Friday, May 31 2013
To celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Pope Francis has asked for an hour of “worldwide Eucharistic devotion.”
So for the first time in the Church’s history, Catholics all over the world will be gathered before the Eucharist in adoration at the same time, praying for the same intentions as the Pope.
Here in Los Angeles, I will celebrate Mass for Corpus Christi at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels at 8 a.m. Following the Mass, I will lead a procession with the Blessed Sacrament, and then the Sacrament will be exposed for adoration in one of the Cathedral chapels.
All of this will coincide with the start of a holy hour of Eucharistic adoration that Pope Francis will lead in St. Peter’s Basilica at 5 p.m. Rome time.
This time of prayer will be a beautiful witness of the universality of our Catholic Church. It is beautiful to imagine — Jesus Christ will be present and adored in Cathedrals and cloisters, chapels and churches from Iceland to Chile and everywhere to the ends of the earth, from the rising of the sun to its setting.
The Church lives from the Eucharist, which is the living sign of Christ’s love for us, making present his redeeming sacrifice on the Cross. The Eucharist is Christ in his love, giving himself to us as our food and drink, to strengthen us for our journey of faith and our mission of evangelization.
And the Eucharist is always the sign of our unity as one family of God. All of us who share in the Body and Blood of Christ are made one by the Holy Spirit. As St. Paul said, “We, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.”
These are the beautiful mysteries that we celebrate on Corpus Christi. And this year, our new Holy Father has given us a visible symbol of these mysteries.
During this hour of worldwide adoration, our Holy Father wants us to be united with him in praying for two very specific intentions — one for the Church and the other for those in the world in need:
—“For the Church … May the Lord make her ever more obedient to hearing his Word in order to stand before the world ‘ever more beautiful, without stain or blemish, but holy and blameless.’ That through her faithful announcement, the Word that saves may still resonate as the bearer of mercy and may increase love to give full meaning to pain and suffering, giving back joy and serenity.”
—“For those around the world who still suffer slavery and who are victims of war, human trafficking, drug running, and slave labor. For the children and women who are suffering from every type of violence. May their silent scream for help be heard by a vigilant Church so that, gazing upon the crucified Christ, she may not forget the many brothers and sisters who are left at the mercy of violence. Also, for all those who find themselves in economically precarious situations, above all for the unemployed, the elderly, migrants, the homeless, prisoners, and those who experience marginalization. That the Church’s prayer and its active nearness give them comfort and assistance in hope and strength and courage in defending human dignity.”
As we pray together this week, let’s remember these intentions of our Holy Father. In this week of Corpus Christi, let’s also try to make time for adoration and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
Pope Francis has given us a timely reminder that our Christian life and mission depends on a deep personal encounter with the risen Lord in the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is a mystery to be lived. And we are called to be Eucharistic people. We are called to live from the graces we receive in the Eucharist and to make our lives something beautiful that we offer to God.
The love that we receive in the Eucharist is the love that we are called to share with the world. Day by day we are called to grow in holiness and to become an offering more and more acceptable to God. We are called to make our lives a kind of prayer — doing everything for God’s glory and for the good of our brothers and sisters.
So let’s take this beautiful opportunity this Sunday morning — no matter where we are — to unite ourselves with Pope Francis in prayer for the holiness of the Church and for justice for those in need.
And let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary to help unite us as one Body in Christ.