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July 18, 2018

Let Christ draw near to you: Pope tells altar servers

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Pope Francis met Tuesday with thousands of altar servers from around Europe. The encounter in Saint Peter’s Square was part of the ninth International Pilgrimage of Acolytes and Altar Servers.

In his prepared remarks, Pope Francis told them that they should be open to Christ, who isn’t someone far off, but is close to us in the Eucharist and the other sacraments.

“You do not encounter Jesus placed on an inaccessibly high throne, but in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. His word does not shake the doorposts, but rather caresses the strings of the heart,” the Pope said Aug. 4 in St. Peter’s Square.

“If we do not resist him, Jesus will touch our lips with the flame of his merciful love, as he did to the prophet Isaiah. This will make us worthy to receive him and to bring him to our brothers and sisters.”

While reflecting on the theme of this year’s pilgrimage, “Here I am: Send me!” The Holy Father told the young people, “It is important to realize that being close to Jesus and knowing him in the Eucharist through your service at the altar, enable you to open yourselves to others, to journey together, to set demanding goals and to find the strength to achieve them.”

The International Pilgrimage of Altar Servers, which takes place every five years, is organized by the group

Coetus Internationalis Ministrantium, a group that includes representatives from countries throughout Europe, including Germany, Italy, and France, as well as smaller countries such as Croatia, Luxembourg, Serbia, and Slovakia. The international pilgrimage allows altar servers to take part in a unique experience for their service, and helps them to discover the diversity of the universal Church.



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