"This afternoon, the Pope will solemnly inaugurate the Year of the Eucharist, a "time of intense encounter with Christ" and "commitment to spreading His message of salvation".
Before the Angelus was recited, John Paul II spoke about the Year of the Eucharist. After the Marian prayer, he expressed his "deepest gratitude to those who wished me well and prayed for me on the anniversary of my election to the See of Saint Peter". He then commended his pontificate once again to Mary and asked for "Her constant help in making his Ministry in the Church rewarding".
The Pope, who was looking well, told the 30,000 people gathered in St Peter's Square that "in the Mexican city of Guadalajara the International Eucharistic Congress was coming to an end. For eight days," he said, "the Eucharist was celebrated and adored as the 'light and life of the new millennium: 'Light' because the presence of Christ 'Light of the world' radiates from the Eucharistic mystery; 'Life' because Jesus 'the Bread of Life' gave himself to us through the Eucharist."
The Pontiff added that "this afternoon I shall preside over a Eucharistic celebration in spiritual communion with the great summons in Guadalajara. This way I shall solemnly open the Year of the Eucharist scheduled to last until October 2005."