiatives on campus that
help to strengthen the Catholic identity of the school.  I have, therefore,
structured the organization into departments that deal with the types of
clubs found on campuses.  They are:

1.  Pro-life activities: Most Catholic colleges have a pro-life
club on campus.  There are particularly active pro-life clubs worthy
of emulation at schools like Franciscan University at Steubenville and Gonzaga
University.

2.  Prayer and Devotions: This department will promote a variety
of activites, from Eucharistic Adoration, to Rosary groups, to various initiatives
to establish and educate about Catholic devotional practices and the life
of prayer.  One of the most acute regrets of many young Catholics is
that they have not been introduced to the incredible depth and breadth of
Catholic prayer life.  This department will try to promote various
traditional Catholic prayers like the Angelus, the Divine Mercy Chaplet,
the Novena, etc.  Many of the small, consciously orthodox colleges like
Thomas Aquinas College and Ave Maria University feature an exceptional devotional
life.

3.  Evangelism, apologetics, and Catechetics:  The vast
majority of Catholics at Catholic universities around the country are either
badly catechized or not catechized at all.  There is, therefore, a
great need for this sort of activity at college.  So, this department
is concerned with students who want to learn the faith, how to defend it,
and how to transmit it.  There are excellent programs in this vein
at Marquette University and at St. Louis University.

4.  Bible Studies:  This one goes without saying.
Holy Scripture has been and will continue to be an unending source of inspiration
for Christians.  Whatever we can do to promote the study of the Bible,
we will try to do.  I am aware of good Bible Study programs at the
Unviersity of Dallas and at Notre Dame.

5.  Retreats: For many students, a huge part of their spiritual
development at college happens through the retreats program.  These
are usually, but not always, put on by the campus ministry office, led by
university staff, but crewed by students.  As the crew, students have
influence on how the retreat is organized.  Because of the disproportionately
large influence retreats have on students compared to the time spent at the
retreat, it is very important that the student have a well-formed retreat.
This department is dedicated to the dissemination of ideas about what works
and what doesn’t on retreats.  I am aware of excellent retreat programs
at Gonzaga University and at Notre Dame.

6.  Catholic Fellowship:  At many universities, the campus
culture is not conducive to a genuinely Catholic culture.  So, it is
necessary sometimes to create a group specifically for the development of
Catholic fellowship.  The model we will use for this department is
the program I helped developed at Gonzaga University, the Newman-Stein Fellowship.,
which combines elements of most of the other departments.

7.  Student Liturgies:  Frequently, students are given
a large role in the planning and the carrying out of liturgies on campus.
This department will serve those students active in student liturgies.

8.  Service:  Too often service programs at Catholic universities
are divorced form their foundation in the faith.  This department will
seek to assist and create service programs interested in doing the works
of mercy.  Benedictine College and Xavier University (Cincinnati, Ohio)
both have strong Catholic service programs.

9.  Student Publications: Anti-Catholic media bias is not confined
to major press outlets.  It has also crept into many publications at
Catholic universities, including here at Notre Dame.  This department
will work hand in hand with the Cardinal Newman Society’s Campus Media Project
to found and support alternative Catholic newspapers or official student
papers with strong commitments to the faith.  Excellent Catholic newspapers
exist at Boston College and Georgetown University.

10.  Women’s Issues: Among the strongest anti-Catholic forces
at Catholic universities are the Women’s Studies programs, which have, for
the most part, bought into a postmodern, secular view of the woman.
This department is dedicated to helping students interested in the Church’s
beautiful, authentically liberating message about what it means to be a
woman.  Along with the Men’s Issues department, one of the projects
of this department will be the promotion of the Holy Father’s theology of
the body.  This department will also actively promote vocations to
the religious life.

11.  Men’s Issues:  This department will be devoted to
assisting students and student groups interested in promoting and living what
it means to be a Catholic man.  It will assist the Women’s Issues department
as explained and promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

12.  Faculty/Administration Relations: As many students have
found, dealing with administrations and faculties, both those that are hostile
and those that are friendly, is a challenging task at best.  This department
focuses ways to work with faculties and administrations.

In addition to the departments of the student association, the ASCC also
has planned several projects to further its mission.  They are:

  • The Student Handbook, which provides an introduction
    to the Cardinal Newman Society, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, and the thought
    of John Henry Cardinal Newman.  It also provides guidance on how to establish
    a club on campus, suggestions for officers, how to write a constitution,
    and a few suggested activities.  It also includes a list of organizations
    with missions friendly to that of the student association which students
    can contact for resources.
  • The Speakers Bureau, which consists of an extensive
    list of speakers who address topics relevant to students at Catholic colleges
    along with contact info, suggested honoraria, and an outline for a speaker’s
    contract.  At present, the speakers list includes over 80 high-profile
    Catholic speakers.
  • The Annual Conference is held upon the conclusion of
    the Cardinal Newman Society’s annual conference, the ASCC’s conference will
    address issues specifically relevant for students.  It will provide a
    basis in theory, nuts and bolts training, and time for fellowship and networking.
    The first conference was held on November 10, 2002, in Washington, D.C.
  • The Web Site will be the depository for information
    accessible by the general public, including a speaker’s list, essays and
    articles dealing with Catholic higher education, links to organizations
    with missions friendly to the goals of the ASCC, and tools for networking
    among students and student organizations, including a bulletin board system,
    a weblog, and a list of various groups at Catholic colleges and universities
    working to renew Catholic culture and their activities.

The Association is still very young.  The theory is in place, but
we still have to hammer out, concretely, we will go about performing our
mission.  Someone once said that the Christian should pray as if everything
depended on God and to work as if everything depended on him or her.
That’s what we plan on doing.  So, please pray for us.  I would
be grateful if you would join me in beseeching the Blessed Mother of Our
Lord for her intercession on behalf of the ASCC.

Hail Mary . . .

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Why College Students are Rediscovering Adoration

Students at AdorationHave you heard. Here you can buy college essays. There&’s a new trend on Catholic campuses and it&’s transforming lives. Students are rediscovering Eucharistic Adoration, a timeless Church tradition.’ There&’s nothing difficult about it:

 

Just take some time for prayer in front of Jesus.’ Glorify Him.’ Beseech Him.’ Come to a deeper understanding of Him as you contemplate His tremendous sacrifice for you and all mankind.’ Love Him.

Could you not watch one hour with Me?’ That question alone justifies the time that we spend with our Lord.’ But there are other benefits:

  • Experience God&’s grace, inviting you to a genuine, personal encounter with Christ truly present in the Eucharist and helping you stay faithful to Him.
  • Find peace in the love Christ showers upon you. Take a break from your hectic schedule, put your soul at rest, and build the strength that you need to succeed in college and life.
  • Work out relationship problems and other troubles with Christ, who shares both your joys and your sorrows by His sacrifice laid out before you.
  • Root your studies, athletics, charitable and social justice work, and all endeavors in Christ by first pondering and sharing in His sacrifice.’ Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen put it best when he said, Neither theological knowledge nor social action alone is enough to keep us in love with Christ unless both are proceeded by a personal encounter with Him.
  • Experience the greatest high of your college years, one that will transform you and bring you constant joy!

What is Eucharistic Adoration?
At Eucharistic Adoration, a priest or deacon places the Eucharist in the form of an unconsumed host into a montrance, a “showcase” designed to allow the display and worship of Jesus in the Eucharist. Then, for a designated period of time, all are encouraged to visit Jesus to pray and worship. On a deeper level, Eucharistic Adoration is our response to Jesus&’ promise: And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. We worship in awe the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity whose entire person, body, blood, soul, and divinity, is REALLY PRESENT. Perpetuated through the centuries, the Church has developed the devotion of adoring Christ, exposed for all to see, in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

How do I participate?

  • Individual sessions of Adoration are typically for one hour at a time. Each one hour session is called a Holy Hour. It&’s good to get into the habit of making at least one or two Holy Hours every week. By making this commitment, we gradually begin to want to spend more time with Jesus. If you&’ve never participated in Eucharistic Adoration before, it is good to start with just an hour. This, however, does not at all mean that visits for less than one hour are not acceptable. A visit can be 5, 15, or 30 minutes, or even just 30 seconds as you make your way to class. Jesus is there, ready and waiting to fill you with His love.

How do I get started?

  • Eucharistic Adoration requires the permission and participation of the priest(s) responsible for your campus church or chapel.’ But faculty, staff, or students often organize the program, especially by scheduling at least one person to be present with the Eucharist at all times that Christ is displayed.’ Contact your campus ministry about participating in Adoration or getting it started.’ For advice and resources, contact the Association of Students at Catholic Colleges (ASCC).

 

 

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THE EUCHARIST:

TO BE LOVED, TO BE LIVED

A Pastoral Letter on the Centrality of the Eucharist

Dear Friends in Christ:

Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. (Jn 6:53-54)

These words of Jesus remind us as clearly as possible of the centrality of the Eucharist to our Catholic Faith. The Eucharist is, in the simplest yet most profound of terms, the source of life. In giving us the Eucharist at the Last Supper, Jesus gave us his very own body and blood, a priceless gift, one that enriches our spiritual lives here on earth and leads us eventually to the perfection of eternal life in heaven.

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church” teaches us again of the importance of the Eucharist in the life of the Christian:

 

The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life… For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ Himself… By the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life… In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith. (#s 1324-1327)

The teaching and lived experience of the Church have helped us to understand more fully the many dimensions of the Eucharist. It is a sacrifice—the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross; it is a sacrament—the real presence of Christ under the forms of bread and wine; it is a meal—the same memorial meal Jesus shared with his apostles at the Last Supper; it is a liturgical celebration—a public proclamation of our faith in sign and symbol.

The Eucharist is all this and much more. No single one of these dimensions is sufficient unto itself to fully reveal the meaning of the Eucharist; none of them can be overlooked in fully appreciating the magnitude of the gift. The Eucharist is an inexhaustible mystery: to be loved, to be lived.

Our shared preparation for the coming of the Third Millennium also centers on and leads us to the Eucharist. As the Holy Father writes in “Tertio Millennio Adveniente,” “Since Christ is the only way to the Father, the year 2000 will be intensely Eucharistic: in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the Savior who took flesh in Mary’s womb twenty centuries ago, continues to offer himself to humanity as the source of Divine Life.” (TMA, #55)

Certainly every active member of the Church recognizes and fully appreciates the centrality of the Eucharist in our individual Catholic lives and in the communal life of the Church. No person of authentic Catholic Faith will deny the teaching of the Church about the Eucharist.

And yet, because of human nature, we often take our gifts for granted, even the most special of our gifts— our life, our health, our family, our friends and our faith. It is even possible, because of our weakness and perhaps because the Eucharist is so readily available to us, to take the Eucharist for granted and to become less than clear about its meaning and importance.

Recent surveys throughout the nation have suggested that this is exactly what has taken place in the Church. And while the validity and meaning of the surveys can be questioned, they do raise up serious concerns and provide us with an opportunity of renewing our understanding and appreciation of the most Blessed Sacrament.

For some time now, in a number of different settings, I have been discussing questions related to the Eucharist. This topic has been presented at meetings of the Priests’ Council, the Pastoral Council and priests within their deaneries. I have discussed it formally and informally. These discussions have been extremely valuable and a number of important insights and suggestions have been shared.

It is encouraging to note, first of all, that the Church in Youngstown does truly understand the teaching of the Church about the Eucharist and appreciates it as the foundation of our spiritual life, the “sum and summary of our faith.” There is also a general consensus that most Catholics have a ready understanding of the Catholic teaching about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, that, “In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist, ‘the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, substantially contained’.” (Catechism, #1374) The conversations I have heard about the Eucharist are, therefore, most encouraging. And I might add that my own travels throughout the Diocese and my participation in the liturgies of our parishes have confirmed that estimation.

At the same time, however, most of our recent discussions have also suggested that we need constantly to affirm the teaching of the Church about the Eucharist, that it is necessary to stress again and again, the profound meaning of the Eucharist so that in fact we never lose sight of its beauty and importance. Some have suggested that, in particular, younger Catholics may not have received clear sufficient teaching about the Eucharist and that we have a special obligation to reach out to them with this message.

During our discussions I regularly asked what the Church in the Diocese of Youngstown might do to strengthen our understanding of the teaching about the Eucharist. In response, a number of very practical and specific suggestions were offered. I offer them to you here with the hope that they will provide a starting point for additional and prayerful reflection.

I. The key to maintaining our belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is the faithful and vibrant celebration of the Sunday Eucharist.

As Roger Cardinal Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles, wrote in his recent pastoral letter about Sunday Mass: “We the Church assemble on the Lord’s Day, and that assembly, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, speaks and listens to the Word of God, makes holy and is made holy by its eucharistic praying and the sacred banquet of holy communion.” (“Gather Faithfully Together: A Guide for Sunday Mass”)

Cardinal Mahony’s words echo those of “The Catechism of the Catholic Church”: “It was above all on ‘the first day of the week,’ Sunday, the day of Jesus’ resurrection, that the Christians met ‘to break bread.’ From that time on down to our day the celebration of the Eucharist has been continued so that today we encounter it everywhere in the Church with the same fundamental structure. It remains the center of the Church’s life.” (#1343)

I invite the parishes of the Youngstown Diocese to review their celebration of the Sunday Eucharist to be certain that it is both faithful and vibrant: faithful to the liturgical directives of the Church and vibrant in encouraging all of God’s People toward the “full, conscious and active participation” demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. And parishes should continue to reach out to those members who do not regularly attend Sunday Mass, inviting them to become a part of the Eucharistic community.

And in highlighting the centrality of Sunday Eucharist, we should not overlook the wonderful tradition of daily Mass, which is expected of our priests, and which many of the faithful find to be a source of great comfort and blessing in their lives.

 

II. Pastors and catechists should use special moments throughout the liturgical year to teach the people, especially young people, about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

The liturgical year of the Church provides frequent opportunities to speak about the Eucharist. Such occasions would include the celebration of First Holy Communion in the parish, the Solemnities of Corpus Christi and Christ the King, Holy Thursday, the Easter Season, and other occasions when the Scriptures lend themselves to Eucharistic themes.

We should be especially attentive to children and young people to be certain that in the formative years of their lives, they are receiving clear and direct teaching about the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist.

Our teaching about the Eucharist should be a constant, ongoing process so that the People of God are frequently reminded of the beauty of the holy mystery in their midst.

 

III. Parishes and institutions should carefully review how the Blessed Sacrament is handled.

In some of our discussions the point was made that the manner in which we handle the Eucharist is a powerful sign of what we believe about the Eucharist. It was also suggested that familiarity may breed carelessness with the Eucharist.

Questions to be considered: Do we carry, receive, distribute and reserve the Eucharist with obvious reverence? Do we remember that “The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist?” (Catechism, #1377) Are we careful and prayerful as we purify the sacred vessels after Mass, knowing that they continue to contain the Body and Blood of the Lord? Is our use of language consistent with what we believe about the Eucharist: do we speak merely about “bread and wine” or do we refer to the elements as the “Body and Blood of Christ” they have truly become?

While it is not necessary to return to the scrupulosity that may have characterized some in the past, neither should we succumb to a secular, materialistic and casual approach to the Eucharist sometimes evident today.

IV. In churches where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in a separate chapel, there should be a concerted effort to remind the faithful of that fact and to promote attention to the reserved Eucharist.

Liturgical law allows for the placement of the Blessed Sacrament in separate chapels in our churches, but the purpose of that reservation is surely not to distance the Eucharist from the people, but to encourage prayerful and distraction-free adoration of the Lord Jesus. As The Catechism reminds us, “The tabernacle is to be situated in churches in a most worthy place with the greatest honor. The dignity, placing and security of the Eucharistic tabernacle should foster adoration before the Lord truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar.” (#1 183)

Additionally, The Code of Canon Law states: “The tabernacle in which the most Holy Eucharist is reserved should be placed in a part of the Church that is prominent, conspicuous, beautifully decorated and suitable for prayer.” (Canon #938)

The place where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved should be very evident to the faithful, and “a special lamp to indicate and honor the presence of Christ is to bum at all times before the tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved.” (Canon #940)

Visits to the Blessed Sacrament, before and after Mass and on other private occasions, should be encouraged as a way of preparing for the celebration of the Eucharist and of extending its meaning.

The traditional Catholic practice of genuflecting upon entering and leaving the Church, and when passing in front of the Blessed Sacrament, should be maintained, as an external sign of our awareness of and respect for Christ’s presence.

V. Parishes should seriously consider the re-establishment of traditional practices that foster devotion to the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

As noted earlier, the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is clearly the center of the Church’s life. At the same time, the Sunday Eucharist does not exhaust the prayer of the Church related to the Eucharist. “The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with utmost care, exposing them to solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession.” (Catechism #1378)

I commend the parishes of the Diocese that have maintained the beautiful practice of “Forty Hours” or “Eucharistic Days,” and other regular periods of adoration, and I invite other parishes to initiate these celebrations as well. “In churches and oratories where the Eucharist is reserved, it is recommended that solemn exposition of the blessed sacrament for an extended period of time should take place once a year… In this way, the local community may meditate on this mystery more deeply and adore.” (“Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist,” #86) Such devotions will also provide a fitting preparation for the coming of the Third Millennium which, as our Holy Father reminds us, is meant to be “intensely Eucharistic.”

A few of the parishes of the Diocese have received permission for “Perpetual Exposition of the Eucharist.” The Church does not envision this becoming a widespread practice. However, where it has begun, Perpetual Adoration has been a source of many blessings and graces. I commend the priests, deacons, religious and faithful who devote themselves to this discipline.

Some have maintained that the promotion of the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will take away from the centrality of the Eucharistic celebration. It need not do so. In fact, proper devotion to the Blessed Sacrament will inevitably lead to a fuller participation in the Eucharistic celebration:

Outside the Eucharistic celebration, the Church is careful to venerate the Blessed Sacrament, which must be reserved… as the spiritual centre of the religious and parish community. Contemplation prolongs communion and enables one to meet Christ, true God and true man, in a lasting way… Prayer of adoration in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament unites the faithful with the paschal mystery; it enables them to share in Christ’s sacrifice, of which the Eucharist is the permanent sacrament. (John Paul II, “Letter on the 750th Anniversary of the Feast of Corpus Christi,” #3)

Others have suggested that the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament causes people to withdraw from the cares and concerns of the world. But in fact, as the Holy Father writes, “closeness to Christ in silence and contemplation does not distance us from our contemporaries, but on the contrary, makes us attentive and open to human joy and distress and broadens our heart on a global scale.” (“Corpus Christi Letter,” #S) In recent times, the beautiful example of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who every day spent considerable time with the Blessed Sacrament before serving the “poorest of the poor” helps to illustrate the Holy Father’s observation.

This dimension of the Eucharist is highlighted at the conclusion of every Mass with the words, “Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.” Indeed it is through our lives of faithful and generous service that the meaning of the Eucharist is completely revealed.

In short, the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist, the reception of Holy Communion, the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and our commitment to service need not and should not be exclusive of one another. In fact, these practices, taken together, help us to experience the fullness of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and motivate us to carry Christ to the world.

It should be obvious that this letter does not intend to present the full teaching of the Church about the Eucharist or its profound meaning in our lives. Nor does it attempt a full discussion of the themes contained herein.

The suggestions outlined in this letter were offered during the conversations about the Eucharist which took place in the Diocese of Youngstown, and I am grateful for all those who shared in these discussions with such obvious faith, insight and candor.

In my view, the most important thing is that the conversations about the Eucharist continue. And it is in our parishes that the teaching of the Church is best presented and devotion to the real presence of Christ best preserved.

Therefore I ask that in every parish of the Diocese these themes be discussed: from the pulpit and in the classrooms; in meetings of the parish councils and parish organizations. I request that this letter be the starting point of the conversation, but you may wish to provide other material as well. I call your attention especially to “The Catechism of the Catholic Church” and its treatment of the Eucharist in paragraphs 1322-1419.

I believe that the Eucharistic faith of the Church in the Diocese of Youngstown is strong and clear, and for that we give thanks to Almighty God. May our anticipation of the Third Millennium, and our observance of this Lenten and Easter Season, allow us to be a truly Eucharistic people, a people that celebrates the Mass faithfully, receives the Lord worthily, adores His presence unceasingly, and lives the Eucharist in “a life poured out in loving service of the kingdom.” (Opening Prayer for the Feast of Corpus Christi)

 

Sincerely yours in Christ, Our Lord,

Thomas J. Tobin

Bishop of Youngstown, OH

Used with Permission from the Diocese of Youngstown, OH.

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Books:

A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist, A. Vonier, Westminster, MD: Newman Press, 1946.

The Blessed Eucharist, Michael Muller, Baltimore: Kelley & Piet, 1868 (Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1973)

The Blessed Sacrament, Frederick W. Faber, Baltimore: John Murphy Co., 1855;

Catholic Faith in the Holy Eucharist, C. Lattey, ed. B. Herder Book Co., 1923.

Crossing the Tiber, Steve Ray, Ignatius Press, 1997 (whole section on the Eucharist).

The Eucharist, Aime G. Martimort, NY: Seabury, 1971;

The Eucharist in the New Testament and the Early Church, Eugene LaVeriere, Liturgical Press, 1996.

The Eucharist in the New Testament: A Symposium, J. Delorme, P. Benoit et al, London: Chapman, 1965;

Eucharist: Theology and Spirituality of the Eucharistic Prayer, Louis Bouyer, tr. C.U. Quinn (Notre Dame, IN: Fides, 1968).

The Faith of the Early Fathers (three volumes), William Jurgens, Liturgical Press, 1979.

For the Life of the World: St. Maximilian and the Eucharist, George Domanski, Peter D. Fehlner (trans.), 1993

The Hidden Manna: A Theology of the Eucharist, James T. O’Connor ($17.95 from Catholic Answers; call 1-888-291-8000)

The Holy Eucharist, C. Hedley, London: Longmans, 1907.

The Holy Eucharist by St. Alphonsus Liguori

The Holy Eucharist. Aidan Nichols, OP, Veritas Publications, 1991.

The Holy Eucharist, Bernard van Acken, Westminster, MD: Newman Press, 1958;

In Remembrance of Me, Aime G. Martimort, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1958;

Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue: IV: Eucharist and Ministry, published jointly by Representatives of the U.S.A. National Committee of the Lutheran World Federation and the Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, 1970.

Moments Divine Before the Blessed Sacrament, by Fr. Frederick A. Reuter, K.C.B.S.

The Mysteries of Christianity, Matthias Scheeben, tr. Cyril Vollert, St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1946 (orig. 1888), pp. 469-539 on Eucharist, Transubstantiation, Real Presence.

The Real Presence through the Ages, Michael Gaudoin-Parker, Alba House, 1998.

The Sacrifice of the Mystical Body, Eugene Masure, Chicago: Regnery, 1957;

This is My Body: An Evangelical Discovers the Real Presence, Mark Shea ($3.95 from Catholic Answers; call 1-888-291-8000);

What is the Eucharist?, Marie J. Nicolas, NY: Hawthorn Books, 1960;

Other Materials:

Adoration by Fr. Stan Fortuna (CD). Order online at www.francescoproductions.com.

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ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII ON THE HOLY EUCHARIST

To Our Venerable Brethren, the Patriarchs, Primates,

Archbishops, Bishops, and other Local Ordinaries,

having Peace and Communion with the Holy See.

Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

To examine into the nature and to promote the effects of those manifestations of His wondrous love which, like rays of light, stream forth from Jesus Christ-this, as befits Our sacred office, has ever been, and this, with His help, to the last breath of Our life will ever be Our earnest aim and endeavour. For, whereas Our lot has been cast in an age that is bitterly hostile to justice and truth, we have not failed, as you have been reminded by the Apostolic letter which we recently addressed to you, to do what in us lay, by Our instructions and admonitions, and by such practical measures as seemed best suited for their purpose, to dissipate the contagion of error in its many shapes, and to strengthen the sinews of the Christian life. Among these efforts of Ours there are two in particular, of recent memory, closely related to each other, from the recollection whereof we gather some fruit of comfort, the more seasonable by reason of the many causes of sorrow that weigh us down. One of these is the occasion on which We directed, as a thing most desirable, that the entire human race should be consecrated by a special act to the Sacred Heart of Christ our Redeemer; the other that on which We so urgently exhorted all those who bear the name Christian to cling loyally to Him Who, by divine ordinance, is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” not for individuals alone bur for every rightly constituted society. And now that same apostolic charity, ever watchful over the vicissitudes of the Church, moves and in a manner compels Us to add one thing more, in order to fill up the measure of what We have already conceived and carried out. This is, to commend to all Christians, more earnestly than heretofore, the all-holy Eucharist, forasmuch as it is a divine gift proceeding from the very Heart of the Redeemer, Who “with desire desireth” this singular mode of union with men, a gift most admirably adapted to be the means whereby the salutary fruits of His redemption may be distributed. Indeed We have not failed in the past, more than once, to use Our authority and to exercise Our zeal in this behalf. It gives Us much pleasure to recall to mind that We have officially approved, and enriched with canonical privileges, not a few institutions and confraternities having for their object the perpetual adoration of the Sacred Host; that We have encouraged the holding of Eucharistic Congresses, the results of which have been as profitable as the attendance at them has been numerous and distinguished; that We have designated as the heavenly patron of these and similar undertakings St. Paschal Baylon, whose devotion to the mystery of the Eucharist was so extraordinary.

2. Accordingly, Venerable Brethren, it has seemed good to Us to address you on certain points connected with this same mystery, for the defence and honour of which the solicitude of the Church has been so constantly engaged, for which Martyrs have given their lives, which has afforded to men of the highest genius a theme to be illustrated by their learning, their eloquence, their skill in all the arts; and this We will do in order to render more clearly evident and more widely known those special characteristics by virtue of which it is so singularly adapted to the needs of these our times. It was towards the close of His mortal life that Christ our Lord left this memorial of His measureless love for men, this powerful means of support “for the life of the world” (St. John vi., 52). And precisely for this reason, We, being so soon to depart from this life, can wish for nothing better than that it may be granted to us to stir up and foster in the hearts of all men the dispositions of mindful gratitude and due devotion towards this wondrous Sacrament, wherein most especially lie, as We hold, the hope and the efficient cause of salvation and of that peace which all men so anxiously seek.

3. Some there are, no doubt, who will express their surprise that for the manifold troubles and grievous afflictions by which our age is harassed We should have determined to seek for remedies and redress in this quarter rather than elsewhere, and in some, perchance, Our words will excite a certain peevish disgust. But this is only the natural result of pride; for when this vice has taken possession of the heart, it is inevitable that Christian faith, which demands a most willing docility, should languish, and that a murky darkness in regard of divine truths should close in upon the mind; so that in the case of many these words should be made good: “Whatever things they know not, they blaspheme” (St. Jude, 10). We, however, so far from being hereby turned aside from the design which We have taken in hand, are on the contrary determined all the more zealously and diligently to hold up the light for the guidance of the well disposed, and, with the help of the united prayers of the faithful, earnestly to implore forgiveness for those who speak evil of holy things.

The Source of Life

4. To know with an entire faith what is the excellence of the Most Holy Eucharist is in truth to know what that work is which, in the might of His mercy, God, made man, carried out on behalf of the human race. For as a right faith teaches us to acknowledge and to worship Christ as the sovereign cause of our salvation, since He by His wisdom, His laws, His ordinances, His example, and by the shedding of His blood, made all things new; so the same faith likewise teaches us to acknowledge Him and to worship Him as really present in the Eucharist, as verily abiding through all time in the midst of men, in order that as their Master, their Good Shepherd, their most acceptable Advocate with the Father, He may impart to them of His own inexhaustible abundance the benefits of that redemption which He has accomplished. Now if any one will seriously consider the benefits which flow from the Eucharist he will understand that conspicuous and chief among them all is that in which the rest, without exception, are included; in a word it is for men the source of life, of that life which best deserves the name. “The bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world” (St. John vi., 52). In more than one way, as We have elsewhere declared, is Christ “the life.” He Himself declared that the reason of His advent among men was this, that He might bring them the assured fulness of a more than merely human life. “I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly” (St. John x., 10). Everyone is aware that no sooner had “the goodness and kindness of God our Saviour appeared” (Tit. iii., 4), than there at once burst forth a certain creative fore;. which issued in a new order of things and pused through all the veins of society, civil and domestic. Hence arose new relations between man and man; new rights and new duties, public and private; henceforth a new direction was given to government, to education, to the arts; and most important of all, man’s thoughts and energies were turned towards religious truth and the pursuit of holiness. Thus was life communicated to man, a life truly heavenly and divine. And thus we are to account for those expressions which so often occur in Holy Writ, “the tree of life,” “the word of life,” “the book of life,” “the crown of life,” and particularly “the bread of life.”

5. But now, since this life of which We are speaking bears a definite resemblance to the natural life of man, as the one draws its nourishment and strength from food, so also the other must have its own food whereby it may be sustained and augmented. And here it will be opportune to recall to mind on what occasion and in what manner Christ moved and prepared the hearts of men for the worthy and due reception of the living bread which He was about to give them. No sooner had the rumour spread of the miracle which He had wrought on the shores of the lake of Tiberias, when with the multiplied loaves He fed the multitude, than many forthwith flocked to Him in the hope that they, too, perchance, might be the recipients of like favour. And, just as He had taken occasion from the water which she had drawn from the well to stir up in the Samaritan woman a thirst for that “water which springeth up unto life everlasting” (St. John iv., 14), so now Jesus availed Himself of this opportunity to excite in the minds of the multitude a keen hunger for the bread “which endureth unto life everlasting” (St. John vi., 27). Or, as He was careful to explain to them, was the bread which He promised the same as that heavenly manna which had been given to their fathers during their wanderings in the desert, or again the same as that which, to their amazement, they had recently received from Him; but He was Himself that bread: “I,” said He, “am the bread of life” (St. John vi., 48). And He urges this still further upon them all both by invitation and by precept: “if any man shall eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world” (St. John vi., 52). And in these other words He brings home to them the gravity of the precept: “Amen, Amen, I say to you, unless you shall eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you” (St. John vi., 54). Away then with the widespread but most mischievous error of those who give it as their opinion that the reception of the Eucharist is in a manner reserved for those narrow-minded persons (as they are deemed) who rid themselves of the cares of the world in order to find rest in some kind of professedly religious life. For this gift, than which nothing can be more excellent or more conducive to salvation, is offered to all those, whatever their office or dignity may be, who wish-as every one ought to wish-to foster in themselves that life of divine grace whose goal is the attainment of the life of blessedness with God.

6. Indeed it is greatly to be desired that those men would rightly esteem and would make due provision for life everlasting, whose industry or talents or rank have put it in their power to shape the course of human events. But alas! we see with sorrow that such men too often proudly flatter themselves that they have conferred upon this world as it were a fresh lease of life and prosperity, inasmuch as by their own energetic action they are urging it on to the race for wealth, to a struggle for the possession of commodities which minister to the love of comfort and display. And yet, whithersoever we turn, we see that human society, if it be estranged from God, instead of enjoying that peace in its possessions for which it had sought, is shaken and tossed like one who is in the agony and heat of fever; for while it anxiously strives for prosperity, and trusts to it alone, it is pursuing an object that ever escapes it, clinging to one that ever eludes the grasp. For as men and states alike necessarily have their being from God, so they can do nothing good except in God through Jesus Christ, through whom every best and choicest gift has ever proceeded and proceeds. But the source and chief of all these gifts is the venerable Eucharist, which not only nourishes and sustains that life the desire whereof demands our most strenuous efforts, but also enhances beyond measure that dignity of man of which in these days we hear so much. For what can be more honourable or a more worthy object of desire than to be made, as far as possible, sharers and partakers in the divine nature? Now this is precisely what Christ does for us in the Eucharist, wherein, after having raised man by the operation of His grace to a supernatural state, he yet more closely associates and unites him with Himself. For there is this difference between the food of the body and that of the soul, that whereas the former is changed into our substance, the latter changes us into its own; so that St. Augustine makes Christ Himself say: “You shall not change Me into yourself as you do the food of your body, but you shall be changed into Me” (confessions 1. vii., c. x.).

The Mystery of Faith

7. Moreover, in this most admirable Sacrament, which is the chief means whereby men are engrafted on the divine nature, men also find the most efficacious help towards progress in every kind of virtue. And first of all in faith. In all ages faith has been attacked; for although it elevates the human mind by bestowing on it the knowledge of the highest truths, yet because, while it makes known the existence of divine mysteries, it yet leaves in obscurity the mode of their being, it is therefore thought to degrade the intellect. But whereas in past times particular articles of faith have been made by turns the object of attack; the seat of war has since been enlarged and extended, until it has come to this, that men deny altogether that there is anything above and beyond nature. Now nothing can be better adapted to promote a renewal of the strength and fervour of faith in the human mind than the mystery of the Eucharist, the “mystery of faith,” as it has been most appropriately called. For in this one mystery the entire supernatural order, with all its wealth and variety of wonders, is in a manner summed up and contained: “He hath made a remembrance of His wonderful works, a merciful and gracious Lord; He bath given food to them that fear Him” (Psalm cx, 4-5). For whereas God has subordinated the whole supernatural order to the Incarnation of His Word, in virtue whereof salvation has been restored to the human race, according to those words of the Apostle; “He bath purposed…to re-establish all things in Christ, that are in heaven and on earth, in Him” (Eph. i., 9-10), the Eucharist, according to the testimony of the holy Fathers, should be regarded as in a manner a continuation and extension of the Incarnation. For in and by it the substance of the incarnate Word is united with individual men, and the supreme Sacrifice offered on Calvary is in a wondrous manner renewed, as was signified beforehand by Malachy in the words: “In every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to My name a pure oblation” (Mal. i., II). And this miracle, itself the very greatest of its kind, is accompanied by innumerable other miracles; for here all the laws of nature are suspended; the whole substance of the bread and wine are changed into the Body and the Blood; the species of bread and wine are sustained by the divine power without the support of any underlying substance; the Body of Christ is present in many places at the same time, that is to say, wherever the Sacrament is consecrated. And in order that human reason may the more willingly pay its homage to this great mystery, there have not been wanting, as an aid to faith, certain prodigies wrought in His honour, both in ancient times and in our own, of which in more than one place there exist public and notable records and memorials. It is plain that by this Sacrament faith is fed, in it the mind finds its nourishment, the objections of rationalists are brought to naught, and abundant light is thrown on the supernatural order.

8. But that decay of faith in divine things of which We have spoken is the effect not only of pride, but also of moral corruption. For if it is true that a strict morality improves the quickness of man’s intellectual powers, and if on the other hand, as the maxims of pagan philosophy and the admonitions of divine wisdom combine to teach us, the keenness of the mind is blunted by bodily pleasures, how much more, in the region of revealed truths, do these same pleasures obscure the light of faith, or even, by the just judgment of God, entirely extinguish it. For these pleasures at the present day an insatiable appetite rages, infecting all classes as with an infectious disease, even from tender years. Yet even for so terrible an evil there is a remedy close at hand in the divine Eucharist. For in the first place it puts a check on lust by increasing charity, according to the words of St. Augustine, who says, speaking of charity, “As it grows, lust diminishes; when it reaches perfection, lust is no more” (De diversis quaestionibus, lxxxiii., q. 36). Moreover the most chaste flesh of Jesus keeps down the rebellion of our flesh, as St. Cyril of Alexandria taught, “For Christ abiding in us lulls to sleep the law of the flesh which rages in our members” (Lib. iv., c. ii., in Joan., vi., 57). Then too the special and most pleasant fruit of the Eucharist is that which is signified in the words of the prophet: “What is the good thing of Him,” that is, of Christ, “and what is His beautiful thing, but the corn of the elect and the wine that engendereth virgins” (Zach. ix., 17), producing, in other words, that flower and fruitage of a strong and constant purpose of virginity which, even in an age enervated by luxury, is daily multiplied and spread abroad in the Catholic Church, with those advantages to religion and to human society, wherever it is found, which are plain to see.

9. To this it must be added that by this same Sacrament our hope of everlasting blessedness, based on our trust in the divine assistance, is wonderfully strengthened. For the edge of that longing for happiness which is so deeply rooted in the hearts of all men from their birth is whetted even more and more by the experience of the deceitfulness of earthly goods, by the unjust violence of wicked men, and by all those other afflictions to which mind and body are subject. Now the venerable Sacrament of the Eucharist is both the source and the pledge of blessedness and of glory, and this, not for the soul alone, but for the body also. For it enriches the soul with an abundance of heavenly blessings, and fills it with a sweet joy which far surpasses man’s hope and expectations; it sustains him in adversity, strengthens him in the spiritual combat, preserves him for life everlasting, and as a special provision for the journey accompanies him thither. And in the frail and perishable body that divine Host, which is the immortal Body of Christ, implants a principle of resurrection, a seed of immortality, which one day must germinate. That to this source man’s soul and body will be indebted for both these boons has been the constant teaching of the Church, which has dutifully reaffirmed the affirmation of Christ: “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood bath everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (St. John vi., 55).

10. In connection with this matter it is of importance to consider that in the Eucharist, seeing that it was instituted by Christ as “a perpetual memorial of His Passion” (Opusc. Ivii. Offic. de festo Corporis Christi), is proclaimed to the Christian the necessity of a salutary self-chastisement. For Jesus said to those first priests of His: “Do this in memory of Me” (Luke xxii, 18); that is to say, do this for the commemoration of My pains, My sorrows, My grievous afflictions, My death upon the Cross. Wherefore this Sacrament is at the same time a Sacrifice, seasonable throughout the entire period of our penance; and it is likewise a standing exhortation to all manner of toil, and a solemn and severe rebuke to those carnal pleasures which some are not ashamed so highly to praise and extol: “As often as ye shall eat this bread, and drink this chalice, ye shall announce the death of the Lord, until He come” (1 Cor. xi., 26).

The Bond of Charity

11. Furthermore, if anyone will diligently examine into the causes of the evils of our day, he will find that they arise from this, that as charity towards God has grown cold, the mutual charity of men among themselves has likewise cooled. Men have forgotten that they are children of God and brethren in Jesus Christ; they care for nothing except their own individual interests; the interests and the rights of others they not only make light of, but often attack and invade. Hence frequent disturbances and strifes between class and class: arrogance, oppression, fraud on the part of the more powerful: misery, envy, and turbulence among the poor. These are evils for which it is in vain to seek a remedy in legislation, in threats of penalties to be incurred, or in any other device of merely human prudence. Our chief care and endeavour ought to be, according to the admonitions which We have more than once given at considerable length, to secure the union of classes in a mutual interchange of dutiful services, a union which, having its origin in God, shall issue in deeds that reflect the true spirit of Jesus Christ and a genuine charity. This charity Christ brought into the world, with it He would have all hearts on fire. For it alone is capable of affording to soul and body alike, even in this life, a foretaste of blessedness; since it restrains man’s inordinate self-love, and puts a check on avarice, which “is the root of all evil” (1 Tim. vi., 10). And whereas it is right to uphold all the claims of justice as between the various classes of society, nevertheless it is only with the efficacious aid of charity, which tempers justice, that the “equality” which St. Paul commended (2 Cor. viii., 14), and which is so salutary for human society, can be established and maintained. This then is what Christ intended when he instituted this Venerable Sacrament, namely, by awakening charity towards God to promote mutual charity among men. For the latter, as is plain, is by its very nature rooted in the former, and springs from it by a kind of spontaneous growth. Nor is it possible that there should be any lack of charity among men, or rather it must needs be enkindled and flourish, if men would but ponder well the charity which Christ has shown in this Sacrament. For in it He has not only given a splendid manifestation of His power and wisdom, but “has in a manner poured out the riches of His divine love towards men” (Conc. Trid., Sess. XIIL, De Euch. c. ii.). Having before our eyes this noble example set us by Christ, Who bestows on us all that He has assuredly we ought to love and help one another to the utmost, being daily more closely united by the strong bond of brotherhood. Add to this that the outward and visible elements of this Sacrament supply a singularly appropriate stimulus to union. On this topic St. Cyprian writes: “In a word the Lord’s sacrifice symbolises the oneness of heart, guaranteed by a persevering and inviolable charity, which should prevail among Christians. For when our Lord calls His Body bread, a substance which is kneaded together out of many grains, He indicates that we His people, whom He sustains, are bound together in close union; and when He speaks of His Blood as wine, in which the juice pressed from many clusters of grapes is mingled in one fluid, He likewise indicates that we His flock are by the commingling of a multitude of persons made one” (Ep. 96 ad Magnum n. 5 (a1.6)). In like manner the angelic Doctor, adopting the sentiments of St. Augustine (Tract. xxxvi., in Joan. nn. 13, 17), writes: “Our Lord has bequeathed to us His Body and Blood under the form of substances in which a multitude of things have been reduced to unity, for one of them, namely bread, consisting as it does of many grains is yet one, and the other, that is to say wine, has its unity of being from the confluent juice of many grapes; and therefore St. Augustine elsewhere says: `O Sacrament of mercy, O sign of unity, O bond of charity!’ ” (Summ. Theol. P. IIL, q. lxxix., a.l.). All of which is confirmed by the declaration of the Council of Trent that Christ left the Eucharist in His Church “as a symbol of that unity and charity whereby He would have all Christians mutually joined and united. . . a symbol of that one body of which He is Himself the head, and to which He would have us, as members attached by the closest bonds of faith, hope, and charity” (Conc. Trid., Sess. XIIL, De Euchar., c. ii.). The same idea had been expressed by St. Paul when he wrote: “For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all we who partake of the one bread” (I Cor. x., 17). Very beautiful and joyful too is the spectacle of Christian brotherhood and social equality which is afforded when men of all conditions, gentle and simple, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, gather round the holy altar, all sharing alike in this heavenly banquet. And if in the records of the Church it is deservedly reckoned to the special credit of its first ages that “the multitude of the believers had but one heart and one soul” (Acts iv., 32), there can be no shadow of doubt that this immense blessing was due to their frequent meetings at the Divine table; for we find it recorded of them: “They were persevering in the doctrine of the Apostles and in the communion of the breaking of bread” (Acts ii., 42).

12. Besides all this, the grace of mutual charity among the living, which derives from the Sacrament of the Eucharist so great an increase of strength, is further extended by virtue of the Sacrifice to all those who are numbered in the Communion of Saints. For the Communion of Saints, as everyone knows, is nothing but the mutual communication of help, expiation, prayers, blessings, among all the faithful, who, whether they have already attained to the heavenly country, or are detained in the purgatorial fire, or are yet exiles here on earth, all enjoy the common franchise of that city whereof Christ is the head, and the constitution is charity. For faith teaches us, that although the venerable Sacrifice may be lawfully offered to God alone, yet it may be celebrated in honour of the saints reigning in heaven with God Who has crowned them, in order that we may gain for ourselves their patronage. And it may also be offered-in accordance with an apostolic tradition-for the purpose of expiating the sins of those of the brethren who, having died in the Lord, have not yet fully paid the penalty of their transgressions.

13. That genuine charity, therefore, which knows how to do and to suffer all things for the salvation and the benefit of all, leaps forth with all the heat and energy of a flame from that most holy Eucharist in which Christ Himself is present and lives, in which He indulges to the utmost. His love towards us, and under the impulse of that divine love ceaselessly renews His Sacrifice. And thus it is not difficult to see whence the arduous labours of apostolic men, and whence those innumerable designs of every kind for the welfare of the human race which have been set on foot among Catholics, derive their origin, their strength, their permanence, their success.

14. These few words on a subject so vast will, we doubt not, prove most helpful to the Christian flock, if you in your zeal, Venerable Brethren, will cause them to be expounded and enforced as time and occasion may serve. But indeed a Sacrament so great and so rich in all manner of blessings can never be extolled as it deserves by human eloquence, nor adequately venerated by the worship of man. This Sacrament, whether as the theme of devout meditation, or as the object of public adoration, or best of all as a food to be received in the utmost purity of conscience, is to be regarded as the centre towards which the spiritual life of a Christian in all its ambit gravitates; for all other forms of devotion, whatsoever they may be, lead up to it, and in it find their point of rest. In this mystery more than in any other that gracious invitation and still more gracious promise of Christ is realised and finds its daily fulfilment: “Come to me all ye that labour and are heavily burdened, and I will refresh you” (St. Matt. xi., 28).

15. In a word this Sacrament is, as it were, the very soul of the Church; and to it the grace of the priesthood is ordered and directed in all its fulness and in each of its successive grades. From the same source the Church draws and has all her strength, all her glory, her every supernatural endowment and adornment, every good thing that is here; wherefore she makes it the chiefest of all her cares to prepare the hearts of the faithful for an intimate union with Christ through the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, and to draw them thereto. And to this end she strives to promote the veneration of the august mystery by surrounding it with holy ceremonies. To this ceaseless and ever watchful care of the Church or Mother, our attention is drawn by that exhortation which was uttered by the holy Council of Trent, and which is so much to the purpose that for the benefit of the Christian people We here reproduce it in its entirety. “The Holy Synod admonishes, exhorts, asks and implores by the tender mercy of our God, that all and each of those who bear the name of Christian should at last unite and find peace in this sign of unity, in this bond of charity, in this symbol of concord; and that, mindful of the great majesty and singular love of Jesus Christ our Lord, Who gave His precious life as the price of our salvation, and His flesh for our food, they should believe and revere these sacred mysteries of His Body and Blood with such constancy of unwavering faith, with such interior devotion and worshipful piety, that they may be in condition to receive frequently that supersubstantial bread, and that it may be to them the life of their souls and keep their mind in soundness of faith; so that strengthened with its strength they may be enabled after the journey of this sorrowful pilgrimage to reach the heavenly country, there to see and feed upon that bread of angels which here they eat under the sacramental veils” (Conc. Trid., Sess. XXII, c. vi).

16. History bears witness that the virtues of the Christian life have flourished best wherever and whenever the frequent reception of the Eucharist has most prevailed. And on the other hand it is no less certain that in days when men have ceased to care for this heavenly bread, and have lost their appetite for it, the practice of Christian religion has gradually lost its force and vigour. And indeed it was a needful measure of precaution against a complete falling away that Innocent III, in the Council of the Lateran, most strictly enjoined that no Christian should abstain from receiving the communion of the Lord’s Body at least in the solemn paschal season. But it is clear that this precept was imposed with regret, and only as a last resource; for it has always been the desire of the Church that at every Mass some of the faithful should be present and should communicate. “The holy Synod would wish that in every celebration of the Mass some of the faithful should take part, not only by devoutly assisting thereat, but also by the sacramental reception of the Eucharist, in order that they might more abundantly partake of the fruits of this holy Sacrifice” (conc. Trid., Sess. XIII. de Euchar. c. viii).

The Sacrifice of the Mass

17. Most abundant, assuredly, are the salutary benefits which are stored up in this most venerable mystery, regarded as a Sacrifice; a Sacrifice which the Church is accordingly wont to offer daily “for the salvation of the whole world.” And it is fitting, indeed in this age it is specially important, that by means of the united efforts of the devout, the outward honour and the inward reverence paid to this Sacrifice should be alike increased. Accordingly it is our wish that its manifold excellence may be both more widely known and more attentively considered. There are certain general principles the truth of which can be plainly perceived by the light of reason; for instance, that the dominion of God our Creator and Preserver over all men, whether in their private or in their public life, is supreme and absolute; that our whole being and all that we possess, whether individually or as members of society, comes from the divine bounty; that we on our part are bound to show to God, as our Lord, the highest reverence, and, as He is our greatest benefactor, the deepest gratitude. But how many are there who at the present day acknowledge and discharge these duties with full and exact observance? In no age has the spirit of contumacy and an attitude of defiance towards God been more prevalent than in our own; an age in which that unholy cry of the enemies of Christ: “We will not have this man to rule over us” (Luke xix., 14), makes itself more and more loudly heard, together with the utterance of that wicked purpose: “let us make away with Him” (]er. xi., II); nor is there any motive by which many are hurried on with more passionate fury, than the desire utterly to banish God not only from the civil government, but from every form of human society. And although men do not everywhere proceed to this extremity of criminal madness, it is a lamentable thing that so many are sunk in oblivion of the divine Majesty and of His favours, and in particular of the salvation wrought for us by Christ. Now a remedy must be found for this wickedness on the one hand, and this sloth on the other, in a general increase among the faithful of fervent devotion towards the Eucharistic Sacrifice, than which nothing can give greater honour, nothing be more pleasing, to God. For it is a divine Victim which is here immolated; and accordingly through this Victim we offer to the most blessed Trinity all that honour which the infinite dignity of the Godhead demands; infinite in value and infinitely acceptable is the gift which we present to the Father in His only-begotten son; so that for His benefits to us we not only signify our gratitude, but actually make an adequate return.

18. Moreover there is another twofold fruit which we may and must derive from this great Sacrifice. The heart is saddened when it considers what a flood of wickedness, the result-as We have said-of forgetfulness and contempt of the divine Majesty, has inundated the world. It is not too much to say that a great part of the human race seems to be calling down upon itself the anger of heaven; though indeed the crop of evils which has grown up here on earth is already ripening to a just judgment. Here then is a motive whereby the faithful may be stirred to a devout and earnest endeavour to appease God the avenger of sin, and to win from Him the help which is so needful in these calamitous times. And they should see that such blessings are to be sought principally by means of this Sacrifice. For it is only in virtue of the death which Christ suffered that men can satisfy, and that most abundantly, the demands of God’s justice, and can obtain the plenteous gifts of His clemency. And Christ has willed that the whole virtue of His death, alike for expiation and impetration, should abide in the Eucharist, which is no mere empty commemoration thereof, but a true and wonderful though bloodless and mystical renewal of it.

19. To conclude, we gladly acknowledge that it has been a cause of no small joy to us that during these last years a renewal of love and devotion towards the Sacrament of the Eucharist has, as it seems, begun to show itself in the hearts of the faithful; a fact which encourages us to hope for better times and a more favourable state of affairs. Many and varied, as we said at the commencement, are the expedients which an inventive piety has devised; and worthy of special mention are the confraternities instituted either with the object of carrying out the Eucharistic ritual with greater splendour, or for the perpetual adoration of the venerable Sacrament by day and night, or for the purpose of making reparation for the blasphemies and insults of which it is the object. But neither We nor you, Venerable Brethren, can allow ourselves to rest satisfied with what has hitherto been done; for there remain many things which must be further developed or begun anew, to the end that this most divine of gifts this greatest of mysteries, may be better understood and more worthily honoured and revered, even by those who already take their part in the religious services of the Church. Wherefore, works of this kind which have been already set on foot must be ever more zealously promoted; old undertakings must be revived wherever perchance they may have fallen into decay; for instance, Confraternities of the holy Eucharist, intercessory prayers before the blessed Sacrament exposed for the veneration of the faithful, solemn processions, devout visits to God’s tabernacle, and other holy and salutary practices of some kind; nothing must be omitted which a prudent piety may suggest as suitable. But the chief aim of our efforts must be that the frequent reception of the Eucharist may be everywhere revived among Catholic peoples. For this is the lesson which is taught us by the example, already referred to, of the primitive Church, by the decrees of Councils, by the authority of the Fathers and of the holy men in all ages. For the soul, like the body, needs frequent nourishment; and the holy Eucharist provides that food which is best adapted to the support of its life. Accordingly all hostile prejudices, those vain fears to which so many yield, and their specious excuses from abstaining from the Eucharist, must be resolutely put aside; for there is question here of a gift than which none other can be more serviceable to the faithful people, either for the redeeming of time from the tyranny of anxious cares concerning perishable things, or for the renewal of the Christian spirit and perseverance therein. To this end the exhortations and example of all those who occupy a prominent position will powerfully contribute, but most especially the resourceful and diligent zeal of the clergy. For priests, to whom Christ our Redeemer entrusted the office of consecrating and dispensing the mystery of His Body and Blood, can assuredly make no better return for the honour which has been conferred upon them, than by promoting with all their might the glory of his Eucharist, and by inviting and drawing the hearts of men to the health-giving springs of this great Sacrament andSacrifice, seconding hereby the longings of His most Sacred Heart.

20. May God grant that thus, in accordance with Our earnest desire, the excellent fruits of the Eucharist may daily manifest themselves in greater abundance, to the happy increase of faith, hope, and charity, and of ail Christian virtues; and may this turn to the recovery and advantage of the whole body politic; and may the wisdom of God’s most provident charity, Who instituted this mystery for all time “for the life of the world,”shine forth with an ever brighter sight.

21. Encouraged by such hopes as these, Venerable Brethren, We, as a presage of the divine liberality and as a pledge of our own charity, most lovingly bestow on each of you, and on the clergy and flock committed to the care of each, our Apostolic Benediction.

Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s on the 28th day of May, being the Vigil of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, in the year 1902, of Our Pontificate the five and twentieth.

LEO XIII

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A Message from the President

I am writing to announce the formation of the Association of Students at Catholic Colleges.  I hope that you will consider joining the ASCC.  As a member, you will have the option to receive the Cardinal Newman Society’s Higher Education Alert and periodic updates from the ASCC.

The Cardinal Newman Society sponsors the national Association of Students at Catholic Colleges (ASCC) to foster networking and fellowship among students engaged in Church renewal and strengthening the religious identity of Catholic colleges and universities in the United States.

At many Catholic colleges and universities, students are actively engaged in promising efforts to strengthen the religious identity of their institutions and develop a campus life conducive to Christian living.  The Cardinal Newman Society has identified dozens of Catholic campus groups across the country with widely varying approaches: Bible studies, Eucharistic adoration societies, campus newspapers, and community service groups, among others.  The Cardinal Newman Society finds in these groups great promise for the renewal of Catholic campus life.

However, these groups suffer similar problems.  These groups often enjoy vibrant leadership one year but lack such leadership the next.  Student leaders often have little experience or training in club leadership, organizing events, and recruiting members.  Student leaders also lack communication and fellowship with other faithful Catholic students on their campuses and at other institutions.

I believe that a national association is needed to foster communication and fellowship among Catholic student leaders, provide training and resources for successful leadership, and assist students nationwide to replicate successful models of student activity on their own campuses.

I hope you will join us in our efforts to renew Catholic campus life, one student at a time.

God bless!

Thomas P. Harmon
President, Association of Students at Catholic Colleges
Gonzaga University ’03

Mission Statement

The Cardinal Newman Society’s national association of students, the Association of Students at Catholic Colleges (ASCC) is designed to serve students at Catholic colleges and universities interested in preserving and building up the Catholic identity at their schools through a
variety of means.

The organization assists in fostering collaboration among existing groups and individual students at Catholic institutions throughout the country and acts to help students found groups concerned with living the Catholic faith in a way that is faithful to the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church and guided by the Apostolic Constitution on Higher Education, Ex Corde Ecclesiae.

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ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PAUL VI

ON THE HOLY EUCHARIST

SEPTEMBER 3, 1965

To His Venerable Brothers the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops and other Local Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See, and to the Clergy and Faithful of the Entire World.

Venerable Brothers and Dear Sons, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

The Mystery of Faith, that is, the ineffable gift of the Eucharist that the Catholic Church received from Christ, her Spouse, as a pledge of His immense love, is something that she has always devoutly guarded as her most precious treasure, and during the Second Vatican Council she professed her faith and veneration in a new and solemn declaration. In dealing with the restoration of the sacred liturgy, the Fathers of the Council were led by their pastoral concern for the whole Church to regard it as a matter of highest importance to urge the faithful to participate actively, with undivided faith and the utmost devotion, in the celebration of this Most Holy Mystery, to offer it to God along with the priest as a sacrifice for their own salvation and that of the whole world, and to use it as spiritual nourishment.

2. For if the sacred liturgy holds first place in the life of the Church, then the Eucharistic Mystery stands at the heart and center of the liturgy, since it is the font of life that cleanses us and strengthens us to live not for ourselves but for God and to be united to each other by the closest ties of love.

Reaffirmation by Vatican II

3. In order to make the indissoluble bond that exists between faith and devotion perfectly clear, the Fathers of the Council decided, in the course of reaffirming the doctrine that the Church has always held and taught and that was solemnly defined by the Council of Trent, to offer the following compendium of truths as an introduction to their treatment of the Most Holy Mystery of the Eucharist:

4. “At the Last Supper, on the night when He was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of His Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the Sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until He should come again, and so to entrust to His beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of His Death and Resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is eaten, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.”

Both Sacrifice and Sacrament Highlighted

5. These words highlight both the sacrifice, which pertains to the essence of the Mass that is celebrated daily, and the sacrament in which those who participate in it through holy Communion eat the flesh of Christ and drink the blood of Christ, and thus receive grace, which is the beginning of eternal life, and the “medicine of immortality” according to Our Lord’s words: “The man who eats my flesh and drinks my blood enjoys eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (2)

Restoration of Liturgy Linked to Eucharistic Devotion

6. And so We earnestly hope that the restoration of the sacred liturgy will produce abundant fruits in the form of Eucharistic devotion, so that the Holy Church may, with this salvific sign of piety raised on high, make daily progress toward the full achievement of unity, (3) inviting all Christians to a unity of faith and love and drawing them to it gently, through the action of divine grace.

7. We seem to have a preview of these fruits and a first taste of them in the outpouring of joy and eagerness that has marked the reception the sons of the Catholic Church have accorded to the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and to the restoration of the liturgy; and we find these fruits too in the large number of carefully-edited publications that make it their purpose to go into the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist more profoundly and to come to a more fruitful understanding of it, especially in terms of its relationship to the mystery of the Church.

8. All of this brings Us deep consolation and joy. And it gives Us great pleasure to inform you of this, Venerable Brothers, so that you may join with Us in giving thanks to God, the bestower of all gifts, who rules the Church and makes her grow in virtue through His Spirit.

REASONS FOR PASTORAL CONCERN AND ANXIETY

9. There are, however, Venerable Brothers, a number of reasons for serious pastoral concern and anxiety in this very matter that we are now discussing, and because of Our consciousness of Our Apostolic office, We cannot remain silent about them.

False and Disturbing Opinions

10. For We can see that some of those who are dealing with this Most Holy Mystery in speech and writing are disseminating opinions on Masses celebrated in private or on the dogma of transubstantiation that are disturbing the minds of the faithful and causing them no small measure of confusion about matters of faith, just as if it were all right for someone to take doctrine that has already been defined by the Church and consign it to oblivion or else interpret it in such a way as to weaken the genuine meaning of the words or the recognized force of the concepts involved.

11. To give an example of what We are talking about, it is not permissible to extol the so-called “community” Mass in such a way as to detract from Masses that are celebrated privately; or to concentrate on the notion of sacramental sign as if the symbolism—which no one will deny is certainly present in the Most Blessed Eucharist—fully expressed and exhausted the manner of Christ’s presence in this Sacrament; or to discuss the mystery of transubstantiation without mentioning what the Council of Trent had to say about the marvelous conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body and the whole substance of the wine into the Blood of Christ, as if they involve nothing more than “transignification,” or “transfinalization” as they call it; or, finally, to propose and act upon the opinion that Christ Our Lord is no longer present in the consecrated Hosts that remain after the celebration of the sacrifice of the Mass has been completed.

12. Everyone can see that the spread of these and similar opinions does great harm to belief in and devotion to the Eucharist.

Purpose of the Encyclical

13. And so, with the aim of seeing to it that the hope to which the Council has given rise—that a new wave of Eucharistic devotion will sweep over the Church—not be reduced to nil through the sowing of the seeds of false opinions, We have decided to use Our apostolic authority and speak Our mind to you on this subject, Venerable Brothers.

14. We certainly do not deny that those who are spreading these strange opinions are making a praiseworthy effort to investigate this lofty Mystery and to set forth its inexhaustible riches and to make it more understandable to the men of today; rather, We acknowledge this and We approve of it. But We cannot approve the opinions that they set forth, and We have an obligation to warn you about the grave danger that these opinions involve for true faith.

HOLY EUCHARIST A MYSTERY OF FAITH

15. First of all, We want to recall something that you know very well but that is absolutely necessary if the virus of every kind of rationalism is to be repelled; it is something that many illustrious martyrs have witnessed to with their blood, something that celebrated fathers and Doctors of the Church have constantly professed and taught. We mean the fact that the Eucharist is a very great mystery—in fact, properly speaking and in the words of the Sacred Liturgy, the mystery of faith. “It contains within it,” as Leo XIII, Our predecessor of happy memory, very wisely remarked, “all supernatural realities in a remarkable richness and variety of miracles.” (4)

Relying on Revelation, Not Reason

16. And so we must approach this mystery in particular with humility and reverence, not relying on human reasoning, which ought to hold its peace, but rather adhering firmly to divine Revelation.

17. St. John Chrysostom who, as you know, dealt with the Mystery of the Eucharist in such eloquent language and with such insight born of devotion, had these most fitting words to offer on one occasion when he was instructing his faithful about this mystery: “Let us submit to God in all things and not contradict Him, even if what He says seems to contradict our reason and intellect; let His word prevail over our reason and intellect. Let us act in this way with regard to the Eucharistic mysteries, and not limit our attention just to what can be perceived by the senses, but instead hold fast to His words. For His word cannot deceive.” (5)

18. The scholastic Doctors made similar statements on more than one occasion. As St. Thomas says, the fact that the true body and the true blood of Christ are present in this Sacrament “cannot be apprehended by the senses but only by faith, which rests upon divine authority. This is why Cyril comments upon the words, This is my body which is delivered up for you, in Luke 22, 19, in this way: Do not doubt that this is true; instead accept the words of the Savior in faith; for since He is truth, He cannot tell a lie.” (6)

19. Hence the Christian people often follow the lead of St. Thomas and sing the words: “Sight, touch and taste in Thee are each deceived; The ear alone most safely is believed. I believe all the Son of God has spoken; Than truth’s own word, there is no truer token.”

20. And St. Bonaventure declares: “There is no difficulty over Christ’s being present in the sacrament as in a sign; the great difficulty is in the fact that He is really in the sacrament, as He is in heaven. And so believing this is especially meritorious. ” (7)

Example of the Apostles

21. Moreover, the Holy Gospel alludes to this when it tells of the many disciples of Christ who turned away and left Our Lord, after hearing Him speak of eating His flesh and drinking His blood. “This is strange talk,” they said. “Who can be expected to listen to it” Peter, on the contrary, replied to Jesus’ question as to whether the twelve wanted to go away too by promptly and firmly expressing his own faith and that of the other Apostles in these marvelous words: “Lord, to whom should we go? Thy words are the words of eternal life.” (8)

22. It is only logical, then, for us to follow the magisterium of the Church as a guiding star in carrying on our investigations into this mystery, for the Divine Redeemer has entrusted the safeguarding and the explanation of the written or transmitted word of God to her. And we are convinced that “whatever has been preached and believed throughout the whole Church with true Catholic faith since the days of antiquity is true, even if it not be subject to rational investigation, and even if it not be explained in words.” (9)

Proper Wording of Great Importance

23. But this is not enough. Once the integrity of the faith has been safeguarded, then it is time to guard the proper way of expressing it, lest our careless use of words give rise, God forbid, to false opinions regarding faith in the most sublime things. St. Augustine gives a stern warning about this when he takes up the matter of the different ways of speaking that are employed by the philosophers on the one hand and that ought to be used by Christians on the other. “The philosophers,” he says, “use words freely, and they have no fear of offending religious listeners in dealing with subjects that are difficult to understand. But we have to speak in accordance with a fixed rule, so that a lack of restraint in speech on our part may not give rise to some irreverent opinion about the things represented by the words.” (l0)

24. And so the rule of language which the Church has established through the long labor of centuries, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and which she has confirmed with the authority of the Councils, and which has more than once been the watchword and banner of orthodox faith, is to be religiously preserved, and no one may presume to change it at his own pleasure or under the pretext of new knowledge. Who would ever tolerate that the dogmatic formulas used by the ecumenical councils for the mysteries of the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation be judged as no longer appropriate for men of our times, and let others be rashly substituted for them? In the same way, it cannot be tolerated that any individual should on his own authority take something away from the formulas which were used by the Council of Trent to propose the Eucharistic Mystery for our belief. These formulas—like the others that the Church used to propose the dogmas of faith—express concepts that are not tied to a certain specific form of human culture, or to a certain level of scientific progress, or to one or another theological school. Instead they set forth what the human mind grasps of reality through necessary and universal experience and what it expresses in apt and exact words, whether it be in ordinary or more refined language. For this reason, these formulas are adapted to all men of all times and all places.

Greater Clarity of Expression Always Possible

25. They can, it is true, be made clearer and more obvious; and doing this is of great benefit. But it must always be done in such a way that they retain the meaning in which they have been used, so that with the advance of an understanding of the faith, the truth of faith will remain unchanged. For it is the teaching of the First Vatican Council that “the meaning that Holy Mother the Church has once declared, is to be retained forever, and no pretext of deeper understanding ever justifies any deviation from that meaning.” (11)

EUCHARISTIC MYSTERY IN SACRIFICE OF THE MASS

26. For the joy and edification of everyone, We would like to review with you, Venerable Brothers, the doctrine on the Mystery of the Eucharist that has been handed down, and that the Catholic Church holds and teaches with unanimity.

Re-enactment at Heart of Doctrine

27. It is a good idea to recall at the very outset what may be termed the heart and core of the doctrine, namely that, by means of the Mystery of the Eucharist, the Sacrifice of the Cross which was once carried out on Calvary is re-enacted in wonderful fashion and is constantly recalled, and its salvific power is applied to the forgiving of the sins we commit each day.” (12)

28. just as Moses made the Old Testament sacred with the blood of calves, (13) so too Christ the Lord took the New Testament, of which He is the Mediator, and made it sacred through His own blood, in instituting the mystery of the Eucharist. For, as the Evangelists narrate, at the Last Supper “he took bread, and blessed and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, This is my body, given for you; do this for a commemoration of me. And so with the cup, when supper was ended, This cup, he said, is the new testament, in my Blood which is to be shed for you.” (l4) And by bidding the Apostles to do this in memory of Him, He made clear that He wanted it to be forever repeated. This intention of Christ was faithfully carried out by the primitive Church through her adherence to the teaching of the Apostles and through her gatherings to celebrate the Eucharistic Sacrifice. As St. Luke is careful to point out, “They occupied themselves continually with the Apostles’ teaching, their fellowship in the breaking of bread, and the fixed times of prayer.” (l5) The faithful used to derive such spiritual fervor from this practice that it was said of them that “there was one heart and soul in all the company of the believers.” (16)

New Offering of the New Testament

29. Moreover, the Apostle Paul, who faithfully transmitted to us what he had received from the Lord, (17) is clearly speaking of the Eucharistic Sacrifice when he points out that Christians ought not take part in pagan sacrifices, precisely because they have been made partakers of the table of the Lord. “Is not this cup we bless,” he says, “a participation in Christ’s Blood? Is not the Bread we break a participation in Christ’s Body? . . . To drink the Lord’s cup, and yet to drink the cup of evil spirits, to share the Lord’s feast, and to share the feast of evil spirits, is impossible for you.” (18) Foreshadowed by Malachias, (19) this new oblation of the New Testament has always been offered by the Church, in accordance with the teaching of Our Lord and the Apostles, “not only to atone for the sins and punishments and satisfactions of the living faithful and to appeal for their other needs, but also to help those who have died in Christ but have not yet been completely purified.” (20)

Offered Also for the Dead

30. We will pass over the other citations and rest content with recalling the testimony offered by St. Cyril of Jerusalem, who wrote the following memorable words for the neophytes whom he was instructing in the Christian faith: “After the spiritual sacrifice, the un-bloody act of worship, has been completed, we bend over this propitiatory offering and beg God to grant peace to all the Churches, to give harmony to the whole world, to bless our rulers, our soldiers and our companions, to aid the sick and afflicted, and in general to assist all those who stand in need; we all pray for all these intentions and we offer this victim for them . . . and last of all for our deceased holy forefathers and bishops and for all those who have lived among us. For we have a deep conviction that great help will be afforded those souls for whom prayers are offered while this holy and awesome victim is present.” In support of this, this holy Doctor offers the example of a crown made for an emperor in order to win a pardon for some exiles, and he concludes his talk with these words: “In the same fashion, when we offer our prayers to God for the dead, even those who are sinners, we are not just making a crown but instead are offering Christ who was slaughtered for our sins, and thus begging the merciful God to take pity both on them and on ourselves.” (21) St. Augustine attests that this custom of offering the “sacrifice which ransomed us” also for the dead was observed in the Church at Rome, (22) and he mentions at the same time that the universal Church observed this custom as something handed down from the Fathers. (23)

The Universal Priesthood

31. But there is something else that We would like to add that is very helpful in shedding light on the mystery of the Church; We mean the fact that the whole Church plays the role of priest and victim along with Christ, offering the Sacrifice of the Mass and itself completely offered in it. The Fathers of the Church taught this wondrous doctrine. (24) A few years ago Our predecessor of happy memory, Pius XII, explained it. (25) And only recently the Second Vatican Council reiterated it in its Constitution on the Church, in dealing with the people of God. (26) To be sure, the distinction between the universal priesthood and the hierarchical priesthood is something essential and not just a matter of degree, and it has to be maintained in a proper way. (27) Yet We cannot help being filled with an earnest desire to see this teaching explained over and over until it takes deep root in the hearts of the faithful. For it is a most effective means of fostering devotion to the Eucharist, of extolling the dignity of all the faithful, and of spurring them on to reach the heights of sanctity, which means the total and generous offering of oneself to the service of the Divine Majesty.

No Mass is “Private”

32. It is also only fitting for us to recall the conclusion that can be drawn from this about “the public and social nature of each and every Mass.” (28) For each and every Mass is not something private, even if a priest celebrates it privately; instead, it is an act of Christ and of the Church. In offering this sacrifice, the Church learns to offer herself as a sacrifice for all and she applies the unique and infinite redemptive power of the sacrifice of the Cross to the salvation of the whole world. For every Mass that is celebrated is being offered not just for the salvation of certain people, but also for the salvation of the whole world. The conclusion from this is that even though active participation by many faithful is of its very nature particularly fitting when Mass is celebrated, still there is no reason to criticize but rather only to approve a Mass that a priest celebrates privately for a good reason in accordance with the regulations and legitimate traditions of the Church, even when only a server to make the responses is present. For such a Mass brings a rich and abundant treasure of special graces to help the priest himself, the faithful, the whole Church and the whole world toward salvation—and this same abundance of graces is not gained through mere reception of Holy Communion.

33. And so, We recommend from a paternal and solicitous heart that priests, who constitute Our greatest joy and Our crown in the Lord, be mindful of the power they have received from the bishop who ordained them—the power of offering sacrifice to God and of celebrating Mass for the living and for the dead in the name of the Lord. (79) We recommend that they celebrate Mass daily in a worthy and devout fashion, so that they themselves and the rest of the faithful may enjoy the benefits that flow in such abundance from the Sacrifice of the Cross. In doing so, they will also be making a great contribution toward the salvation of mankind.

CHRIST SACRAMENTALLY PRESENT IN THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS

34. The few things that We have touched upon concerning the Sacrifice of the Mass encourage Us to say something about the Sacrament of the Eucharist, since both Sacrifice and Sacrament pertain to the same mystery and cannot be separated from each other. The Lord is immolated in an unbloody way in the Sacrifice of the Mass and He re-presents the sacrifice of the Cross and applies its salvific power at the moment when he becomes sacramentally present— through the words of consecration—as the spiritual food of the faithful, under the appearances of bread and wine.

Various Ways in Which Christ is Present

35. All of us realize that there is more than one way in which Christ is present in His Church. We want to go into this very joyful subject, which the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy presented briefly, (30) at somewhat greater length. Christ is present in His Church when she prays, since He is the one who “prays for us and prays in us and to whom we pray: He prays for us as our priest, He prays in us as our head, He is prayed to by us as our God” (31); and He is the one who has promised, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them.” (32) He is present in the Church as she performs her works of mercy, not just because whatever good we do to one of His least brethren we do to Christ Himself, (33)but also because Christ is the one who performs these works through the Church and who continually helps men with His divine love. He is present in the Church as she moves along on her pilgrimage with a longing to reach the portals of eternal life, for He is the one who dwells in our hearts through faith, (34) and who instills charity in them through the Holy Spirit whom He gives to us. (35)

36. In still another very genuine way, He is present in the Church as she preaches, since the Gospel which she proclaims is the word of God, and it is only in the name of Christ, the Incarnate Word of God, and by His authority and with His help that it is preached, so that there might be “one flock resting secure in one shepherd.” (36)

37. He is present in His Church as she rules and governs the People of God, since her sacred power comes from Christ and since Christ, the “Shepherd of Shepherds,” (37) is present in the bishops who exercise that power, in keeping with the promise He made to the Apostles.

38. Moreover, Christ is present in His Church in a still more sublime manner as she offers the Sacrifice of the Mass in His name; He is present in her as she administers the sacraments. On the matter of Christ’s presence in the offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass, We would like very much to call what St. John Chrysostom, overcome with awe, had to say in such accurate and eloquent words: “I wish to add something that is clearly awe-inspiring, but do not be surprised or upset. What is this? It is the same offering, no matter who offers it, be it Peter or Paul. It is the same one that Christ gave to His disciples and the same one that priests now perform: the latter is in no way inferior to the former, for it is not men who sanctify the latter, but He who sanctified the former. For just as the words which God spoke are the same as those that the priest now pronounces, so too the offering is the same.” (38) No one is unaware that the sacraments are the actions of Christ who administers them through men. And so the sacraments are holy in themselves and they pour grace into the soul by the power of Christ, when they touch the body. The Highest Kind of Presence.

These various ways in which Christ is present fill the mind with astonishment and offer the Church a mystery for her contemplation. But there is another way in which Christ is present in His Church, a way that surpasses all the others. It is His presence in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, which is, for this reason, “a more consoling source of devotion, a lovelier object of contemplation and holier in what it contains” (39) than all the other sacraments; for it contains Christ Himself and it is “a kind of consummation of the spiritual life, and in a sense the goal of all the sacraments.” (40)

39. This presence is called “real” not to exclude the idea that the others are “real” too, but rather to indicate presence par excellence, because it is substantial and through it Christ becomes present whole and entire, God and man. (41) And so it would be wrong for anyone to try to explain this manner of presence by dreaming up a so-called “pneumatic” nature of the glorious body of Christ that would be present everywhere; or for anyone to limit it to symbolism, as if this most sacred Sacrament were to consist in nothing more than an efficacious sign “of the spiritual presence of Christ and of His intimate union with the faithful, the members of His Mystical Body.” (42)

The Proper Use of Symbolism

40. It is true that the Fathers and Scholastics had a great deal to say about symbolism in the Eucharist, especially with regard to the unity of the Church. The Council of Trent, in re-stating their doctrine, taught that our Saviour bequeathed the Eucharist to His Church “as a symbol . . . of the unity and charity with which He wished all Christians to be joined among themselves,” “and hence as a symbol of that one Body of which He is the Head.” (43)

41. When Christian literature was still in its infancy, the unknown author of the work called the “Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles” had this to write on the subject: “As far as the Eucharist is concerned, give thanks in this manner: . . . just as this bread had been broken and scattered over the hills and was made one when it was gathered together, so too may your church be gathered into your kingdom from the ends of the earth.” (44)

42. St. Cyprian too, in the course of laying stress on the Church’s unity in opposition to schism, said this: “Finally the Lord’s sacrifices proclaim the unity of Christians who are bound together by a firm and unshakeable charity. For when the Lord calls the bread that has been made from many grains of wheat His Body, He is describing our people whose unity He has sustained; and when He refers to wine pressed from many grapes and berries as His Blood, once again He is speaking of our flock which has been formed by fusing many into one.” (45)

43. But before all of these, St. Paul had written to the Corinthians: “The one bread makes us one body, though we are many in number; the same bread is shared by all.” (46)

Symbolism Inadequate to Express Real Presence

44. While Eucharistic symbolism is well suited to helping us understand the effect that is proper to this Sacrament—the unity of the Mystical Body—still it does not indicate or explain what it is that makes this Sacrament different from all the others. For the constant teaching that the Catholic Church has passed on to her catechumens, the understanding of the Christian people, the doctrine defined by the Council of Trent, the very words that Christ used when He instituted the Most Holy Eucharist, all require us to profess that “the Eucharist is the flesh of Our Savior Jesus Christ which suffered for our sins and which the Father in His loving kindness raised again.” (47) To these words of St. Ignatius, we may well add those which Theodore of Mopsuestia, who is a faithful witness to the faith of the Church on this point, addressed to the people: “The Lord did not say: This is symbol of my body, and this is a symbol of my blood, but rather: This is my body and my blood. He teaches us not to look to the nature of what lies before us and is perceived by the senses, because the giving of thanks and the words spoken over it have changed it into flesh and blood.” (45)

45. The Council of Trent, basing itself on this faith of the Church, “openly and sincerely professes that after the consecration of the bread and wine, Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, is really, truly and substantially contained in the Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist under the outward appearances of sensible things.” And so Our Savior is present in His humanity not only in His natural manner of existence at the right hand of the Father, but also at the same time in the sacrament of the Eucharist “in a manner of existing that we can hardly express in words but that our minds, illumined by faith, can come to see as possible to God and that we must most firmly believe.” (49)

CHRIST PRESENT IN THE EUCHARIST THROUGH TRANSUBSTANTIATION

46. To avoid any misunderstanding of this type of presence, which goes beyond the laws of nature and constitutes the greatest miracle of its kind, (50) we have to listen with docility to the voice of the teaching and praying Church. Her voice, which constantly echoes the voice of Christ, assures us that the way in which Christ becomes present in this Sacrament is through the conversion of the whole substance of the bread into His body and of the whole substance of the wine into His blood, a unique and truly wonderful conversion that the Catholic Church fittingly and properly calls transubstantiation. (51) As a result of transubstantiation, the species of bread and wine undoubtedly take on a new signification and a new finality, for they are no longer ordinary bread and wine but instead a sign of something sacred and a sign of spiritual food; but they take on this new signification, this new finality, precisely because they contain a new “reality” which we can rightly call ontological. For what now lies beneath the aforementioned species is not what was there before, but something completely different; and not just in the estimation of Church belief but in reality, since once the substance or nature of the bread and wine has been changed into the body and blood of Christ, nothing remains of the bread and the wine except for the species—beneath which Christ is present whole and entire in His physical “reality,” corporeally present, although not in the manner in which bodies are in a place.

Writings of the Fathers

47. This is why the Fathers felt they had a solemn duty to warn the faithful that, in reflecting upon this most sacred Sacrament, they should not pay attention to the senses, which report only the properties of bread and wine, but rather to the words of Christ, which have power great enough to change, transform, “transelementize” the bread and wine into His body and blood. As a matter of fact, as the same Fathers point out on more than one occasion, the power that does this is the same power of Almighty God that created the whole universe out of nothing at the beginning of time.

48. “Instructed as you are in these matters,” says St. Cyril of Jerusalem, at the end of a sermon on the mysteries of the faith, “and filled with an unshakeable faith that what seems to be bread is not bread—though it tastes like it—but rather the Body of Christ; and that what seems to be wine is not wine—even though it too tastes like it—but rather the Blood of Christ . . . draw strength from receiving this bread as spiritual food and your soul will rejoice.” (52)

49. St. John Chrysostom insists upon the same point with these words: “It is not man who makes what is put before him the Body and Blood of Christ, but Christ Himself who was crucified for us. The priest standing there in the place of Christ says these words, but their power and grace are from God. This is my Body, he says, and these words transform what lies before him.” (53)

50. Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria, is in wonderful harmony with John, the Bishop of Constantinople, when he writes in his commentary on the Gospel of St. Matthew: “He said This is my body and this is my blood in a demonstrative fashion, so that you might not judge that what you see is a mere figure; instead the offerings are truly changed by the hidden power of God Almighty into Christ’s body and blood, which bring us the life-giving and sanctifying power of Christ when we share in them.” (54)

51. Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan, in a clear statement on the Eucharistic conversion, has this to say: “Let us be assured that this is not what nature formed but what the blessing has consecrated; and there is greater power in the blessing and in nature, since nature itself is changed through the blessing.” To confirm the truth of this mystery, he recounts many of the miracles described in the Sacred Scriptures, including Christ’s birth of the Virgin Mary, and then he turns his mind to the work of creation, concluding this way: “Surely the word of Christ, who could make something that did not exist out of nothing, can change things that do exist into something they were not before. For it is no less extraordinary to give new natures to things than it is to change nature.” (55)

Constant Teaching of the Popes and the Councils

52. But this is no time for assembling a long list of evidence. Instead, We would rather recall the firmness of faith and complete unanimity that the Church displayed in opposing Berengarius who gave in to certain difficulties raised by human reasoning and first dared to deny the Eucharistic conversion. More than once she threatened to condemn him unless he retracted. Thus it was that Our predecessor, St. Gregory VII, commanded him to swear to the following oath: “I believe in my heart and openly profess that the bread and wine that are placed on the altar are, through the mystery of the sacred prayer and the words of the Redeemer, substantially changed into the true and proper and lifegiving flesh and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord, and that after the consecration they are the true body of Christ—which was born of the Virgin and which hung on the Cross as an offering for the salvation of the world—and the true blood of Christ—which flowed from His side—and not just as a sign and by reason of the power of the sacrament, but in the very truth and reality of their substance and in what is proper to their nature.” (56)

53. We have a wonderful example of the stability of the Catholic faith in the way in which these words meet with such complete agreement in the constant teaching of the Ecumenical Councils of the Lateran, Constance, Florence and Trent on the mystery of the Eucharistic conversion, whether it be contained in their explanations of the teaching of the Church or in their condemnations of error.

54. After the Council of Trent, Our predecessor, Pius VI, issued a serious warning, on the occasion of the errors of the Synod of Pistoia, that parish priests not neglect to speak of transubstantiation, which is listed among the articles of the faith, in the course of carrying out their office of teaching. (57) Similarly, Our Predecessor of happy memory, Pius XII, recalled the bounds beyond which those who were carrying on subtle discussion of the mystery of transubstantiation might not pass; (58) and We Ourself, at the National Eucharistic Congress that was recently celebrated at Pisa, bore open and solemn witness to the faith of the Church, in fulfillment of Our apostolic duty. (59)

55. Moreover, the Catholic Church has held firm to this belief in the presence of Christ’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist not only in her teaching but in her life as well, since she has at all times paid this great Sacrament the worship known as “latria,” which may be given to God alone. As St. Augustine says: “It was in His flesh that Christ walked among us and it is His flesh that He has given us to eat for our salvation; but no one eats of this flesh without having first adored it . . . and not only do we not sin in thus adoring it, but we would be sinning if we did not do so.” (60)

ON THE WORSHIP OF LATRIA

56. The Catholic Church has always displayed and still displays this latria that ought to be paid to the Sacrament of the Eucharist, both during Mass and outside of it, by taking the greatest possible care of consecrated Hosts, by exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and by carrying them about in processions to the joy of great numbers of the people.

57. The ancient documents of the Church offer many evidences of this veneration. The bishops of the Church always urged the faithful to take the greatest possible care of the Eucharist that they had in their homes. “The Body of Christ is meant to be eaten by the faithful, not to be treated with irreverence,” is the serious warning of St. Hippolytus. (61)

58. In fact, the faithful regarded themselves as guilty, and rightly so as Origen recalls, if, after they had received the body of the Lord and kept it with all reverence and caution, some part of it were to fall to the ground through negligence. (62)

59. These same bishops were severe in reproving any lack of due reverence that might occur. We have evidence of this from the words of Novatian, whose testimony is trustworthy in this matter; He felt that anybody deserved to be condemned who “came out after Sunday service bringing the Eucharist with him, as was the custom, . . . and carried the holy body of the Lord around with him,” going off to places of amusement instead of going home. (63)

60. In fact, St. Cyril of Alexandria denounced as mad the opinion that the Eucharist was of no use to sanctification if some of it were left over for another day. “For Christ is not altered,” he says, “and His holy body is not changed; instead the power and force and life-giving grace of the blessing remain in it forever.” (64)

61. Nor should we forget that in ancient times the faithful—whether being harassed by violent persecutions or living in solitude out of love for monastic life—nourished themselves even daily on the Eucharist, by receiving Holy Communion from their own hands when there was no priest or deacon present. (65)

62. We are not saying this with any thought of effecting a change in the manner of keeping the Eucharist and of receiving Holy Communion that has been laid down by subsequent ecclesiastical laws still in force; Our intention is that we may rejoice over the faith of the Church which is always one and the same.

Corpus Christi, Another Instance of Latria

63. This faith also gave rise to the feast of Corpus Christi, which was first celebrated in the diocese of Liege—especially through the efforts of the servant of God, Blessed Juliana of Mount Cornelius—and Our predecessor, Urban IV, established for the universal Church. It has also given rise to many forms of Eucharistic devotion that have, through the inspiration of God’s grace, grown with each passing day. Through them the Catholic Church is eagerly striving to pay honor to Christ and to thank Him for such a great gift and to beg His mercy.

EXHORTATION TO FOSTERING EUCHARISTIC DEVOTION

64. And so We beseech you, Venerable Brothers, to take this faith, which means nothing less than maintaining complete fidelity to the words of Christ and the Apostles, and preserve it in its purity and integrity among the people entrusted to your care and vigilance, with all false and pernicious opinions being completely rejected; and We beseech you to foster devotion to the Eucharist, which should be the focal point and goal of all other forms of devotion.

65. May the faithful, thanks to your constant efforts, come to realize and experience more and more that: “he who wants to live can find here a place to live in and the means to live on. Let him approach, let him believe, let him be incorporated so that he may receive life. Let him not shy away from union with the members, let him not be a rotten member that deserves to be cut away, nor a distorted member to be ashamed of: let him be beautiful, let him be fitting, let him be healthy. Let him adhere to the body; let him live for God on God: let him labor now upon earth, so that he may afterwards reign in heaven.” (66)

Daily Mass and Holy Communion

66. It is desirable to have the faithful in large numbers take an active part in the sacrifice of the Mass each and every day and receive the nourishment of Holy Communion with a pure and holy mind and offer fitting thanks to Christ the Lord for such a great gift. They should remember these words: “The desire of Jesus Christ and of the Church to see all the faithful approach the sacred banquet each and every day is based on a wish to have them all united to God through the Sacrament and to have them draw from it the strength to master their passions, to wash away the lesser sins that are committed every day and to prevent the serious sins to which human frailty is subject.” (67) And they should not forget about paying a visit during the day to the Most Blessed Sacrament in the very special place of honor where it is reserved in churches in keeping with the liturgical laws, since this is a proof of gratitude and a pledge of love and a display of the adoration that is owed to Christ the Lord who is present there.

Dignity Bestowed by Eucharist

67. No one can fail to see that the divine Eucharist bestows an incomparable dignity upon the Christian people. For it is not just while the Sacrifice is being offered and the Sacrament is being confected, but also after the Sacrifice has been offered and the Sacrament confected—while the Eucharist is reserved in churches or oratories—that Christ is truly Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” For He is in the midst of us day and night; He dwells in us with the fullness of grace and of truth. (68) He raises the level of morals, fosters virtue, comforts the sorrowful, strengthens the weak and stirs up all those who draw near to Him to imitate Him, so that they may learn from his example to be meek and humble of heart, and to seek not their own interests but those of God. Anyone who has a special devotion to the sacred Eucharist and who tries to repay Christ’s infinite love for us with an eager and unselfish love of his own, will experience and fully understand—and this will bring great delight and benefit to his soul—just how precious is a life hidden with Christ in God (69) and just how worthwhile it is to carry on a conversation with Christ, for there is nothing more consoling here on earth, nothing more efficacious for progress along the paths of holiness.

68. You also realize, Venerable Brothers, that the Eucharist is reserved in churches or oratories to serve as the spiritual center of a religious community or a parish community, indeed of the whole Church and the whole of mankind, since it contains, beneath the veil of the species, Christ the invisible Head of the Church, the Redeemer of the world, the center of all hearts, “by whom all things are and by whom we exist.” (70)

69. Hence it is that devotion to the divine Eucharist exerts a great influence upon the soul in the direction of fostering a “social” love, (71) in which we put the common good ahead of private good, take up the cause of the community, the parish, the universal Church, and extend our charity to the whole world because we know that there are members of Christ everywhere.

A Sign and Cause of Unity

70. Because, Venerable Brothers, the Sacrament of the Eucharist is a sign and cause of the unity of Christ’s Mystical Body, and because it stirs up an active “ecclesial” spirit in those who are more fervent in their Eucharistic devotion, never stop urging your faithful, as they approach the Mystery of the Eucharist, to learn to embrace the Church’s cause as their own, to pray to God without slackening, to offer themselves to God as an acceptable sacrifice for the peace and unity of the Church; so that all the sons of the Church may be united and feel united and there may be no divisions among them but rather unity of mind and intention, as the Apostle commands. (72) May all those who are not yet in perfect communion with the Catholic Church and who glory in the name of Christian despite their separation from her, come as soon as possible to share with us, through the help of God’s grace, in that unity of faith and communion that Christ wanted to be the distinctive mark of His disciples.

A Special Task for Religious

71. This zeal at prayer and at devoting oneself to God for the sake of the unity of the Church is something that religious, both men and women, should regard as very specially their own since they are bound in a special way to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and they have, by virtue of the vows they have pronounced, become a kind of crown set around it here on earth.

The Tridentine Decree

72. The Church in the past has felt and still feels that nothing is more ancient and more pleasing than the desire for the unity of all Christians, and We want to express this in the very same words that the Council of Trent used to conclude its decree on the Most Holy Eucharist: “In conclusion, the Council with paternal love admonishes, exhorts, begs and implores ‘through the merciful kindness of our God (73) that each and every Christian may come at last to full agreement in this sign of unity, in this bond of charity, in this symbol of harmony; that they may be mindful of the great dignity and the profound love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave up His precious life as the price of our salvation and who gave us His flesh to eat (74); and that they may believe and adore these sacred mysteries of His body and blood with such firm and unwavering faith, with such devotion and piety and veneration that they will be able to receive that supersubstantial (75) bread often and it will truly be the life of their souls and the unfailing strength of their minds, so that ‘fortified by its vigor,’ (76) they may be able to move on from this wretched earthly pilgrimage to their heavenly home where, without any veil, they will eat the ‘bread of angels’ (77) that they now eat beneath the sacred veils.” (78)

73. May the all-merciful Redeemer, who shortly before His death prayed to the Father that all who were to believe in Him might be one, just as He and the Father are one, (79) deign to hear this most ardent prayer of Ours and of the whole Church as quickly as possible, so that we may all celebrate the Eucharistic Mystery with one voice and one faith, and through sharing in the Body of Christ become one body, (80) joined together by the same bonds that Christ wanted it to have.

A Word to the Eastern Churches

74. We also want to address with fraternal affection those who belong to the venerable Churches of the East, which have had so many glorious Fathers whose testimony to belief in the Eucharist We have been so glad to cite in this present letter of Ours. Our soul is filled with great joy as We contemplate your belief in the Eucharist, which is ours as well, as we listen to the liturgical prayers you use to celebrate this great mystery, as we behold your Eucharistic devotion, as we read your theological works explaining or defending the doctrine of this most sacred Sacrament.

A Final Prayer

75. May the most blessed Virgin Mary, from whom Christ the Lord took the flesh that “is contained, offered, received” (81) in this Sacrament under the appearances of bread and wine, and may all the saints of God and especially those who were more inflamed with ardent devotion toward the divine Eucharist, intercede with the Father of mercies so that this common belief in the Eucharist and devotion to it may give rise among all Christians to a perfect unity of communion that will continue to flourish. Lingering in Our mind are the words of the holy martyr Ignatius warning the Philadelphians against the evil of divisions and schisms, the remedy for which is to be found in the Eucharist. “Strive then,” he says, “to make use of one single thanksgiving. For there is only one flesh of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and only one chalice unto the union of His blood, only one altar, only one bishop . . .” (82)

76. Fortified by the most consoling hope of blessings that will accrue to the whole Church and to the whole world from an increase in devotion to the Eucharist, as a pledge of heavenly blessings We lovingly impart Our apostolic blessings to you, Venerable Brothers, and to the priests, religious and all who are helping you, as well as to all the faithful entrusted to your care.

Given at St. Peter’s, Rome, on the third day of September, the feast of Pope St. Pius X, in the year 1965, the third of Our Pontificate.

PAUL VI

NOTES

LATIN TEXT: Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 57 (1965), 753-74.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION: The Pope Speaks, 10 (Fall, 1965), 309-28.

REFERENCES:

(1) Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, c. 2, n. 47; AAS LVI (1964), 113 [Cf. TPS IX, 325.].

(2) Jn. 6.55.

(3) Cf. Jn 17.23.

(4) Encyclical letter Mirae caritatis: Acta Leonis XIII, XXII (1902-1903) 122.

(5) Homily on Matthew, 82.4; PG 58.743.

(6) Summa Theol. III,(a) q. 75, a. 1, c.

(7) In IV Sent., dist. X, P. I, art. un., qu. I; Opera omnia, tome IV, Ad Claras Aquas (1889), 217.

(8) Jn. 6.61-69.

(9) St. Augustine, Against Julian, VI, 5.11; PL 44.829.

(10) City of God, X, 23; PL 41.300.

(11) Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, c. 4.

(12) Cf. Council of Trent, Teaching on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, c. I.

(13) Cf. Ex 24.8.

(14) Lk 22.19-20; cf. Mt 26.26-28; Mk 14.22-24.

(15) Acts 2.42.

(16) Acts 4.32.

(17) 1 Cor 11.23 ff.

(18) 1 Cor 10.16.

(19) Cf. Mal 1.11.

(20) Council of Trent, Doctrine on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, c. 2.

(21) Catecheses, 23 [myst. 5]. 8-18; PG 33.1115-1118.

(22) Cf. Confessions IX, 12.32; PL 32.777; cf. ibid. IX 11, 27; PL 32.775.

(23) Cf. Serm 172.2.; PL 38.936; cf. On the care to be taken of the dead, 13, PL 40.593.

(24) Cf. St. Augustine, City ot God, X, 6; PL 42.284.

(25) Cf. Encyclical letter Mediator Dei; AAS XXXIX (1947), 552.

(26) Cf. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, c. 2, 11; AAS LVII (1965), 15 [Cf. TPS v. 10, p. 366.].

(27) Cf. ibid., c. 2, n. 10; AAS LVII (1965), 14 [Cf. TPS v. 10, p. 365-366.].

(28) Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, c. 1, n. 27; AAS LVI (1964), 107 [Cf. TPS IX, 322.].

(29) Cf. Roman Pontifical.

(30) Cf. c. 1, n. 7; AAS LVI (1964), 100-101.

(31) St. Augustine, On Psalm 85.1: PL 37.1081.

(32) Mt 18.20.

(33) Cf. Mt 25.40.

(34) Cf. Eph 3.17.

(35) Cf. Rom 5.5.

(36) St. Augustine, Against the Letter ot Petiliani, III, 10.11; PL 43.353.

(37) St. Augustine, On Psalm 86.3; PL 37.1102.

(38) Homily on the Second Epistle to Timothy 2.4; PG 62.612.

(39) Aegidius Romanus, Theorems on the Body of Christ, theor. 50 (Venice, 1521), p. 127.

(40) St. Thomas, Summa Theol., IIIa, p. 73, a. 3, c.

(41) Cf. Council of Trent, Decree on the Holy Eucharist, c. 3.

(42) Pius XII, Encyclical letter Humani generis; AAS XLII (1950), 578.

(43) Decree on the Holy Eucharist, Introduction and c. 2.

(44) Didachè, 9.1; F.X. Funk, Patres Apostolici, 1.20.

(45) Epistle to Magnus, 6; PL 3.1139.

(46) 1 Cor 10.17.

(47) St. Ignatius, Epistle to the Smyrnians, 7.1; PG 5.714.

(48) Commentary on Matthew, c. 26; PG 66.714.

(49) Decree on the Most Holy Eucharist, c. 1.

(50) Cf. Encyclical letter Mirae caritatis; Acta Leonis XIII, XXII (1902-1903), 123.

(51) Cf. Council of Trent, Decree on the Most Holy Eucharist, c. 4 and canon 2.

(52) Catecheses, 22.9 [myst. 4] PG 33.1103.

(53) Homily on Judas’ betrayal, 1.6; PG 49.380; cf. Homily on Matthew 82.5; PG 58.744.

(54) On Matthew 26.27; PG 72.451.

(55) On Mysteries 9.50-52; PL 16.422-424.

(56) Mansi, Collectio amplissima Conciliorum, XX, 524D.

(57) Const. Auctorem fidei, August 28, 1794.

(58) Allocution of September 22, 1956, AAS XLVIII (1956), 720 [Cf. TPS III, 281-282.].

(59) AAS LVII (1965), 588-592.

(60) On Psalm 98.9; PL 37.1264.

(61) Apostolic Tradition; ed. Botte, La Tradition Apostolique de St. Hippolyte, Muenster (1963), p. 84.

(62) Fragment on Exodus; PG 12.391.

(63) On Shows; CSEL III,(3) 8.

(64) Epistle to Calosyrius; PG 76.1075.

(65) Cf. Basil, Epistle 93; PG 32.483-486.

(66) St. Augustine, Treatise on John 26.13; PL 35.1613.

(67) Decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Council, December 20, 1905, approved by St. Pius X; AAS XXXVIII (1905), 401.

(68) Cf. Jn 1.14.

(69) Cf. Col 3.3.

(70) 1 Cor 8.6.

(71) Cf. St. Augustine, On the literal interpretation of Genesis XI, 15.20; PL 34.437.

(72) Cf. 1 Cor 1.10.

(73) Lk 1.78.

(74) .Jn 6.48 ff.

(75) Mt 6.11.

(76) 3 Kgs 19.8.

(77) Ps 77.25.

(78) Decree on the Most Holy Eucharist, c. 8.

(79) Cf.Jn 17.20-21.

(80) Cf. 1 Cor 10.17.

(81) C.I.C., canon 801.

(82) Epistle to the Philadelphians 4; PG 5.700.

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Eucharistic Adoration Campaign

There’s a new trend on Catholic campuses throughout the country and it’s transforming lives.

Students are rediscovering Eucharistic Adoration, a timeless devotion of the Church.

The ASCC’s Eucharistic Adoration Campaign (EAC) is designed to help students and campus ministers at Catholic colleges start and promote Eucharistic Adoration at their colleges. Pope John Paul II has stated that he would like to see perpetual adoration implemented at every parish in the world. The Holy Father’s words extend to Campus and University Ministries as well, the parishes of today’s college students.

And behold, I am with you always,

until the end of the age.

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Text of Francis Cardinal Arinze’s Address
Commencement at Georgetown University,
Washington, D.C., May 17, 2003

God be praised for this major event today in the life of Georgetown University. Near a thousand young people are graduating. To you, dear young friends, I say: Allow serious religion to lead you to lasting joy. Happy parents and friends surround their loved ones. With them I say: Let us thank God for the gift of the family. The Company of Jesus, the Jesuits, initiated and nourish this University. With them I rejoice at the patrimony of St. Ignatius and especially that the Catholic Church is God’s gift to the world. To all I say: Arise, rejoice, God is calling you

1. Serious Religion leads to lasting Joy.

My dear graduands, at this turning point in your lives, it is helpful to keep to essentials. One of them is to locate in what happiness consists. Everyone wants to be happy. Every human being desires lasting joy.

True happiness does not consist in the accumulation of goods: money, cars, houses. Nor is it to be found in pleasure seeking: eating, drinking, sex. And humans do not attain lasting joy by power grabbing, dominating others, or heaping up public acclaim. These three things, good in themselves when properly sought, were not able to confer on Solomon, perfect happiness. And they will not be able to confer it on anyone else! (cf. Eccles1:2-3; IIKing11;1-8; Mt20:24-28; IJn 2:15-16).

Happiness is attained by achieving the purpose of our earthly existence. God made me to know him, to love him, to serve him in this world and to be happy with him for ever in the next. St. Augustine found this out in his later age after making many mistakes in his youth. He then cried out to God: “You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you” (St. Aug. Conf. I, 1). My religion guides and helps me towards this. My Catholic faith puts me in contact with Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life (cf. Jn14:6). God’s grace helps me to live on earth in such a way as to attain the purpose of my earthly existence.
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My dear graduands, allow your religion to give your life its essential and major orientation. In our lives. religion is not something marginal, peripheral, additional, optional. My Catholic faith gives meaning and a sense of direction to my life. It gives it unity. Without it my life would be like an agglomeration of scattered mosaics. It is my religion, for example, that inspires my profession, that teaches me that there is more happiness in giving than in receiving (cf. Acts20:35), that helps me to appreciate that to reach the height of my growth potential, I must learn to give of myself to others as I practise my profession as lawyer, doctor, air hostess, congress member or priest (Vatican II: Gaudium et Spes, 24).

Allow your religion to give life, joy, generosity and a sense of solidarity to your professional and social engagements. In a world of religious plurity, you will of course learn to cooperate with people of other religious convictions. True religion teaches not exclusion, rivalry, tension, conflict or violence, but rather openness, esteem, respect and harmony. At the same time you should keep intact your religious identity, your distinction as a witness of Jesus Christ.

2. Thank God for the Gift of the Family.

As I see joy and just pride reflected on the faces of the parents and friends of these graduands, I think of God’s goodness in giving the gift of the family to humanity.
It is God himself who willed that a man and a woman should come to establish a permanent bond in marriage. Marriage gives rise to the family. In this fundamental cell of society, love grows. There the exercise of sexuality has its correct locus. There human maturity is nurtured. There new life utters its first cry and later smiles at the parents. There the child is first introduced to religion. Is it any wonder that the Second Vatican Council called the family “the church of the home” (cf. Lumen Gentium, 11)?

In many part of the world, the family is under siege. It is opposed by an anti-life mentality as is seen in contraception, abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. It is scorned and banalized by pornography, desecrated by fornication and adultery, mocked by homosexuality, sabotaged by irregular unions and cut in two by divorce.

But the family has friends too. It is nourished and lubricated by mutual love, strengthened by sacrifice and healed by forgiveness and reconciliation. The family is blessed with new life, kept united by family prayer and given a model in the Holy Family of Nazareth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Christian families are moreover blessed by the Church in the name of Christ and fed by the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist. It was beautiful that at the beatification of Mr. and Mrs. Luigi and Maria Beltrame-Quattrocchi in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City on October 21, 2001, three of their children were present.
May God bless all the families here present and grant our graduands who will one day set up their own families his light, guidance, strength, peace and love.

3. The Patrimony of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

We rejoice with the Jesuit Community that set up and keeps up Georgetown University. In the patrimony of St. Ignatius of Loyola, love of the Church is prominent. It is a joy, an honour and a responsibility to belong to the one, holy catholic and apostolic Church. This Mystical Body of Christ, this largest of all religious families that ever existed, is the divinely-set up family for all peoples, languages and cultures. This Church has produced Saints from every state of life, men and women who, open to God’s grace, have become signs of hope. But this same Church also has sinners in her fold. Far from discouraging and rejecting them, the Church offers them hope, wholesome Gospel teaching, saving sacraments and the invitation to abandon to food of pigs, make U-turn and return to the refreshing joy of the Father’s house, like the prodigal son (cf. Lk15:14-24).

This Church has inherited from Christ, the Apostles and her living tradition, a non-negotiable body of doctrine on faith and morals. The tenets of the Catholic faith do not change according to the play of market forces, majority votes or opinion polls. “Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday and as he will be for ever” (Heb13:8). This is the Church which St. Ignatius invites all his spiritual children to love and cherish. This is the Church to which we have the joy to belong.

My dear graduands, parents and the Jesuit Community of Georgetown, arise, rejoice, because God is calling us. And may God’s light, peace, grace and blessing descend on you and remain with you always.

Frances Card. ARINZE
May 17, 2003

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John Paul II Have you heard? There’s a new trend on Catholic campuses and it’s transforming lives. Students, faculty, and campus ministers are rediscovering Eucharistic Adoration, a timeless devotion of the Church.

The great twentieth century communicator, evangelist, and Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, had a deep personal devotion to Eucharistic Adoration:

“Neither theological knowledge nor social action alone is enough to keep us in love with Christ unless both are proceeded by a personal encounter with Him. Theological insights are gained not only from between two covers of a book, but from two bent knees before an altar. The Holy Hour becomes like an oxygen tank to revive the breath of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the foul atmosphere of the world.”

The Archbishop gives us what we like to think of as the “missing piece” in the life of Catholic colleges. He witnessed in his time a growing divide between those Catholics who place more emphasis on theological knowledge and those who emphasize social action. Notice that he didn’t condemn emphasis on either, but rather pointed out how fruitless they both are without a personal encounter with Christ. It is “Through Him, With Him, and In Him” that we must live our lives.

Eucharistic Adoration is the ideal place to foster and experience this deep personal relationship with Christ. If students are deprived of the opportunity to strengthen this bond, they will be ill-prepared to serve others. They will quickly lose hope in a world that mocks them for everything they hold to be true. It is good to have high ideals about social reform and orthodoxy, but when these ideals are not grounded in God’s grace, they become vain pursuits. Adoration is truly the key to opening up the hearts and minds of students so that they may become the Christian men and women God created them to be.

Why provide adoration on Catholic campuses?

The Catholic college or university that has a program of Eucharistic Adoration assimilates itself closely to Pope John Paul II’s vision of the true Catholic identity of a college or university. Adoration draws the college and its members closer to the heart of the Church.

What are the various forms of adoration programs?

Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration is the constant exposure of the Blessed Sacrament in the Monstrance with at least one adorer present at all times. Eucharistic Adoration may also be offered for a few hours per day or per week, at times convenient for students to attend.

How does an adoration program benefit students?

Eucharistic Adoration places God at the top of one’s list of priorities. Everything that is secondary, academics, relationships, finances, falls into its proper place. Eucharistic Adoration gives students an opportunity to take a break from the business and stress of their day-to-day routine and adore Christ. Students who take advantage of adoration oftentimes become more involved in other campus ministry activities.

Will students really participate?

ASCC wants to help spread the word at your campus. Even if there are only a few students who come at first, the fire of love that these few experience will quickly spread by word and deed so that others are drawn. There are more than 30 Catholic colleges and universities across the U.S. that have successful Adoration programs.

Could Eucharistic Adoration draw attendance away from the Mass?

While this is a possibility, it is certainly not the intention of Eucharistic Adoration. In order to prevent this problem, proper theological reasoning must be presented to students. In Ecclesia de Eucharistia, the Holy Father makes the point that “The worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass is of inestimable value for the life of the Church. This worship is strictly linked to the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice.” Students must be taught to appreciate this linkage.

Isn’t Eucharistic Adoration old-fashioned?

Before He ascended to Heaven, Jesus told His Apostles, “…Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matt 28:20). We have no reason to that His offering of self in the Eucharist, is outdated or old-fashioned. In fact, Adoration is a devotion that has been recommended by the Confessors and Doctors of the Church for the greater part of its history.

Is there help available to set up an adoration program?

Yes! The ASCC wants to help your college or university establish Eucharistic Adoration. We can supply resources, help promote the program to students, and put you in contact with other campus leaders. The hope that springs forth from Eucharistic Adoration will always be sufficient.

We’re so busy. Is another program really necessary?

Eucharistic Adoration will only enhance social outreach, liturgical ministries, and other charitable programs. “Neither theological knowledge nor social action alone is enough to keep us in love with Christ unless both are proceeded by a personal encounter with Him,” Archbishop Sheen acknowleged.

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