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Pope asks children, parents to prepare zealously for First Communion

Catholic World News - April 23, 2012

At his public audience on Sunday, April 22, Pope Benedict XVI recognized the presence of hundreds of Italian children preparing for their First Communion celebrations, and encouraged them—as well as their pastors and their families—to “prepare this feast of the faith well, with great fervor but also with sobriety.”

In Italy it is customary for children to receive their First Communion shortly after Easter, and the crowd in St. Peter’s Square was dotted with the young people and their parents. The Pontiff devoted most of his remarks to the Eucharist, observing that the disciples at Emmaus “recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread” and “we too meet the Lord in the celebration of the Eucharist.”

In the days following the Resurrection, the Pope said, Jesus calmed the frightened disciples when he appeared to them, assuring them that they were not seeing a ghost, by asking them for something to eat. Today Jesus assures the faithful that His Presence is real, the Pontiff continued. Quoting St. Thomas Aquinas, he said that Jesus is fully present in the Eucharist, body and soul, “since the Godhead never set aside the assumed body.”

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