Vatican City, 10 June 2012 (VIS) - "Today Italy and many other countries are celebrating Corpus Christi, the solemn Feast of the Body and Blood of the Lord ... which every year renews Christians' joy and gratitude at Jesus' Eucharistic presence among us", said the Pope to faithful gathered at midday in St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus.
This feast "is a great public act of worship of the Eucharist, the Sacrament in which the Lord's presence is extended beyond the time of celebration, to remain among us always, through the hours and the days. St. Justin, who left us one of the most ancient descriptions of Eucharistic liturgy, affirms that, after the distribution of communion to those present, the consecrated bread was taken by deacons to those who were absent. For this reason the most sacred place in churches is where the Eucharist is kept.
"At this point my thoughts cannot but go to the many churches seriously damaged by the recent earthquake in Emilia Romagna", the Holy Father added, "to the fact that in some cases Christ’s Eucharistic Body in the tabernacle has been buried under the rubble. With great affection I pray for the communities forced with their priests to gather for Mass in the open air or in tents. I thank them for their witness and for their efforts in favour of the entire population. This situation highlights the importance of being united in the name of the Lord, the strength that comes from the Eucharistic Bread, also called the 'bread of pilgrims'. Sharing this Bread creates and renews the capacity to share our life and goods, to carry one another’s burdens, to be hospitable and welcoming".
Benedict XVI also noted how the Solemnity of Corpus Christi calls our attention to the importance of Eucharistic adoration. "The prayer of adoration can be performed individually, kneeling before the tabernacle, or as a community with psalms and songs, but always laying the emphasis on silence so as to hear the Lord speaking within us, the Lord Who is alive and present in the Sacrament. The Virgin Mary is our guide also in this prayer, because no one better or more than her was able to contemplate Jesus with the gaze of faith, and to welcome in her heart the intimate echo of His human and divine presence".
Following the Marian prayer the Pope greeted, among others, a group of Polish faithful and the inhabitants of the the Polish cities of Krakow, Lodz, Bydgoszcz and Gdansk who, in the presence of Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., are currently commemorating the apostolic pilgrimage made by John Paul II twenty-five years ago. "One fruit of that visit", the Holy Father said, "is the Feast of the Eucharist being celebrated today in Lodz, where a Study Centre dedicated to Blessed John Paul II is being inaugurated. Tomorrow in Bydgoszcz a meeting will be held to examine the contents of the Encyclical 'Caritas in veritate'. I express my thanks for the Study Centre there dedicated to my own name. May these meetings strengthen your bond with Christ, Who loved us unto the end".