VATICAN CITY, NOV. 25, 2002 Zenit.org. John Paul
II says the rediscovery of the parish, a home to
the sacraments, is the key to the laity´s ability to
resist the secularized culture.
The Pope expressed this conviction Saturday
when he met with participants in the plenary assembly of
the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The assembly was held
last week in Rome on the topic "It is necessary
to keep journeying, starting afresh from Christ, that is, from
In his address, the Holy Father said, "The
parish community is the heart of the liturgical life; it
is the privileged place of catechesis and education in the
"The itinerary of initiation and formation for all Catholics
takes place in the parish," he stressed. "How critical it
is to rediscover the value and importance of the parish,
as the place where the contents of the Catholic tradition
"Many of the baptized, in part because of
the impact of strong currents of de-Christianization, seem to have
lost contact with this religious legacy," the Holy Father observed.
"The faith is often put aside in episodes and fragments
He continued: "A certain relativism tends to nourish
discriminatory attitudes in relation to the contents of Catholic doctrine
and morality, being accepted or rejected based on subjective or
arbitrary preferences. In this way, the faith received is no
longer lived as a divine gift, as an extraordinary opportunity
of human and Christian growth, as an event of meaning
and conversion of life."
"Only a faith that sinks its
roots in the sacramental structure of the Church, which drinks
from the sources of the Word of God and of
Tradition, which is converted into a new life and renewed
intelligence of reality, can make the baptized able to resist
more effectively the impact of the prevailing secularized culture," the
This work of initiation and formation carried out
in the parish must culminate in a personal relationship with
the sacrament of the Eucharist, the real presence of Jesus
Christ, John Paul II explained.
The Eucharist "augments our union
with Christ, separates us and preserves us from sin, reinforces
the bonds of charity, sustains our efforts through life´s pilgrimage,
enables us to have a foretaste of the glory to
which we are destined," he emphasized.
By participating in the
eucharistic celebration, Catholics "hand over their existence -- their feelings
and sufferings, conjugal and family life, work and commitments in
society -- as a spiritual offering pleasing to the Father,
thus consecrating the world to God," the Holy Father continued.
Therefore, the secret to overcome the prevailing secularization is "in
always having present this centrality of the Eucharist in formation
and in participation in the life of parish and diocesan
communities," the Pope concluded. "It is important to begin always
from Christ, that is, from the Eucharist, in all the
density of its mystery."