50th International Eucharistic Congress to Take Place in Dublin
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin Announces Evening of Reconciliation
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By Ann Schneible
VATICAN CITY, MAY 10, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The forthcoming Eucharistic Congress, to be held in Ireland next month, will look to inspire within the Church in Ireland and the world a spirit of healing, renewal, and reconciliation that is founded upon the Body of Christ.
"The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with One Another" will be the overarching theme of the International Congress that will take place June 10-17 in Dublin. The congress will be the 50th to take place since the international congresses began in France in 1881, and the second to take place in Ireland, the first having been in 1932.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin spoke in a press conference at the Holy See this morning about the significance of this Congress taking place at this point in the history of the Church, both in Ireland and in the world. "The 50thInternational Congress in Dublin," the archbishop said, "will be a moment once again of renewal and reconciliation. It will be an event which recalls all Catholics to the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the Church, truly as the summit towards which all the activity of the Church is directed and the font from which all her life flows."
"The Eucharistic Congress," the archbishop went on, "will recall the Church in Ireland to the centrality of spiritual renewal and to a sense of the Church as the Body of Christ." The focal point of each day of the congress will be the celebration of the Eucharist in the Holy Mass, which will serve as context for talks and discussions about the "bonds between the Eucharist and other dimensions of human life."
All together there will be more than 100 exhibition stands at the Congress showcasing different aspects of the life of the Church in Ireland, with 150 workshops and discussion groups. "Over one hundred choirs from all over Ireland will provide the music for the liturgies," he announced. "Parish Churches in Dublin will host groups from a wide number of countries who will be represented at the Congress… In the coming weeks, the Archdiocese of Dublin will prepare for the Congress with a Call to Mission, reaching out to young people, to the sick, and to parish renewal through prayer, Eucharistic adoration, and the celebration of the Sacrament of reconciliation."
In response to questions, Archbishop Martin spoke about a day of reconciliation which will be held during the congress. "On that day," he explained, "the text of the liturgy will touch on the question of victims of child sexual abuse. Those texts are always written in collaboration with victims."
In answer to a question of how can the Eucharistic Congress bring people back to the Sacramental life of the Church, he suggested, "We have to really look at the way we involve people in the preparation for the Sacraments, and understand that the Sacraments aren’t social events, but ecclesial realities."
"If you see in the Acts of the Apostles, the Apostles gathered to hear the word of God; the early Christians gathered in the breaking of the bread… I believe that if we can go back to that image of the early Church where there was the reflection on the Word, the Celebration of the Eucharist, that [would result in] creating a particular lifestyle; the Christians [of the early Church] would say 'we're looked up to by many,' and their numbers increased. There's something in that understanding of the Church: if the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin can make even a modest contribution to that, I think we'll have done something."
Archbishop Piero Marini, the President of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, offered some insights into the upcoming congress. He explained that the document, De sacra Communione et di culta mysterii eucharistici extra Missam, explains what an International Eucharistic Congress is. "During that time the celebration of the Eucharist becomes the center and vertex of all forms of piety… of theological and pastoral reflections, of social commitment." The document, the Archbishop explains, "defines the Congress as a 'statio orbis'; in other words, 'a pause for commitment and prayer to which a particular community invites the universal Church.'"
The occurrence of the 50thEucharistic Congress coincides also with the 50thanniversary since the Second Vatican Council. The title of the congress – "The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another" – was been taken from paragraph 7 of the Dogmatic Constitution 'Lumen gentium'. "That theme," explained Archbishop Marini, "reminds the baptized that it is by participating in the Eucharist that we construct communion with Christ and, at the same time, with one another; in other words, the most authentic face of the Church."