Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist: Cardinal Marc Ouellet will Deliver Final Message

Friday, October 14 2005

(CCCB-Ottawa) … Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec and Primate of Canada, has been elected by his Synod peers as Chairman of the Message Committee for the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist. He will have the honour of addressing the Synod participants as well as Catholics around the world at the end of the Synod being held 2 to 23 October in Rome.

The Cardinal will deliver the message on the eve of the final synodal meeting that currently brings together over 250 Bishops and other experts to discuss the Eucharist. In addition to Cardinal Ouellet, who was personally invited by the Vatican, four other Canadian Bishops are also participating in the Synod: Most Reverend Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Edmonton; Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall; Most Reverend Clément Fecteau, Bishop of Sainte-Anne-de-la Pocatière; and Most Reverend Gerald Wiesner, O.M.I., Bishop of Prince George.

An assembly of the Synod is convened whenever the Pope decides it necessary to consult the Episcopate on an important topic. Each participant is invited to make a presentation of his choice on one of the main themes outlined in the Instrumentum Laboris.

The assembly also meets in language groups, to allow the Bishops to discuss and prepare propositions on which they will later vote. This week, Bishop Durocher was appointed “relator” or secretary and spokesperson for his language group. Each “relator” has the task of formulating and presenting propositions that will be discussed and amended before being finally approved by the Synod. The final text of the propositions is then submitted to a post-Synod advisory committee, which will meet over the coming months. This committee is responsible for drafting the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation that is eventually issued by the Pope following an assembly of the Synod.

Canadian Interventions

At the Synod, the five Canadian Bishops exercised their rights to deliver a six-minute speech, the maximum time allotted for each participant to deliver their personal message.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet restated that evangelization is rooted in the family. “The Year of the Eucharist is a launching ramp for a long term Eucharistic movement that allows the evangelizing of culture beginning with the family, the domestic church. Today's anthropological crisis is manifested in the break up of family and social relationships. Only the Eucharist, the source of Trinitarian communion, can respond to this cultural and social crisis. The assiduous practice of Sunday Mass in the family is the proven and always contemporary way to evangelize culture and society. The preparation of the International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec in 2008 promotes this, in the light of the teachings by John Paul II, who left us in heritage this conviction.”

Bishop Paul-André Durocher spoke on the importance of cultivating the art of celebration. He said this means being attentive to the opportunities for praise and openness to the world that already exist at the heart of the Eucharistic liturgy, as well as developing new formularies for prayer, new prefaces and a new rite of dismissal.

Recalling the Second Vatican Council, Bishop Gerald Wiesner, O.M.I., said there are still many Catholics today “who lack the proper understanding of the Eucharist, and consequently are unable to adequately participate.” Despite the teaching of the Council that the faithful are to be full, conscious and active participants, as demanded by the liturgy itself and by reason of Christian baptism, the Bishop of Prince George said full participation remains a pressing concern that the Church must address.

Bishop Clément Fecteau expressed his hope that theologians would explain the “theology of consecration” to facilitate ecumenical dialogue and to foster better understanding of the Eucharist among Catholics, as well as to help in developing a more appropriate language for catechesis. “It would be helpful to have specialists suggest a revised language on this aspect to help pastors, catechists and faithful achieve a genuine, deeper understanding of the real presence of the Lord in the Eucharist,” he said.

Archbishop Thomas Collins said it was important to rediscover how the early Christian understood the Eucharist. To live authentically as Christians today, we also need an eschatological sense of urgency, he stated. “When we realize that we are hurrying toward an encounter with Christ we are able properly to evaluate the claims of this passing world of ours, and to live each brief moment to the full.  It is above all in the Eucharist that we are made aware of the coming of the Lord, and this should instill in us a sense of saving urgency so that as we are sent out from the celebration we are moved to bring our life into harmony with the Lord whom we have encountered,” he said.

Presentations (Summary of the Presentations)


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