Pope at the closing Mass of the Eucharistic Congress in Bari

Source: FSSPX News


Benedict XVI celebrated the closing Mass at the 24th Italian National Eucharistic Congress at Bari, Apulia in Italy. The Sovereign Pontiff was welcomed by 150,000 people, according to the organizers.

 During his sermon, the pope declared: “The Eucharist, I say again, is the sacrament of unity”. “However, Christians are divided, precisely in the sacrament of unity”. “Here in Bari the city which preserves the relics of Saint Nicholas, a land of encounter with our Christian brothers of the East, I would like to reaffirm my desire to assume, as a fundamental commitment working with all my might, for the reconstruction of the full and visible unity of all those who follow Christ.” “I am aware that for this, manifestations of good will are not enough,” he continued. “We need concrete actions which enter into souls and shake their consciences, inciting everyone to this interior conversion which is the necessary condition for any progress on the path of ecumenism.”

 The Sovereign Pontiff also invited the faithful to “rediscover the joy of the Christian Sunday”. “From a spiritual point of view, the world in which we find ourselves, particularly marked by unbridled consumerism, religious indifference, a secularism closed to transcendence, may seem like a desert”. Benedict XVI then stressed the importance of “participating at the Sunday celebration and being nourished by the Eucharistic bread.” “This is a need for the Christian, in which he is thus able to find the necessary energy for the road we must travel each week”. “We need this bread in order to face the stresses and difficulties of the journey”, he added.

 “The Christ whom we meet in the sacrament is the same here in Bari as in Rome, the same in Europe as in America, in Africa, in Asia, in Oceania,” said the Sovereign Pontiff. “It is the unique and same Christ who is present in the Eucharistic bread in every place on earth,» he said, to loud applause, adding that “we can receive it only in unity”. “The consequence is clear: we can not communicate with our Lord if we do not communicate with each other.”

During Mass, the Gospel was read in Italian and sung in Greek by an Orthodox priest, present at the celebration.