Catholics are more fortunate than the Old Testament prophets were because in the Eucharist they experience Jesus’ closeness and know that God is not far off on a lofty throne, Pope Francis told thousands of altar servers from across Europe.

“In the Eucharist and in the other sacraments,” the pope said, “you experience the intimate closeness of Jesus, the sweetness and power of his presence.”

Pope Francis ended his three-week summer vacation at the evening meeting and prayer Aug. 4 with some 9,000 altar servers. The largest groups of young men and women came from Austria, Germany and Italy.

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