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Pastoral letter on vocations

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The Church as the Body of Christ gathers at the Eucharist and is fed by the Body and Blood of Christ. We become what we eat. For us Catholics it is impossible to exaggerate the centrality of the Eucharist in our spiritual life. It is our lifeline. The Eucharist keeps us connected to our God and to one another. This year is a Eucharistic Year and affords us still another opportunity to reflect on this great sacrament which defines us as Catholics, as a Eucharistic people.

Jesus has described himself as the vine and called His disciples the branches. Without the Eucharist we are cut off from the source and are spiritually a drift. There was a time when a religious culture and strong family ties sustained people in their beliefs, but in today’s world when the believer is cut off from the worshipping community he or she is spiritually at risk.

It behooves all of us to work to be inviters and welcomers to our Eucharistic communities. We must be convinced that Jesus’ command to celebrate the Eucharist (Do this in memory of Me) contains an implicit obligation to reach out to those Catholics who for whatever reason are no longer part of a worshipping community.

The same command: “Do this in memory of me” also obliges us to promote priestly vocations so that the Eucharist can be celebrated. In Christ’s plan for the Church it is the priesthood that allows the Eucharist to be celebrated everywhere and at all times. The priesthood is not a human invention but a gift from God by which God continues to give Himself to His people throughout history.

Participation in the Mass is therefore the height of Christian prayer. We realize there a communion with Christ and with our brothers and sisters that is an anticipation, a foretaste, a realization of the communion that we be fully experienced in the life to come. We can truly say that we receive communion from Christ and with one another and indeed with believers of every place and time.

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