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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Friday, June 15, 2012
Eleventh Sunday of the Year 17th June 2012
Believe it…or not?

As we gather to celebrate Mass this weekend the 50th Eucharistic Congress is drawing to a close in Ireland. By all accounts and certainly from reading the homilies and catechetical talks given by the Cardinals and Archbishops attending, it has been a most fruitful moment in deepening our understanding as a Church of the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Interestingly, shortly before the Congress began a survey showed that only one in four Catholics in Ireland believe in that Real Presence. A similar survey has not been carried out here but we would all do well to reflect on some of the teaching which has come out of the gathering as we come together for the Mass which the Papal Delegate called, “The most sublime prayer ever known to the world.”

Cardinal Marc Oullet at the opening liturgy said, “Our gathering is an act of faith in the Holy Eucharist, the treasure of the Church, which is essential to her life and to our communion as brothers and sisters in Christ. The Church draws her life from the Eucharist; she receives her own identity from the gift of Christ’s own Body. In communion with His Body, the Church becomes what she receives: she becomes one body with Him in the Spirit of the new and eternal covenant. What a great and marvellous mystery! A mystery of love!”

He continued, “The risen Lord has disappeared from our sight, but His love is closer than ever. His risen Body has acquired new freedom and new properties which make possible the marvel of the Holy Eucharist. By the power of His divine word and Spirit He changes this bread and wine into His own real Body and Blood. As Pope St Leo the Great teaches us: ‘Our Redeemer’s visible presence has passed into the sacraments.’”

And there were also some amazing comments from lay and religious participants, especially after the Blessed Sacrament procession when 12,500 people walked through the streets of Dublin in prayer and adoration. Among them, Sr Mary Dolora from Washington saw the whole experience as an opportunity to pray that love of the Eucharist “may grow and that our faith will deepen in the Church and in the Holy Eucharist because it is the source and summit of our lives.”

It seems to me that our own Forty Hours of Exposition leading up to the solemnity of St Mary Magdalen could also have this effect and I encourage you to sign up for some time of adoration on the sheets at the back of the church. Even if you can’t do a whole hour, do at least call in and say a prayer. Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury reflected on this with the young people gathered in Dublin. Commenting on the importance of the family he said, “I remember my own parents, in the days of my childhood and infancy, so clearly pointing out to me the Real Presence for which we gather at Mass and the visits to the Blessed Sacrament in the church. We must give that encouragement to parents to help them in a very simple and direct way, to share that faith and prayer with their children.”

Indeed, not just parents, but all of us could do with encouragement in that area. May we do it together in a spirit of deep faith in Christ and His sacraments.

Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:54 am