September 2, 2005

Letters to the Editor

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Article on Eucharist was thought-provoking

I was really struck by the article “Eucharist challenges Catholics to care for the poor” in the Aug. 26 edition of The Criterion.

We have heard so much lately about values and polls that say those who attend church regularly are more inclined to be concerned with keeping “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, keeping prayer in school, banning gay marriage and other cultural issues. We have heard all our lives that the Eucharist is the center of our Catholic faith. Does that mean that those who attend Mass most often and receive the Eucharist most often are following our faith and probably most interested in those issues?

When I read the paragraph quoting Pope John Paul II in his apostolic letter Mane Nobiscum Domine (“Stay With Us Lord), I began to wonder about these assumptions. The pope said that the degree to which the faithful are concerned about the needs of the poor “will be the criterion by which the authenticity of our eucharistic celebration is judged.”

That made me wonder if participating in the Eucharist but not doing anything to change the policies that harm the poor, such as no health insurance, low wages and inadequate housing, would question the authenticity of our celebration.

When Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper, he first washed the feet of his Apostles. When he said, “Do this in memory of me” I believe he must have also meant to include the washing of feet or the serving of others.

The article has given me food for thought and a different perspective on the authenticity of my own eucharistic celebration. Thanks for publishing it and for giving recognition to those who are living the eucharistic challenge in their daily lives.

-Gerard Burford, Indianapolis  


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