6 June 2010
Eucharistic Congress Committee launches pastoral programme and second national collection in conjunction with the feast of Corpus Christi today
The Bishops of Ireland are very grateful to all who contributed so generously to last year’s collection and to those who have already given so much time and energy to the preparatory work for the Congress.
In 2008 Pope Benedict XVI announced that the 50th International Eucharistic Congress will be hosted in Ireland in 2012 and the theme of the Congress is: Communion with Christ and with one another. Over the course of the next two years (2010-2012) this theme will be explored in four distinct stages of preparation. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin and President of the Congress, established the Eucharistic Congress planning committee to oversee the logistical and pastoral preparations for the Congress, such as:
i) preparation of a range of pastoral and catechetical materials for use by the faithful over the next two years to journey towards an encounter with Christ to enable a rediscovery and a renewal of our communion with Him and with one another. These materials assist people to prepare for the celebration of Corpus Christi;
ii) involving volunteers from each of the 26 dioceses of Ireland in the process of preparation for the 2012 celebration;
iii) welcoming participation by anyone who shares our faith in Jesus to support the Eucharistic Congress in a practical way by, for example, contributing suggestions for short reflections, prayers, poetry and extracts from literature relating to the Eucharist, communion and community. These resources will be compiled into a booklet and/or online resource. Suggestions can be sent to: Eucharistic Congress Office, Holy Cross Diocesan Centre, Dublin 3, or email [email protected].
Archbishop Martin said “It is almost two years now since Pope Benedict XVI announced that the 50th International Eucharistic Congress would take place in Ireland in 2012. The main events of the Congress will take place in Dublin, but I hope that the preparation for the Congress and its fruitfulness will touch every diocese and every parish community in Ireland.”
The Congress will take place from 10 to 17 June 2012 and the main events of the Congress will take place in the RDS and Croke Park. Opportunities to become involved will be detailed in and a volunteer programme to be launched later this year.
Notes for Editors
– A dedicated website www.iec2012.ie has been established for the 50th Eucharistic Congress in Ireland in 2012. www.iec2012.ie is updated periodically with materials for use by parishes and with information to enable participation in the Congress. A special web feature on the Eucharistic Congress is also now available on www.catholicbishops.ie.
– The first international Eucharistic Congress was held in France in 1881 and, since then, the tradition has developed of holding a congress every four years in a different country. The Eucharistic Congress has a number of objectives, including:
• Deepening understanding of and devotion to the Eucharist;
• Strengthening the relationship of solidarity between Catholics who come together from all over the world; and,
• Emphasising the link between the Eucharist – which is Christ’s gift of Himself – and action for justice, which involves the gift of self for others.
– On 22 June 2008 Pope Benedict XVI announced that Ireland will host the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in 2012. Pope Benedict’s announcement was broadcast by live television link from Rome as part of his homily during the final Mass of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress, the final event in a week-long Church celebration in Quebec city. Up to 30,000 pilgrims attended the 2008 Eucharistic Congress in Quebec. Previous Eucharistic Congresses were often linked with anniversaries or other events special to Catholics of the country in which they took place. The 1932 Congress in Dublin, for example, marked the 1,500th anniversary of St Patrick’s ministry in Ireland. Significantly 2012 will be the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council which was an important moment in the engagement of the Church with the modern world.
– Today Sunday 6 June 2010 is the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, a feast traditionally known as Corpus Christi. The origins of the feast are in Liège in Belgium when at the urging of an Augustinian nun, Juliana about the lack of a feast of the Eucharist in the calendar, her spiritual adviser, Bishop Robert introduced the feast into his diocese in 1246. It was extended to the entire Church eighteen years later. The feast is kept on this Sunday after Trinity Sunday though several countries still retain the date of last Thursday. Ireland has observed the Sunday date since 1997. It offers us the opportunity to express our gratitude for the gift of the Eucharist. Using the words of the prayers at Mass, words attributed to St Thomas Aquinas, we express our gratitude for the Eucharist as the memorial of the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we offer bread and wine, we pray that the Body and Blood of Christ may bring to the Church the unity and peace they signify. We acknowledge that the Lord gives us His Body and Blood in the Eucharist as a sign that even now we share His life. Our prayer is that we will come to possess it completely in the kingdom where the Lord lives for ever and ever. Celebrating the feast of Corpus Christi is a reminder that every Sunday we have the opportunity to celebrate the work of our redemption accomplished in the death and resurrection of the Lord, who sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us.
Further information please contact:
Fr Kevin Doran General Secretary, 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 on 00 353 87 2447358
Anne Griffin, Programme Manager, 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 on 00 353 87 2449985
Martin Long, Catholic Communications Office on 00 353 86 1727678