The annual Triduum communication with clergy of the world was an important part of Pope John Paul II’s ministry:
7. From the time I began my ministry as the Successor of Peter, I have always marked Holy Thursday, the day of the Eucharist and of the priesthood, by sending a letter to all the priests of the world. This year, the twenty-fifth of my Pontificate, I wish to involve the whole Church more fully in this Eucharistic reflection, also as a way of thanking the Lord for the gift of the Eucharist and the priesthood: “Gift and Mystery”. (This is the title which I gave to an autobiographical testimony issued for my fiftieth anniversary of priestly ordination.) By proclaiming the Year of the Rosary, I wish to put this, my twenty-fifth anniversary, under the aegis of the contemplation of Christ at the school of Mary. Consequently, I cannot let this Holy Thursday 2003 pass without halting before the “Eucharistic face” of Christ and pointing out with new force to the Church the centrality of the Eucharist.
From it the Church draws her life. From this “living bread” she draws her nourishment. How could I not feel the need to urge everyone to experience it ever anew?
This, then, is part of the inspiration of Ecclesia de Eucharistia.
The mention of a “Eucharistic face,” what do you make of this very personal image? Does our Catholic experience of the Eucharist, either at Mass, or in prayer outside of liturgy, involve the face of Christ? Do Christians have something more abstract in mind and heart and soul? Is this something more of JP2’s deep personal spirituality?