Echoes of Eucharistic Congress Continue

One month after the International Eucharist Congress concluded, organisers have announced that a commemorative DVD of the opening and closing ceremony will be available in September.

At the final Mass of the Congress, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said, “We must go away from here with a renewed passion for the Eucharist.  We must go away with a renewed love the Church.  We mst go away from here wanting to tell others not just about the Congress, but about Jesus Christ himself who in giving himself in sacrifice revealed to us that God is love.  In the Eucharist we are captured into that self-giving love and are empowered to be loving people.”

Referring to October when Pope Benedict will inaugurate the Year of Faith, he suggested that this can be a programme for us as we move forward from the Eucharistic Congress. 

Some of the pastoral initiatives to prepare for the congress will also continue, such as the Cube of Love, which was used by primary school children, especially in advance of receiving the sacraments of communion and confirmation.  The Cube of Love involves teacher and children rolling the cube, reading a Bible phrase on the cube and living it as a motto for the day.

Another initiative for young people in the Dublin Archdiocese, Good News To Go, has its own Facebook page, which it is hoped, will act as a link point for young people and the various youth groups and initiatives.  How the congress will carry on in the various parishes and dioceses, organisations and groups that attended IEC remains to be seen.

Fr Hugh Kavanagh, a priest in the West Dublin parish of Brookfield, attended with parishioners during the week, and 25 of them attended the final Mass.  He also helped organise a workshop, Priests in a Changing World, and told ciNews that the Congress lifted the cloud that had been hanging over the Catholic Church in Ireland or at least parted clouds to let in the sunlight. 

He felt that the Congress grew as the days went on and people started getting the, “positive vibe” from reports in the media, or fellow parishioners who had been there, or from the many volunteers and decided to go themselves.

“For me, the most extraordinary thing was to see people walking around the RDS area, with their entry badge, and that they were proud to wear it.  For the first time in around 15 or 20 years to be proud to be Catholic again,” he told ciNews

“There was that very warm atmosphere, a sense of being part of a family, a rediscovery of that and of all being one together.  There was no distinction between priests or laity; Cardinals queued up the same as everyone else for the workshops.”

He feels that, as there were people from every parish and diocese who will be keen share the IEC experience and atmosphere and somehow replicate it.

Organisers have compiled some of the facts and figures about the event, for example that it was three years in the making, and the two year pastoral programme of preparation was presented to every diocese in Ireland and overseas, as was the Congress Bell.  The IEC also saw, the publication of a Theology document; the website in seven language versions with over 150 pages per site receiving two and a half million views; the recruitment and training 2,000 volunteers to facilitate the week-long event; the registration of over 95,000 pilgrims for the official programme; over 20,000 additional people participating in the Dublin Pilgrim Walk and the host Church programme around the city.

In addition, many parishes around the country organised their own local participation with millions joining in by watching the broadcasts on RTÉ, Salt and Light, EWTN and the many TV, Radio and Web broadcasts.

by Ann Marie Foley

© 2002-2012



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