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Year of the Eucharist: a time to get serious

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 Contents - Feb 2005AD2000 February 2005 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Year of the Eucharist: a time to get serious - Michael Gilchrist
Appeal: Missionaries' vital role in helping tsunami victims - Peter Westmore
News: The Church Around the World
The Church in Australia 2005: can the tide be turned? - Michael Gilchrist
Timor Leste: Australia and East Timor: a Timorese Salesian Brother's impressions - Br Marcal Lopes
Education: State Aid: answering the critics' arguments - Fr Matthew Kirby
Religious Life: Faith and Reason: for a true renewal in religious life and the Church - Sr Mary Augustine OP
Events: Thomas More Centre to host US publisher dedicated to Catholic social teachings - Anthony Cappello
Marriage: Why gay marriage is a self-contradiction - Peter Reynolds
Letters: Religion inquiry (letter) - Jeff Tan
Letters: Missal translation (letter) - Norman Wilkinson
Letters: Revival of faith (letter) - Errol P. Duke
Letters: Fiji example (letter) - Tom King
Letters: Catholic youth (letter) - Jim Brown
Letters: Society of St Pius X (letter) - Anthony Bono
Letters: Eternal destiny (letter) - G. Mahoney
Letters: School leavers (letter) - Mrs M.A. Ross
Letters: Numbers of priests (letter) - Frank Mobbs
Letters: Abortion (letter) - Frank Bellet
Letters: Changes in Liturgy (letter) - Valentine Gallagher
Letters: The New Mass (letter) - Fr G.H. Duggan SM
Letters: Ten Commandments (letter) - Arthur Negus
Letters: Message from India (letter) - Fr S. John Joseph
Letters: Books wanted (letter) - Edwin McGrath
Letters: Inspiration (letter) - Brian Harris
Books: Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way, by John Paul II - Richard Egan (reviewer)
Books: Turning Towards the Lord: Orientation in Liturgical Prayer - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: A Christian Apocalypse:The Sexual Abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, 1884-2004 - David Williams (reviewer)
Books: Books to read in 2005
Reflection: Archbishop Hart: Pope John Paul II and the Year of the Eucharist - Archbishop Denis Hart

It is timely that Pope John Paul II issued an Encyclical on the Eucharist in 2004, called for a Year of the Eucharist from October 2004 to 2005, and approved a document - Redemptoris Sacramentum - identifying incorrect practices in the Church's Liturgy for priests and bishops to address.

The past 30 or more years have unfortunately witnessed a lessening of faith in the Real Presence, a decline in reverence at Mass and a reduced appreciation of the essential role of the priesthood. Connected to these, the practice of regular confession has all but disappeared in many places, while serious irregularities are to be found in not a few Mass celebrations.

Archbishop Denis Hart in his reflection piece (page 20) notes a number of aspects of the Eucharist the Holy Father wishes to be encouraged, for example, a greater availability of Eucharistic Adoration. Interestingly, in dioceses where bishops have followed this approach, vocations to the priesthood and religious life have tended to increase.

Another area singled out for attention - itself a cause and a symptom of declining faith in the Real Presence - is the widespread absence of much awareness of the sacred in churches, evident in the decline in reverence towards the tabernacle and the Blessed Sacrament, the relocation of tabernacles to side altars, and the lack of silence before and after Mass. Those wishing to make a thanksgiving are more likely than not to be surrounded by noisy conversations.

Meanwhile, much of the present-day problem goes back to inadequate teaching on the Eucharist in Catholic schools over a long period, including insufficient encouragement of reverence among pupils. Catechetical programs need to be upgraded to bring them more into line with the teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Pope's Encyclical.

  • Michael Gilchrist, Editor, E-mail:

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 18 No 1 (February 2005), p. 2

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