Pope Blesses Eucharistic Congress Bell

Symbol of a Call to the Eucharist

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 15, 2012 (Zenit.org).- During Wednesday’s general audience Benedict XVI blessed the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) bell. The IEC will take place June 10-17 in Dublin.

The bell was presented to the Pope by an Irish delegation, led by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin. The bell has been touring Ireland and up to around a quarter of a million people have rung it, according to a press release published by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

Since commencing the first phase of its pilgrimage on St Patrick’s Day last year, the bell has visited the 26 dioceses of Ireland, more than 1,000 parishes, more than 100 schools, and a dozen hospitals and nursing homes, calling people to "Come to the Congress."

After being blessed the bell was taken into St. Peter’s Basilica to remain for a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee for the International Eucharistic Congresses. 

“We are truly delighted that with this visit the Bell has brought parishes, schools and hospitals all over Ireland into a closer Communion with the Pope as we enter the final phase of preparation for the Eucharistic Congress,” said Father Kevin Doran, secretary-general of the IEC.

Along with the Bell are the four Eucharistic Congress Icons which represent the four parts of the Mass, and correspond to each of the four stages of the pastoral preparation program for the Congress.

According to a long-standing tradition, it is said that St. Patrick left a bell in each Church he consecrated as a way to call people to the Eucharist.

Organizers expect up to 25,000 pilgrims will attend the IEC each day, including 12,000 international pilgrims representing 99 different countries.