Dublin International Congress Brought Children to Jesus
Adoration for Children Was Novelty at Eucharistic Conference
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By Sandy Rongish
DUBLIN, Ireland, JULY 25, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The 50thInternational Eucharistic Congress held last month in Dublin, Ireland, had something new to offer this year, something that hadn’t been attempted in the 131-year history of the IEC. The weeklong activity of events included Eucharistic Adoration for more than 1,800 Catholic school children and home school children.
Eucharistic adoration directed to children is not a new idea. From Pope Pius X’s promotion of children receiving Communion through Benedict XVI’s own emphasis on children’s faith, this devotion has a rich history in the Church, and is being promoted by the apostolate "Children of Hope."
At the beginning of the last century, Pius X implored the children of the world to pray for peace. The International Eucharistic Congress of 1914 was the launching time of the Eucharistic Crusade of children who would do as the Holy Father asked of them and live lives of prayer and sacrifice to help bring peace to a troubled world about to face a great war. At that time, a young seminarian, Blessed Edward Poppe, took this message to heart. He began to visit classrooms and parishes, all over Belgium he ignited in the hearts of children a desire to make frequent visits to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, to pray and to become holy children.
And of course Pope Benedict XVI has also talked of this, "I also recommend that, in their catechetical training, and especially in their preparation for First Holy Communion, children be taught the meaning and the beauty of spending time with Jesus, and helped to cultivate a sense of awe before his presence in the Eucharist."
Let the children come to me
The apostolate "Children of Hope" helped the Dublin IEC committee for the youth events at Our Lady Queen of Peace, Merrion Road, to introduce the children of Ireland to Eucharistic adoration.
Throughout the week, there were activities all over Dublin and some that reached all the way to Knock, Ireland, on Saturday. But for the children, the main center for prayer was at the Merrion Road Parish. Children arrived in shifts by the busloads and were taken first to a talk by Vanessa Condreay, from the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas. Condreay told them about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
Next the children witnessed the lives of saints acted out, particularly those known for their strong Eucharistic devotion. For the final session of their journey, the children were taken into the church to be led in adoration by either Br. Leopold d’Yve or Fr. Anthony Mary Prendergast of the Brothers of St John, there helping to present the "Children of Hope" program that was begun by Fr. Antoine Thomas, a priest in their community.
Hundreds of DVD’s and CD’s were given away to help those who attended the IEC to go back to their own parish and begin times of adoration for the children.
A reporter for a London Newspaper happened to stop by on the first day of activities and was surprised by what he saw. He wrote: “Upon entering the church, I was stunned by the rare spectacle of dozens of primary school children kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament. They were led in this by an inspirational Belgian friar, whose serene and prayerful presence held them spellbound. Also in the congregation were more international pilgrims, as well as proud parents and beaming clergy. In the midst of this extraordinary event, I began to reflect on what the Irish Church might look like if it contained more people like that Belgian friar. Most especially, I began to ponder the electrifying effect this could have on the children of the Church.”"
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On the Net:
Children of Hope: http://www.childrenofhope.org/