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The Fatima Message And DOMINICAE CENAE

Our Lady of Fatima, and indeed God Himself, through the Message of Fatima, indicated great concern for the proper respect due to the Most Blessed Sacrament, and how we should receive this most august Sacrament, and how even outside of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we should adore Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. We encourage the friends of Our Lady of Fatima to follow Her teaching, and the example of Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia, by making Communions of reparation and by making visits of adoration and reparation to the Most Blessed Sacrament. In particular we encourage the friends of Our Lady to say the prayers of reparation which were given by the Angel at Fatima: "My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love Thee. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, who do not adore, who do not trust and who do not love Thee." "Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You most profoundly and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the same Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, present in all the Tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the blasphemies, outrages and indifference by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of His Sacred Heart and by the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of sinners." This concern and love of Our Lady of Fatima for the Blessed Sacrament is echoed more recently by His Holiness Pope John Paul II. We reprint here, for the benefit of the friends of Our Lady of Fatima, some extracts of Dominicae Cenae Apostolic Letter on the Eucharist, written by Pope John Paul II to the bishops and priests of the Catholic Church around the world. The following texts are taken from the English version as it was published in "LOsservatore Romano, March 24, 1980.

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At their ordination, priests are told by their Bishop to imitate Our Lord. This should be especially notable when the priest celebrates Holy Mass.

"Priests and deacons must remember that the service of the table of the Bread of the Lord imposes on them special obligations which refer in the first place to Christ Himself present in the Eucharist and secondly to all who actually participate in the Eucharist or who might do so."

"Thus it is necessary for all of us who are ministers of the Eucharist to examine carefully our actions at the altar, in particular the way in which we handle that Food and Drink which are the Body and Blood of the Lord Our God in our hands: the way in which we distribute Holy Communion: the way in which we perform the purification."

"In some countries the practice of receiving Communion in the hand has been introduced. This practice has been requested by individual Episcopal Conferences and has received approval from the Apostolic See. However, cases of a deplorable lack of respect towards the Eucharistic Species have been reported, cases which are imputable not only to the individuals guilty of such behavior but also to the pastors of the Church who have not been vigilant enough regarding the attitude of the faithful towards the Eucharist."

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"But one must not forget the primary office of priests, who have been consecrated by their ordination to represent Christ the Priest; for this reason their hands, like their words and their will, have become the direct instruments of Christ. Through this fact, that is as ministers of the Holy Eucharist, they have a primary responsibility for the Sacred Species, because it is a total responsibility: they offer the bread and wine, they consecrate it, and then distribute the Sacred Species to the participants in the assembly who wish to receive Them."

"The Eucharist is a common possession of the whole Church as the sacrament of Her unity. And thus the Church has the strict duty to specify everything which concerns participation in It and Its celebration."

"We can follow the path of this pluralism (which arises in part from the introduction itself of the various languages into the liturgy) only as long as the essential characteristics of the celebration of the Eucharist are preserved, and the norms prescribed by the recent liturgical reforms are respected. "Indispensable effort is required everywhere to ensure that within the pluralism of Eucharistic worship envisioned by the Second Vatican Council the unity of which the Eucharist is the sign and cause is clearly manifested. "This task, over which in the nature of things the Apostolic See must keep careful watch, should be assumed not only by each Episcopal Conference but by every minister of the Eucharist, without exception."

"As I bring these considerations to an end, I would like to ask forgiveness - in my own name and in the name of all of you, venerable and dear Brothers in the Episcopate - for everything which, for whatever reason, through whatever human weakness, impatience or negligence, and also through the at times partial, one-sided and erroneous application of the directives of the Second Vatican Council, may have caused scandal and disturbance concerning the interpretation of the doctrine and the veneration due to this great Sacrament. And I pray the Lord Jesus that in the future we may avoid in our manner of dealing with this Sacred Mystery anything which could weaken or disorient in any way the sense of reverence and love that exists in our faithful people."

On the same topic we quote from Pope Paul VI's Encyclical, Mysterium Fidei: "Moreover the Catholic Church has held on to this faith in the presence in the Eucharist of the Body and Blood of Christ not only in Her teaching but in Her practice, since She has at all times given to this great Sacrament the worship which is known as Latria and which

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may be given to God alone. As St. Augustine says: "It was in His flesh that Christ walked among us and it is His flesh that He has given us to eat for our salvation. No one however eats of this flesh without having first adored It ... and not only do we not sin in thus adoring, but we would sin if we did not adore."

(paragraph 55 Mysterium Fidei. See also A.A.S. (1965) page 769.)

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