God is the world's greatest need, Pope tells Eucharistic congress

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Pope Benedict celebrating Mass at Cuatro Vientos Airfield in Madrid, Spain. Credit: Hanna Grabowska/ Official WYD Flickr.com-Madrid11

Pope Benedict XVI told 100,000 participants inan Italian Eucharistic congress that the world needs, more thananything else, to recover a sense of God's loving sovereignty overcreation.

“It is the primacy of God which wemust, first and foremost, restore in our world and our lives,” PopeBenedict said at the closing Mass for the gathering held in Ancona,“because it is this primacy which allows us to rediscover the truthof who we are; and it is in knowing and following the will of Godthat we discover our own good.”

History, the Pope noted, “hasdramatically shown us” the failures that result from a “convictionthat we can do everything alone, without God.” He said this“illusion” soon gives way to “disappointment, creating disquietand fear.”

Pope Benedict traveled to Ancona fromhis summer residence Castel Gandolfo on the morning of Sept. 11. Hecelebrated Mass at the city's shipyard, marking the end of the 25thItalian National Eucharistic Congress on the theme of “theEucharist for Daily Life.”

In his homily, the Pope described howthe Eucharist restores the link between God and the world, throughthe “total gift Christ makes of himself” to those who receivehim.

Through the sacrament, “daily life”can “become a place for spiritual development,” where thefaithful can “experience the primacy of God in all circumstances.”

The Family and the Priesthood

Later in the day, the Pope met withpriests and families of the Archdiocese of Ancona in the San CiriacoCathedral. He observed that both marriage and the priesthood “havetheir roots in the love of Christ,” giving both states in life the“shared mission” of “ bearing witness to His love and making itpresent in service to the community.”

He urged priests and married couplesto reject a limited view of the family as “a mere recipient ofpastoral care” from the clergy. In fact, he said, the family is“the primary place for human and Christian education and,therefore, the greatest ally of priestly ministry.”

Likewise, “the priest's closeness tothe family helps him to a fuller awareness of the profound truthabout himself and his own mission.”

“What is important, then, is to integrate and harmonize priestlyministry with the true Gospel of marriage and the family, in order toachieve effective fraternal communion.”

And the Eucharist, which “drives the Church's activities,”must be the “center and source of this unity” between differentvocations, the Pope said.

Engaged Couples

From the cathedral, Pope Benedict traveled to the city's Piazzadel Plebiscito, to address a group of young couples preparing formarriage. He described the challenges of their generation in termsdrawn from the New Testament.

“In some ways ours is not an easy time, especially for you youngpeople,” the Pope observed. “The table is full of delicacies but,like the Gospel narrative of the wedding feast of Cana, the wineseems to have run out. In particular, the difficulty in findingstable work extends a veil of uncertainty over the future.”

“The wine is also lacking at the feast for a culture which tendsto ignore clear moral criteria,” he said. “In theirdisorientation, people tend to move individually and autonomously ...Thus, even fundamental decisions become uncertain and remainperennially revocable.”

In this difficult atmosphere, the Pope said that young peopleshould “never lose hope.”

“Keep your courage, even in moments of difficulty, remain firmin the faith,” he told them. “Do not lose heart before theshortcomings that seem to rob the feast of life of its joy.”

After the meeting, Pope Benedict left for the port of Ancona, fromwhich he traveled by helicopter back to Castel Gandolfo.

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