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Holy Trinity Sunday in the Jubilee 2000

Papa San Giovanni Paolo II's words at the Angelus
St Peter's Square, Sunday 18th June 2000 - also in French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. Dearest Brothers and Sisters,
We have reached the heart of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. In the days ahead we will observe several of its peak moments with the liturgy. They disclose the profound meaning of the Jubilee event. In the space of a week we are celebrating two solemnities - the Most Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi - that fully manifest the nature of this Holy Year, which is both Trinitarian and Eucharistic.

Prepared by three years of reflection on Christ, the Spirit and the Father, the Jubilee's aim is to give thanks and praise to the divine Trinity, from whom everything in the world and in history comes and to whom everything returns (cf Tertio millennio adveniente, 55).

But "the way", "the door" of access to the mystery of God's Love is one alone: Jesus, who was born, died and rose again to give life to every man. Before dying on the Cross, victim of expiation for our sins, He left to the Church the memorial of his redeeming sacrifice: the sacrament of the Eucharist. For this reason, the Year 2000 cannot be other than "intensely Eucharistic", and Rome is thus hosting the International Eucharistic Congress, which will begin precisely this evening.

2. "In the sacrament of the Eucharist the Saviour, incarnate of Mary's womb twenty centuries ago, continues to offer himself to humanity as the source of divine life". Here is the meaning of the theme chosen for the Eucharistic Congress of the Year 2000: "Jesus Christ, the only Saviour of the world, Bread for the new life."

This evening I will solemnly open the Congress with the celebration of Vespers in St Peter's Square. The week will be filled with moments of prayer, art and celebration. Among the many events, I mention in particular the conference on "The Eucharist and the Face of Christ" and the Jubilee of Italian catechists.

Next Thursday we will celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord: from the Basilica of St John Lateran the traditional Eucharistic procession will make its way to St Mary Major. On Sunday evening St Peter's Square will host the great concluding celebration, called the "Statio Orbis", as if to indicate that humanity pauses before the greatest of marvels: the God who becomes food, under the appearances of bread and wine, to feed the whole world.

3. Where his senses and reason cannot reach, it is faith that supports man in approaching this mystery. The creature, who more than all others is teacher of faith, is Mary Most Holy. Before the abyss of God's Love, she teaches us trusting abandonment; before her crucified and risen Son, she invites us to enter in communion with Him.

Guide us thus Mary, so that we may live these days of grace fully and fruitfully."

After the Angelus

"I extend a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, in particular to the group from Holy Family Academy in Manassas, Virginia. Upon all of you I invoke the abundant gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Saludo con afecto a los peregrinos de lengua española, y de modo especial a los miembros de la Obra de la Iglesia y a los fieles de Murcia. Que vuestra visita a Roma en este Año Jubilar os mueva a recibir con espíritu renovado la gracia y la misericordia del Dios uno y trino.

Saluto cordialmente i pellegrini italiani. Mi rivolgo anzitutto ai fedeli dell'Arcidiocesi di Pesaro, guidati dall'Arcivescovo Monsignor Angelo Bagnasco. Carissimi, conservate viva la grazia di questo Giubileo, sorgente di pace e di perdono per voi e per quanti incontrate.

Un caro benvenuto al gruppo giunto da Loreto con una simbolica fiaccola, quasi prolungando il pellegrinaggio da Macerata a Loreto; saluto, inoltre, i fedeli di Brogliano (Vicenza), Vedano al Lambro e Sesto San Giovanni, Caprarica di Lecce, Ruffano e Supersano; come pure l'Istituto "Piccirillo" di Portico di Caserta ed i gruppi ciclistici "Samaratese" e "La Ferroviaria Italiana".

Una parola di saluto, infine, ai medici che parteciperanno ad un convegno a Cagliari e agli operatori sanitari accompagnati dai Padri Camilliani. Tutti benedico di cuore."

Pope St John Paul II's homily at Vespers on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
at the Opening of the XLVII Eucharistic Congress
St Peter's, Sunday 18th June 2000 - also in French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call" (Eph 4, 4).

One body! At these solemn Vespers, with which we open the International Eucharistic Congress, it is on the Apostle Paul's words that our attention is particularly focused this evening. One Body: our thoughts turn first of all to the Body of Christ, Bread of life!

Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary 2000 years ago, wanted in the Last Supper to leave us his Body and his Blood, sacrificed for the whole of humanity. Around the Eucharist, the sacrament of his love for us, is brought together the Church, his mystical Body. Here: Christ and the Church, a single body, a unique great mystery. Mysterium fidei!

2. Ave verum corpus, natum de Maria Virgine! - Hail, true Body of Christ, born of the Virgin Mary! Born in the fullness of time, born of woman, born under the law (cf Gal 4, 4).

In the heart of the Great Jubilee and at the beginning of this week dedicated to the Eucharistic Congress, we return to that historic event which marked the fulfilment of our salvation. Let us kneel as the shepherds did before the manger in Bethlehem; like the Magi who came from the East, let us adore Christ, the Saviour of the world. Like the aged Simeon, let us hold him in our arms, blessing God because our eyes have seen the salvation which He has prepared in the presence of all peoples: Light to illuminate the Gentiles and glory of the people of Israel (cf Lk 2, 30-32).

Let us retrace the stages of his earthly life to Calvary, to the glory of the Resurrection. In the days ahead, it will be in the Upper Room especially that we will pause to reflect on what Christ Jesus did and suffered for us.

3. "In supremae nocte cenae ... se dat suis manibus". At the Last Supper, while celebrating the Passover with his disciples, Christ offered himself for us. Yes, gathered for the International Eucharistic Congress, the Church returns in these days to the Upper Room and remains there in thoughtful adoration. She relives the great mystery of the Incarnation, focusing her gaze on the Sacrament in which Christ gave us the memorial of his Passion: "This is my body which is given for you..... This cup ... poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood" (Lk 22, 19-20).

Ave, verum corpus ... vere passum, immolatum!

We adore you, true Body of Christ, present in the Sacrament of the new and eternal Covenant, living memorial of the redeeming sacrifice. You, Lord, are the living Bread come down from heaven, who gives life to man! On the Cross you have given your flesh for the life of the world (cf Jn 6, 51): in cruce pro homine!

In front of so sublime a mystery the human mind is astonished. But comforted by divine grace, it dares to repeat with faith:

Adoro te devote, latens Deitas,
quae sub his figuris vere latitas.

I adore you devoutly, O Godhead unseen,
under these appearances really lie hidden.

4. "One body, and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call" (Eph 4, 4).

In these words, which we have just heard, the Apostle Paul speaks of the Church, the community of believers gathered together in the unity of one body, enlivened by the same Spirit and sustained by sharing the same hope. Paul is thinking of the reality of Christ's Mystical Body, which finds in his Eucharistic Body its own vital centre from which the energy of grace flows to all its members.

The Apostle affirms: "The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread" (1 Cor 10, 16-17). Thus all of us, the baptized, become members of that body and therefore individually members one of another (cf 1 Cor 12, 27; Rom 12, 5). With heartfelt gratitude let us thank God, who made the Eucharist the sacrament of our full communion with Him and with our brothers.

5. This evening, with the solemn Vespers of the Most Blessed Trinity, we are beginning an unusually full week which will see Bishops and priests, religious and lay people from every part of the world gathered round the Eucharist. It will be an extraordinary experience of faith and an eloquent testimony of ecclesial communion.

I greet you, dear brothers and sisters who are taking part in this Jubilee event, which can be regarded as the heart of the entire Holy Year. I extend my greeting in particular to the faithful of the diocese of Rome, our diocese, which, under the guidance of the Cardinal Vicar and the Auxiliary Bishops, and with the collaboration of the clergy, the religious and many generous lay people, has prepared the various aspects of the Eucharistic Congress. It is ready to ensure that the Congress will run smoothly in the days ahead, conscious of the honour it has in hosting this central event of the Great Jubilee.

I would also like to extend a special greeting to the many confraternities meeting in Rome for a significant "Fraternity Walk". Their presence, made more impressive by the artistic crosses and precious sacred images carried on majestic "machines", creates a worthy setting for the Eucharistic celebration which has brought us here together.

On this piazza converge the minds and hearts of so many of the faithful dispersed throughout the world. I invite everyone, individual believers and ecclesial communities from every corner of the earth, to share with us these moments of sublime Eucharistic spirituality. I especially ask children and the sick, as well as contemplative communities, to pray for the happy and fruitful success of this world Eucharistic meeting.

6. The Eucharistic Congress also invites us to renew our faith in the real presence of Christ in the sacrament of the altar: Ave, verum corpus!

At the same time, we receive the urgent appeal for the reconciliation and unity of all believers: "one body .... one faith, one baptism!" Divisions and disagreements still rend the body of Christ and prevent Christians of different confessions from sharing the one Eucharistic Bread. Therefore, let us pray together for the healing power of divine mercy, which is superabundant in this Jubilee Year.

And You, O Christ, the only Head and Saviour, draw to Yourself all your members. Unite them and transform them in your love, so that the Church may shine with that supernatural beauty which is resplendent in the saints of every era and nation, in the martyrs, in the confessors, in the virgins and in the countless witnesses to the Gospel!

O Iesu dulcis, o Iesu pie,
O Iesu, fili Mariae! Amen!"