Pope Francis sends greetings to participants in an Italian liturgical conference, and says last year’s Covid-lockdown can help the Church rediscover the importance of the Sunday Eucharistic assembly.

By Devin Watkins

As part of the 71st National Liturgical Week, Italian clergy and laypeople are gathered in the northern city of Cremona for a conference organized by the Center for Liturgical Action.

Pope Francis kicked off the 4-day event with a message signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.

In his message, the Pope thanked God that the conference could be held this year in-person, “following last year’s disheartening moment” caused by the pandemic.

“The painful decision to postpone the event,” said the Pope, “has however confirmed in a new light the chosen theme which seeks to deepen reflection on various aspects of ‘celebrating’, which was put to the test by the spread of Covid-19 and the necessary restrictions to contain it.”
Liturgy and Christian identity

The conference’s theme to which the Pope was referring is “Where two or three are gathered in my name”: Community, liturgies, and territories.

He noted that Christians have always come together weekly in Jesus’ name, an act which is closely tied to the Church’s identity.

However, he lamented, weekly Masses were “harshly limited during the most acute phase of the pandemic.”

“Yet, love for the Lord and pastoral creativity pushed pastors and lay faithful to experiment with new ways to nourish the communion of faith and love with the Lord and our brothers and sisters, in the expectation of returning to the fullness of the Eucharistic celebration in safety and tranquility.”