Ireland Invites All to 2012 Eucharistic Congress
Organizers Call for International Volunteers
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On Monday, the preparatory phase for the June 10-17, 2012 congress was launched by Cardinal Seán Brady, archbishop of Armagh, and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin.
Cardinal Brady noted that "the purpose of every Eucharistic Congress is to deepen understanding of, and devotion to, the Holy Eucharist which is central to our Catholic faith."
"That devotion holds a special place in the affection of Irish Catholics," he added.
The prelate affirmed that "the Eucharist is the source and summit of the life of every follower of Jesus."
He continued: "The hosting of the congress in Ireland serves not just our local Church, but it will be an international event.
"The celebration will attract thousands of pilgrims and will enable Catholics, at home and abroad, to meet and participate in daily Masses, discuss issues of faith, take part in workshops, witness reflections, and take part in adoration of the Eucharist."
The event will focus on the theme, "The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and One Another."
The congress organizers are already partnering with the tourism industry to facilitate the participation of people from around the world. As well, the congress Web site is offering details in seven languages.
In preparation for the event, the organizers are currently calling for at least 3,000 volunteers to serve at the congress in roles such as administration, hospitality, translation services and stewarding.
The cardinal expressed the hope that "the 2012 congress will assist renewal in the Catholic Church in Ireland by reflecting on the centrality of the Eucharist at the heart of our increasingly diverse community, and give renewed impetus to the living of faith."
A national Eucharistic congress will be held this year on the occasion of the Feast of Corpus Christi to prepare the Irish Catholics in particular for next year's event.
As well, next week a "congress bell," which symbolizes the invitation to faith, prayer, reconciliation and mission, will begin a pilgrimage throughout the 26 dioceses of Ireland.
Archbishop Martin, in an address on Monday, reiterated the significance of this event in the process of renewal for the Church in Ireland.
He affirmed that "in Ireland, as in many Western societies, that renewal must spring from a new evangelization, a vibrant re-presentation of the essentials of the Christian message to men and women who, though baptized and who were perhaps at one time active participants in the life of the Church, have in various ways drifted away from full sharing in that life."
"A Eucharistic congress is a particular instrument of renewal in the Church," the prelate stated. "The hope of the Eucharistic congress is that through renewal in prayer and its liturgical life, the Church will be purified, cleansed and renewed so that its true mission in the world will be more evident."
Father Kevin Doran, secretary general for the congress, said, "We have been asking people to think of it as a journey rather than just an event."
He continued: "Some of those who came to the last congress in Dublin in 1932 have spoken to us of their mammoth journeys on foot or on bicycles.
"For this congress we are asking people to engage in an interior journey of renewal."
The priest affirmed, "Now is the time for all who believe in Jesus to bear common witness to our faith in a society which needs the values of the Gospel as much as any society ever did."
The patrons for the 2012 congress are St. Columbanus, St. Mary MacKilop, and Blessed Margaret Ball.
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On the Net:
Congress Web site: www.iec2012.ie