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Parish Eucharist Mission
Parish Eucharist Mission
In his Apostolic Letter “Stay with us Lord” issued on 7 October 2004, the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, invited all Catholics to dedicate the current year to the
Eucharist: “May it encourage a more lively fervent celebration of the Eucharist, leading to a Christian life transformed by love.” (Mane Nobiscum Domine, 29)
The Australian Bishops responded to the Holy Father’s invitation by offering the program “Sunday: Sacrament of Easter” as a resource for reflecting on the Eucharist during the Sundays of Easter.
The bishops also propose that parishes consider holding a Eucharist Mission during the week leading up to the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. The aim is to enable communities to focus on their celebration of the Eucharist and encourage devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament.
The suggested focus for the celebration of Sunday Mass on the first day of the Eucharist Mission, Trinity Sunday on 22 May, is Baptism and Eucharist. Baptism initiates us into the Church, the Body of Christ, which celebrates Eucharist.
The bishops call for good Eucharistic practice to be reinforced on this day: full, active participation by all, communion from the cup, communion from the altar and communion from hosts of that Mass.
It is suggested that pastors use the period from Trinity Sunday to the Feast of the Body and Blood of the Lord as a time to initiate improvements in the celebration of the Eucharist at weekday Masses. These include providing a brief homily, taking time for silence, preparing intercessions, offering communion from the cup, and providing singing for the Mass, including its parts.
The core of the proposed Parish Eucharist Mission is a celebration of Evening Prayer and a talk on the Eucharist each evening during the week. These may be offered Monday to Friday at parish level or move around a deanery as stational liturgies. They could be ecumenical events, with invitations extended to other local churches.
The week may be related to Virgin Mary on Tuesday; reference to Philip Neri
eucharistic text on Thursday; and Eucharist and suffering/sacrifice/covenant on
Friday. Other possible themes would include: Eucharist and reconciliation, justice,
Kingdom of God, communion, mission, sacrifice, thanksgiving, etc. The talks would combine a solid theological point and applications to good liturgical practice.
For the final day of the Mission, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ on Sunday 29 May, the bishops propose that the focus of Sunday Mass be on the Eucharist as the real presence of Christ for the life of the Church and as a participation in the saving mystery of His death and resurrection.
Parishes are encouraged to ensure that as many of the sick and shut-ins participate by receiving communion in their homes directly from the celebration of Eucharist.
The bishops urge communities to include a Mass on this day that continues with exposition after communion. This may incorporate a procession on Church property, and concluding with benediction. The material from the Australian Bishops provides models for a shorter and an extended period of Eucharistic Devotion.The material can be found on the Australian Bishops website at http://www.acbc.catholic.org.au/Year_of_the_Eucharist.html.