Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pope: blood donors offer indispensable solidarity

Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday called attention to World Blood Donor Day, celebrated on this coming Thursday, June 14th, under the sposorship of the World Health Organization. The Holy Father thanked everyone who gives blood, expressing his great appreciation for that form of solidarity, which, he said, is “indispensable to so many sick people.”

The Pope’s remarks came after the Angelus prayer with the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square.

Speaking ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father recalled the great Eucharistic feast day marked in many places around the world on Sunday: the Solemnity of the Most Precious Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ – the feast of Corpus Domini or Corpus Christi. The Pope discussed the importance of the Corpus Christi feast as a great public act of Eucharistic worship – evidenced especially in the many Eucharistic processions held in parishes and dioceses around the world. He also noted the emphasis the feast places on Eucharistic adoration as a central and integral part of the life of individual Christians, of faith communities and of the whole Church.

A Polish child tries to sleep as Pope Benedict XVIleads the Angelus prayer from the window of his private apartment at the Vatican June 10, 2012.

The Pope returned to discuss the importance of Corpus Christi in his words to the English-speaking pilgrims gathered in the Square:

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present for this Angelus prayer. Today’s Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ celebrates the Lord’s saving presence in the Most Holy Eucharist. At the Last Supper, on the night before his death on the Cross, Jesus instituted the Eucharist as the sacrament of the new and eternal covenant between God and man. May this sacrifice of forgiveness and reconciliation strengthen the Church in faith, unity and holiness. Upon all of you I invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace!

The thoughts of Pope Benedict also turned especially to the Italian communities affected by the recent earthquake in the Emilia Romagna region. In churches, the most sacred place is precisely that in which guards the Eucharist – and the Holy Father noted how, in the many churches that were severely damaged by the quake, the tabernacle in some cases remained under the rubble. 

The Pope spoke of how, with the churches destroyed, communities must for the time being come together for Mass outdoors or in large tents. “It is,” he said, “a situation that highlights even more the importance of being united in the name of the Lord, and the strength that comes from the Eucharistic Bread, also called ‘bread of pilgrims.’” The Pope went on to say, “From the sharing of this bread, there is born and is renewed the ability to share life and property, to carry each other’s burdens, the capacity for hospitality and welcome.”

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