Skip to comments.Gift Of Life, Gift Eternal: The Most Holy Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
Posted on 08/20/2006 7:57:05 PM PDT by Straight Vermonter
Gift Of Life, Gift Eternal:
The Most Holy Eucharist
and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
Pastoral Letter to the Faithful
Most Reverend Salvatore R. Matano
Bishop of Burlington
August 15th, 2006
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Among the principal duties of the Diocesan Bishop, there is the mandate to teach and to instruct the faithful. This is truly an awesome responsibility, but one greatly aided by the Church's Magisterium and the guidance of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. Following upon this episcopal duty, I wish to share with you some reflections upon the greatest treasure we have, the gift of the Most Holy Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I pray that my words may be an occasion for a renewed love of Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament, and that those estranged from the Church will return home to the Father's House.
The Gift of Presence
Over the years many people have crossed our lives. At moments of joy and sorrow, rejoicing and disappointment, certain persons come to mind who supported us and encouraged us, not necessarily by words but simply by their presence. "He who has never struggled with his fellow creatures is a stranger to half the sentiments of mankind." (Adam Ferguson, An Essay on the History of Civil Society, 1767). Yes, true friends are always present to us in those times both convenient and inconvenient, when we are praised and when we are criticized, when we are welcomed and when we are scorned. Thus, in the Book of Ecclesiasticus we read:
"A faithful friend is a sure shelter,
whoever finds one
has found a rare treasure.
A faithful friend is something beyond
price, there is no measuring
In truth, as relational beings we need the support of others. As believers, we have the greatest support in the eternal presence of Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist. Through the Eu-charist, Jesus has remained faithful to His promise. "And know that I am with you always; yes to the end of time." (Matthew 28:20).
In our Catholic faith, the Most Holy Eucharist is our greatest treasure. The Holy Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life. The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ Himself." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1324).
Renewal of the Liturgy
With this profound reality before our minds, we readily can understand the concern and desire of Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in union with his brother bishops throughout the world, that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass be celebrated with the greatest reverence. Barely twelve hours after his election, Pope Benedict XVI delivered an address in Latin to the Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel. In that address, His Holiness asked "everyone to intensify in coming months love and devotion to the Eucharistic Jesus and to express in a courageous and clear way the real presence of the Lord, above all through the solemnity and the correctness of the celebrations". (J. J. Fischer, Pope Benedict XVI, a Personal Portrait, 2005). And so it must be because "Everything we have goes on the altar, to be made holy in Christ. The priest makes the connection explicit as he pours the water and wine into the chalices. 'By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, Who humbled Himself to share in our humanity.' This mingling is a rich symbol, suggesting the union of Christ's divine and human nature, the blood and water that poured forth from His side on the cross, and the union of our gifts with the Savior's perfect gift of Himself. That's an offer the Father cannot refuse." (Scott Hahn, The Lamb's Supper, 1999).
Thus, the Bishops of the United States, together with all Bishops throughout the world, have responded to the call of both John Paul II, of beloved memory, and Benedict XVI to provide appropriate translations of the Latin prayers contained in the revised Order of the Mass (Ordo Missae) of the Roman Missal (Missale Romanum). The English translation that eventually will be used in the United States represents an extraordinary effort to provide a translation that is faithful to the Latin text, is understandable to the present age, and is prayerful and solemn. While we await the recognitio, (i.e. confirmation), by the Holy See of the Order of the Mass, it is still appropriate to review how we celebrate and participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the motivation for revising the texts of the Mass.
Among our people there is a deep desire to recapture a sense of the transcendent and awesome nature of the Most Holy Eucharist. One must always remember that the liturgical prayers of the Mass proclaim the doctrine, the creed which is the very foundation of the Catholic faith. We do not create the Mass; the Eucharist is Jesus' gift to us. Jesus is the One Who instituted the Eucharist and now in time has shared this gift of Himself with us. Thus, we approach the Eucharist with the utmost reverence to render worship, adoration, thanksgiving and prayers of supplication to the One who alone is Lord! In view of this sublime reality, we come to understand that it is an extraordinary privilege for us to participate in the Eucharistic sacrifice, the foundation and heart of our redemption in Christ. "The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above the sacraments as 'the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend'." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1374).
When we approach the celebration of Holy Mass or any of the sacraments with this spirit of gratitude, it essentially changes our attitude toward the sacramental nature of the Church. Realizing that in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, Jesus comes to us, we then approach Him not asking what is in it for me, but how can I possibly thank the omnipotent God Who has chosen to come to me! We realize we do not own the sacraments. The sacraments, the Most Holy Eucharist, belong to God who graciously invites us to participate in His life through these personal encounters with Him.
It is truly proper, then, that the prayers of the Mass authentically, prayerfully and solemnly reflect the divine reality which they signify. Addressing the need for language that is both transcendent and understandable, vertical and appropriately horizontal, inclusive and theologically accurate, has not been an easy task but a very necessary one. In his address to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at the Annual Spring Meeting, held in Los Angeles in June 2006, Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, Chairman of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), commented:
"The version of Mass that we currently use is clearly far from perfect. Those of you who celebrate Mass in both Spanish and English will know only too well the difference in richness between the two texts. The then bishops of ICEL recognized that from the beginning, and they knew that a revision would be needed. There was an urgent feeling in the early 1970s that the liturgy should be made available to the people as soon as possible, and the work was rushed. The revisiting of this was delayed for practical reasons, but also for ideological ones that caused many bishops grave concern, and that is sometimes forgotten. The chief preoccupation in many minds was, of course, that the liturgy be brought closer to the people. This aim could, and sometimes did, obscure the other aim, which was to preserve and transmit our inherited liturgical tradition and bring our people closer to that. During the initial stages of consultation on the third edition of the Missale Romanum, two theologians wrote to me, quite independently, and shared with me their belief that the Mass texts we currently use had severely diminished our appreciation of the richness of Eucharistic theology. This is clearly something to which we, as bishops, should be sensitive. The Holy Father said something similar during the course of last year's Synod of Bishops."
An Important Moment
in the Life of the Church
As we await the recognitio, confirmation, by the Holy See of the improved liturgical texts that have been proposed, we stand at an important moment in the life of the Church. We have been given the opportunity to rekindle our love for Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist and to take very seriously the implementation of all that is needed and required for the proper celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Knowing the great love you have for the Mass, a love which I have experienced in my many pastoral visits throughout our Diocese, I know you will work in cooperation with your pastors in this endeavor of faith.
Throughout this renewal let us pray the prayer of Saint Thomas Aquinas:
"As one infirm, I approach
the balm of life,
as one begrimed
the fountain of mercy,
as one blind
the light of eternal splendor,
as one poor and needy
the Lord of heaven and earth."
(Robert Anderson and Johann Moser,
Devoutly I Adore Thee, The Prayers
and Hymns of Saint Thomas Aquinas,1993).
The task of translating the Latin texts of the Mass into English has given birth to the privileged opportunity to renew our entire celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice as a community and as individual participants. You will recall that the already published and revised General Instruction of the Roman Missal and the subsequent Instruction, Redemptionis Sacramentum, (Sacrament of Redemption) issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on March 25, 2004, repeat the constant teaching of the Catholic Church, namely that "The Most Holy Eucharist is the most august sacrament, in which Christ the Lord Himself is contained, offered and received, and by which the Church constantly lives and grows. The Eucharistic Sacrifice, the memorial of the death and resurrection of the Lord, in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated over the centuries, is the summit and source of all Christian worship and life; it signifies and effects the unity of the people of God and achieves the building up of the Body of Christ". (The Code of Canon Law, canon 897).
When His Holiness, Pope John Paul II declared The Year of the Most Holy Eucharist with his Encyclical Letter, Mane Nobiscum Domine (Stay With Us, Lord), of October 7, 2004, he did so realizing that it was very necessary to recapture the transcendent and awesome nature of the Most Holy Eucharist. The sad and continuing decline of those faithfully attending Mass each week gave evidence that a significant number of those who claim to be Catholics do not appreciate the reality of Christ's real presence at every celebration of the Eucharist. In fact, recent polls, while perhaps questionable, are no less disturbing when they indicate the high percentage of Catholics who do not understand the theology of the real presence or simply do not believe that Christ is really present in the elements of bread and wine which become His very body, blood, soul and divinity at the consecration of the Mass. "In the institution narrative, the power of the words and the action of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, make sacramentally present under the species of bread and wine Christ's body and blood, his sacrifice offered on the cross once for all." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1353). "And the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called this transubstantiation." (Council of Trent, Session XIII, Decretum de ss. Eucharistia, Chapter 4, DS 1642; cf. also John Paul II, Encyclical Letter, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, No. 39).
In the practice of religion today, it appears the horizontal dimension seems to have overshadowed the vertical dimension in our relationship with God. Simple acts of reverence such as genuflecting and kneeling as prescribed in the liturgical law of the Church, absent the physical ailments of some which make this not possible, have been ignored at times, perhaps reflecting a certain unconscious hesitation to assume a posture of humility before God and mistakenly believing that one has become God's equal. And yet, the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that "Before so great a sacrament, the faithful can only echo humbly and with ardent faith the words of the Centurion: 'Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed.' " (No. 1386).
Thus, any liturgical renewal must begin with an understanding of the divine and sacramental nature of the Most Holy Eucharist. When we come together for Holy Mass, we do not gather simply to form a community, but rather, as a community, to profess our faith in Jesus Christ and as the Church instructs us to give:
- thanksgiving and praise to the Father for all that God has made good, beautiful, and just in creation and in humanity. (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, Numbers 1358-1359).
Age Meets Age
In celebrating the Most Holy Eucharist, we unite ourselves to those who have gone before us reaching back to apostolic times. "If from the beginning Christians have celebrated the Eucharist and in a form whose substance has not changed despite the great diversity of times and liturgies, it is because we know ourselves to be bound by the command the Lord gave on the eve of His passion: 'Do this in remembrance of me.'" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1356). The Eucharist indeed belongs to Christ who graciously shares His presence with us through His bride, the Church. The Eucharist is not a mere cultural phenomenon restricted by certain historical periods or philosophies, but rather it transcends all time and all political and social ideologies; it finds its origin in Christ.
As early as the second century we have the witness of Saint Justin Martyr who outlines the order of the Eucharistic celebration. Recorded in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we have the account of Saint Justin Martyr writing to the pagan emperor Antoninus Pius around the year 155, explaining what Christians did "on the day we call the day of the sun" (No. 1345). Here one finds outlined the essential elements of the Mass that we are celebrating in our own time.
Indeed so sacred is the Mass that it is not to be experimented with according to whim or fancy. None of us has the right to alter what the Church has preserved down through the ages in fulfillment of Christ's mandate: "Do this in remembrance of me." The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium, No. 21), clearly notes that the Church herself has no power over those things which were established by Christ Himself and which constitute an unchangeable part of the Liturgy. And in more recent times this point is underlined in the Instruction, Redemptionis Sacramentum:
"The observance of the norms published by the authority of the Church requires conformity of thought and of word, of external action and application of the heart. A merely external observation of norms would obviously be contrary to the nature of the Sacred Liturgy, in which Christ Himself wishes to gather His Church, so that together with Himself she will be 'one body and one spirit' (1 Cor. 12: 12-13; Eph. 4:4). For this reason, external action must be illuminated by faith and charity, which unite us with Christ and with one another and engender love for the poor and the abandoned. The liturgical words and rites, moreover, are a faithful expression, matured over the centuries, of the understanding of Christ, and they teach us to think as He Himself does (cf. Phil. 2,5); by conforming our minds to these words, we raise our hearts to the Lord." (No. 5) "For the Sacred Liturgy is quite intimately connected with the principles of doctrine, so that the use of unapproved texts and rites necessarily leads either to the attenuation or the disappearance of that necessary link between the lex orandi and the lex credendi" ("the mandate of prayer and the mandate of faith") (No. 10).
These themes present a powerful and serious exhortation to all who have the privilege of preparing for liturgical celebrations. In parishes, in cooperation with and under the guidance and direction of the pastor and parochial vicar, liturgical committees are really centers for evangelization in which the members work to assure that the sacramental celebrations, culminating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, are celebrated with solemnity, devotion, reverence and a true spirit of unity, which unites the local Church to the Church Universal. "Every celebration of the Eucharist is performed in union not only with the proper Bishop, but also with the Pope, with the episcopal order, with all the clergy, and with the entire people. Every valid celebration of the Eucharist expresses this universal communion with Peter and with the whole Church " (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, No. 39).
The quality of music, which reflects and appreciates the Church's rich heritage over the centuries and is not restricted by only one period; the décor of the Church which identifies it as a holy place, a consecrated place, the House of God with the tabernacle clearly visible; and the careful preparation of lectors, servers and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion all enhance the richness of the Church's liturgies and inspire the faithful to participate with mind and heart. Above all, we priests who act in persona Christi, in the very person of Christ, have the solemn obligation to celebrate the sacraments and the Eucharist with the greatest reverence and devotion, calling to mind again and again what an extraordinary privilege and gift we have been given by Christ the Eternal High Priest. In this regard, the Church reminds us that:
"It is the right of all Christ's faithful that the Liturgy, and in particular the celebration of Holy Mass, should truly be as the Church wishes, according to her stipulations as prescribed in the liturgical books and in other laws and norms it is the community's right that the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist should be carried out in such a manner that it truly stands out as a sacrament of unity, to the exclusion of all blemishes and actions that might engender divisions and factions in the Church."
(Redemptionis Sacramentum, 12).
The instructions of the Church about the Most Holy Eucharist are more than disciplinary norms; rather they are grounded in the very mandate of Jesus Himself: "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you." (John 6:53). Our life, our hope, our strength are derived from the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist in union with the whole Church. Acknowledging this extraordinary reality of faith, we must all work together to foster constantly and everywhere devotion to Christ in the Eucharist. We must be evangelizers in our homes, parishes and communities, inviting those estranged from the Church to come home! With the apostle Thomas, every Catholic institution must find its heart in the Most Holy Eucharist and repeat again and again the words of Thomas, "My Lord and My God!"
Our belief in the real presence of Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity, the very One Whom we receive in Holy Communion, is what truly identifies us as Catholics, firmly uniting us with our ancestors in the faith who first celebrated the Eucharist in the very shadow of Christ's earthly ministry. Realizing this extra ordinary and supernatural reality, certain demands and responsibilities are placed upon us. What then are these responsibilities placed upon the Catholic community in its worship of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament?
First and foremost, it means faithfully attending Holy Mass every weekend: not twice or three times a month but every weekend; not only when Religious Instructions are conducted during the academic year, but throughout the entire year. Deliberately to ignore the personal invitation of Jesus to be with Him and to partake of His body, blood, soul and divinity in Holy Communion is, in the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "a grave sin" (No. 2181). If we can say "no" to Jesus, how easy it becomes to say no to any person or institution and to break or dishonor any commitment. All that we do as Catholics stems from our attachment to the Eucharist. In an age where so many are well-educated, it seems ironic that people so easily miss Holy Mass, indicative of a lack of understanding of the Eucharistic sacrifice established by Christ Himself.
Our churches are not museums or mere testimonies to the past. They are the Houses of the Lord where the Holy Mass is celebrated. If they are to remain open, the love for Christ present in the Eucharist must be manifested by those believers that fill the pews of these churches. The full participation of the laity is a true sign of hope, a sign of the active presence of Christ among His people. The success of a parish depends upon the support of its members and their fidelity and devotion to the Holy Eucharist. We all know that no one is attracted to failure! How depressing it is to see empty Churches that once were filled. These occurrences should upset us all and cause us to renew our parishes through genuine and profound attachment to the Holy Eucharist demonstrated by weekly attendance at Holy Mass. In his Apostolic Letter, Dies Domini (The Lord's Day), of May 31, 1998, John Paul II wrote: "Since the Eucharist is the very heart of Sunday, it is clear why, from the earliest centuries, the Pastors of the Church have not ceased to remind the faithful of the need to take part in the liturgical assembly. 'Leave everything on the Lord's Day', urges the third century text known as the Didascalia, 'and run diligently to your assembly, because it is your praise of God. Otherwise, what excuse will they make to God, those who do not come together on the Lord's Day to hear the word of life and feed on the divine nourishment which lasts forever?'" (No. 46).
Belief in the Eucharistic presence of Christ also means that we approach the Holy Eucharist properly disposed, that is, not conscious of serious sin that requires that we avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Confession, before the reception of Holy Communion. The examination of conscience before the worthy reception of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist is a serious obligation for all Catholics. (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1454).
The Year of the Most Holy Eucharist, concluded in October 2005, placed a special obligation upon parents. Recalling that at the Baptism of their children parents were challenged to be the first and the best of teachers of their children in the ways of the Catholic faith, that privileged year of the Eucharist reminded parents that this is an ongoing responsibility. By their good example, parents are the ones who first bring their children to the House of the Lord. To deprive children of this extraordinary encounter with the Lord is to deprive them of the very essence of human life, namely life's natural instinct to commune with the Divine. The evangelist, Saint John, strongly confirms that we are to "understand what we worship." Our children must understand Whom we worship, Jesus the Christ, and that we indeed do worship "in Spirit and in truth."
In his Encyclical Letter, Mane Nobiscum Domine Pope John Paul II encouraged Eucharistic Devotion outside of Mass. This includes making visits to Church whenever possible and the celebration of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Programs are good, and at times even necessary, but there is no substitute for our worship of Christ present in the Most Holy Eucharist. Pastors should encourage Eucharistic devotions which become a source of renewed strength in the life of the parish.
Practical and Pastoral Considerations
Allow me now to mention some practical and pastoral situations that presently pertain to the celebration of the Mass, some of which refer to the concerns of some among the faithful regarding the proper precautions that can be taken to avoid transmitting colds or other ailments especially during the flu season. To this end, let us recall the following applicable instructions contained in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
First, regarding The Lord's Prayer, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal simply states that the celebrant invites the faithful to join in the prayer "and all the faithful say it with him." There is no mention of holding hands during the prayer. (Thus, these practices should not be imposed upon the faithful.) (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 81). Also, it is the priest whose hands are extended during the Our Father; the faithful are not instructed to extend their hands. (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 152).
Secondly, pertaining to the Rite of Peace, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal states that "each person offers the sign of peace only to those who are nearest and in a sober manner." (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 82). Thus, the handshake is not specified as the sign of expressing peace. One may give a simple nod and say, "Peace be with you," with the response of the other being, "And also with you."
Thirdly, and most importantly, as relates to the distribution of Holy Communion under both species, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal states: "Above all, they (the pastors) should instruct the faithful that the Catholic faith teaches that Christ, whole and entire, and the true Sacrament, is received even under only one species, and consequently that as far as the effects are concerned, those who receive under only one species are not deprived of any of the grace that is necessary for salvation." (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 81). Thus, while acknowledging that "Holy Communion has a fuller form as a sign when it is distributed under both kinds," the General Instruction of the Roman Missal does not mandate the reception of Holy Communion under both species and notes that distribution under one species is not to be regarded in any way as deficient.
At the same time, I wish to take this occasion to point out that the General Instruction of the Roman Missal states that "The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the diocesan Bishop determines otherwise." (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 43). While it has been the practice to remain standing, I now ask that we return to the normal practice of kneeling after the Agnus Dei as stipulated in the Instruction. The 2005 Synod of Bishops in Rome concluded with identifying very emphatically the need for a strong Eucharistic renewal. Part of this renewal pertains to the manner in which we reverence Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Among the Synod's recommendations there is the call to remind the faithful of the importance of genuflection and other gestures of adoration before the consecrated host. (cf. November 4, 2005 issue of The Vermont Catholic Tribune, pages 1 and 9). Likewise, following the Preface, the faithful kneel throughout the entire Eucharistic Prayer which concludes with the doxology (Through him Amen).
Let us also recall that "When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord from the minister. The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant. When Holy Communion is received under both kinds, the sign of reverence is also made before receiving the Precious Blood." (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 160).
Relating to the proper manner of receiving Holy Communion, I wish to point out that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has reaffirmed on several occasions "that communicants who choose to kneel are not to be denied Holy Communion on these grounds. Indeed, the faithful should not be imposed upon nor accused of disobedience or of acting illicitly when they kneel to receive Holy Communion." (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Prot. N. 1342/03/L, Rome, 25 October 2003).
Let us also call to mind that each Church is God's house where many come to seek peace in prayer and recollection. Reverential quiet should always be observed so as not to disturb others in prayer. We have so many places to gather socially, but so few places removed from the noise of the world for contemplation. In charity, we must keep the Lord's house a quiet place where heart speaks to heart, where burdens are unloaded, tears quietly shed and prayers offered to the One Who alone fully knows us and understands us. Music rehearsals and other preparations should not disturb the prayers of our sisters and brothers. Let us be conscious of the gifts of silence, meditation and reverence as part of the Christian life. These are intended not as restrictions but as paths to greater union with the Eucharistic Christ.
The above considerations are intended to assist us all in rendering our very best at the celebration of His divine Eucharistic presence. Our participation, our attention, reverence and even our manner of appropriate dress all contribute to the dignity and solemnity of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In particular, the adult community bears a great responsibility in assuring that good example is given to our young people in their worship of God. How we conduct ourselves in God's House speaks volumes to our young people. Let us also give them our very best. They are worthy of an authentic and rich religious inheritance.
I am sure that you join with me in desiring to assure that the reverence due to Christ present in the Most Blessed Sacrament is manifested clearly in our churches. If the Apostle Paul tells us that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (Philippians 2: 9-10), how much more so must we bend the knee in His very presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
At this special moment in the life of our Diocese, daily let us call to mind the words of Pope John Paul II: never forget that Jesus in the tabernacle wants you at his side, so that he can fill your hearts with the experience of his friendship, which alone gives meaning and fulfillment to your lives. (Mane Nobiscum Domine, No. 30).
My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, I urge you to continue in your deep and personal devotion to Our Lord in the Eucharist. It is in knowing and in loving the Jesus of the Eucharist that you will have the means to understand life, to find security, to be a people with roots. It is Christ who sustains and supports us in the many trials, changes, and happenings of our human existence. Our ancestors in the faith have given us an example of a faith that is eternal, a faith that unites heaven and earth, a faith where heaven and earth meet in the Holy Eucharist.
How difficult it would be to try to go it alone to make sense of life on our own. But the Christ of the Eucharist has not left us orphans; He has called us by name. Our Lord has extended the invitation: Come to me all you who find life burdensome, and I will refresh your souls! Recalling the motto of both Saint Francis de Sales and John Henry Newman, Cor ad cor loquitur, the heart speaks to the heart, let us respond to Christs invitation and open our hearts to Him present in the gift eternal, the gift of life, the Most Holy Eucharist.
United in faith and invoking the intercession of Mary, our Mother and Patroness of our Diocese under the title of the Immaculate Conception, I remain
Devotedly yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend Salvatore R. Matano
Bishop of Burlington
From the Diocese of Burlington, on 15 August,
the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
in the year of Our Lord, 2006.
Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington
This is our first pastoral letter from Bishop Matano. I have been very impressed with this man and I am even more impressed after reading this letter.
I have hopes that we may become an orthodox diocese for the first time in my lifetime.
WOW. I was born in Vt. I can only say I am amased at such an event. This sounds like VT back in the 1950's of Catholic Orthopraxis. When will the Burlington Free Press demand an apology?