By Vatican News
In a letter addressed to the Archdiocese of Boston, Cardinal Seán O’Malley writes about his own love for the Eucharist, which he learned at a young age from his parents. “They made it clear that this is the reason we go to Mass, to partake in the same Eucharist that Christ shared with His closest followers at the Last Supper before He would suffer and die for us”, he says.
The Cardinal speaks of his own memories of Eucharistic devotion, including Forty Hours Adoration, Corpus Christi processions, and Exposition and Benediction. He mentions, too, the songs and hymns to our “Eucharistic Lord”, learned in Spanish and Portuguese ministry, in the seminary, and in his own life. “It is my hope that they can become a regular part of devotion at all our parishes”, O’Malley says, “hymns that everyone learns by heart and sings together”.
Year of the Eucharist
Noting that a recent study has shown that many Catholics do not know or understand the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist, Cardinal O’Malley has declared the Year of the Eucharist which is set to begin on Holy Thursday of 2020. “It is my hope and prayer”, he writes, “that through this spiritual initiative we can invite and encourage our brothers and sisters to find the consolation of the Lord through participation in the celebration of the Eucharist and in times of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament”.
As Catholics, O’Malley says, “it is in the Eucharist that we learn our identity… that we discover who we are, why we are here, and what is our mission as disciples of Christ”.
Cardinal O’Malley encourages the faithful to prepare for the Year of the Eucharist by meditating on the Eucharistic discourse of Jesus in the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel; by inviting family and friends to join them at Mass and Adoration; and by reflecting on “the importance of receiving the Lord in the Eucharist”.
Renewing and strengthening faith
Recognizing the challenges that the Church faces in our times, Cardinal O’Malley says, “In the Year of the Eucharist we all have the opportunity to renew and strengthen our faith and our closeness to the Lord”.
Concluding his letter, Cardinal O’Malley writes, “Our lives are a gift of God’s gratuitous love, and the Eucharist is the most profound symbol of His love for us. Jesus comes to us in humility, in littleness, so that no one need be afraid or unsure of His acceptance”.