Fifty years ago the 38th International Eucharistic Congress was held in Mumbai at the Oval Maidan in Nov-Dec 1964. To commemorate that memorable event His Eminence Cardinal Oswald Gracias declared this year (started in November 2013) as the Year of the Eucharist. What made that event more memorable was the visit of His Holiness Pope Paul VI to India, the first Pope to visit our country.The roads of Mumbai were packed with people of all races wanting to take a glimpse of this Holy Man of the Christians who was coming. The Oval Maidan and the surrounding buildings were simply jampacked.
The Eucharist, as the II Vatican Council stated is the source and summit of all Christian life and activity- that all the activity of the Church and of her members revolve round It and draws inspiration and strength fromIt.
Hence we need to meditate and reflect on the Holy Eucharist which is the Sacrament of our salvation that Christ accomplished on the Cross. At the same time, it is a sacramental sacrifice of Thanksgiving, Memorial and Presence – of thanksgiving and praise to the Father; a sacrificial Memorial of Christ and the Presence of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s the Paschal banquet being celebrated now that prepares us and looks forward to the Heavenly Banquet that is to come (CCC no: 1356 – 1382). All this will be explained in the months to come.
Another aspect to be seen are the fruits of Holy Communion. It increases and strengthens our union with Christ, separates us from sin, brings about the unity of the whole Mystical Body of Christ, the Church and the unity of Christians. Finally it is the pledge of the glory to come (CCC nos; 1391-1405).
To make the Eucharist more meaningful in our lives and in our communities, we suggest two things that our parishioners can do.
On the First Friday of the month, instead of the Half-Hour of Adoration at 7.00 pm, we shall have the evening Mass at 7.30 pm followed byanHoly Hour from 8.00 pm – 9.00 pm. This is to enable more parishioners to attend since they come late from work. And not to make it a burden, we shall allot (and announce) different SCC communities to attend this hour of adoration. Of course the Holy Hour will be open to all, but we hope that parishioners of the allotted community will come and benefit by it.
The second suggestion is this – that each community decides to come and spend an half-hour of adoration once a week on a day and at a time convenient to it, and to pray for the needs of their families,of their communities and for the needs of the Church and the world. Choosing your own convenient day and time, each community will get a chance once in four months. Both suggestions are valid only for this year, but if you find it meaningful and worthwhile, you may carry on in the years to come. May these efforts help our parishioners to have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Eucharist and may the celebration of the Eucharist enable us to become vibrant Eucharistic communities, communities of faith, hope and love.
Fr. Michael Goveas