Official Launch of the 2012 International Eucharistic Congress

07 Mar 2011

7 March 2011

Cardinal Brady and Archbishop Martin launch the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012

  • Call for volunteers and to prayer for the success of the Congress in Ireland
  • Congress Bell to visit all 26 dioceses of Ireland
  • 3,000 volunteers needed to help organise the Eucharistic Congress in Ireland

In the RDS in Dublin today Cardinal Seán Brady and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin launched two major initiatives as part of the preparations for the 50th International Congress which takes place in Ireland in 2012: a major volunteer drive; and, the Congress Bell.  Please see below addresses by participants at the launch:

The theme of next year’s Congress is “The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and one another”. The Eucharistic Congress is one of the largest liturgical events and opportunities for pilgrimage throughout the universal Catholic Church. It is hosted by a different country every four years.

The main events of the Congress next year will take place in the RDS, Dublin, beginning with the opening ceremony on 10 June 2012. Over the week 10 – 17 June a programme of liturgical and cultural events, workshops and daily celebration of the Eucharist will culminate in an open air Mass and closing ceremony in Croke Park.

Congress organisers have been developing partnerships with tourism representatives in Dublin as it is hoped the international visitors will give a significant boost to the city’s tourism industry.

Organisers are also keen to encourage volunteers to take part not only in the Eucharistic Congress itself but also in the lead up to the main events. Volunteers are needed in a wide variety of roles including administration, hospitality, translation services and stewarding.

Details are available in seven different languages on

Next week, on Saint Patrick’s Day, a pilgrimage of the Congress Bell will begin from St Mary’s Pro Cathedral, Dublin, going to St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh and it will visit all 26 dioceses of Ireland. The bell is a symbolic invite to Irish Catholics, and for Christians of other traditions, to join in the call to faith, prayer, reconciliation and mission that is at the heart of the Church’s preparation for the Congress over the next year and a half.

The Secretary General for the Eucharistic Congress Fr Kevin Doran said at today’s launch “Core to the mission of the Congress is the view that it is a pilgrim journey involving spiritual and pastoral preparation. Each diocese in Ireland has its own organising committee to promote a deepening of understanding for Catholics of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Church, a richer celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy and an awareness of the social responsibility that comes with the communion and self-gift of Jesus which we celebrate.”

Congress Bell

The Congress Bell has its origins in the Dominican Convent in Portstewart in Co Derry and will be brought on foot from diocese to diocese by teams of volunteers. It is hoped that the Congress Bell will be a focal point for the prayer in parishes and at places of pilgrimage all over Ireland between now and June 2012.

The first International Eucharistic Congress, held in France in 1881, gathered 300 people at the head of Eucharistic movements in European countries. During the following 125 years, the format of Congresses strongly evolved and they now attract some 12,000 to 15,000 participants for a full week of celebrations, adoration, catechesis, cultural events, fraternal gatherings, and commitments to aid the poor. Ireland last hosted the International Eucharistic Congress in 1932.

Since 1881, the Pope had always been represented by a special Delegate at the celebration of Eucharistic Congresses. In 1964, Pope Paul VI took part in the last two days of the Congress held in Bombay, an initiative followed by his successor, John Paul II.


Cardinal Seán Brady

Thank you all for attending today here in the RDS in Dublin as we formally launch the 50th International Eucharistic Congress which will take place in Ireland next year.  Most of the week-long celebration will be based on this historic campus and Fr Kevin Doran and his planning team have relocated here.

The 49th International Eucharistic Congress took place in Quebec City, Canada in 2008. Pope Benedict’s announcement that Ireland had been chosen to host the 50th Congress was broadcast live from Rome as part of the final Mass of that Congress.

I, along with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Fr Doran and other Irish pilgrims who were attending the Congress in Canada at the time, felt honoured, excited and humbled that the Holy Father had chosen our country to host the next International Eucharistic Congress in 2012.

But our excitement soon gave way to a keen realisation of the logistical demands that such a large-scale and important week-long project places on the Catholic Church in Ireland.  More will be said on that issue by others here today.  What I would like to highlight this morning is the purpose of the Eucharistic Congress, and my hopes for it.

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.

The Eucharist is the source and summit of the life of every follower of Jesus. 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.

Of course this is the second time that the International Eucharistic Congress has been hosted in Ireland. The 1932 Congress in Dublin was considered an organisational success and it publicly showcased Catholic faith in the newly established State.   But we live in different times now.  I know that the Organising Committee will seek to reflect those different times in next year’s Congress.

It is our 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.

Last Thursday at Confirmation in Dromintee, Co Armagh, I met a 90 year old man who proudly told me that he had been at the Eucharistic Congress in 1932 and that he hoped, with the help of God, to be at next year’s as well.  I know that hope is shared by tens of thousands of people throughout Ireland.

Since 2008 much preparation has already taken place for the Congress and this has concentrated on catechesis on the Eucharist for parishes and encouraging volunteers to support the many activities of the Congress.  This year a National Eucharistic Congress will take place to coincide with Feast of Corpus Christi on the last weekend of June.

This National Eucharistic Congress will involve workshops and liturgies and will be celebrated in Knock and in all 26 dioceses on the island.   As part of this Congress, in June this year, we are holding an International Conference on prayer in Armagh.  It is entitled Spiritfest and will have many speakers from abroad.  Bishop Richard Clarke, Church of Ireland Bishop of Meath and Kildare and Rev Ruth Patterson, of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, will give it an ecumenical dimension. This National Eucharistic Congress will mark the beginning of the final year of preparation for the International Eucharistic Congress in 2012.

Today is about putting the 2012 International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland “on the map”.  I especially wish to acknowledge the valuable involvement of the media in this task.  Please continue to take an interest in this important Church initiative.

In a few moments we will hear the story of the Congress Bell and I look forward to hearing the wonderful Eucharistic Congress hymn “Though We Are Many” sung by the choir from the Holy Child Secondary School, Killiney.  In Armagh too a special hymn has been composed for Spiritfest.

Finally, this morning I ask that the faithful pray to the Holy Spirit to lead us all to a greater appreciation of the presence of Jesus in our midst, for love of us, in the gift of the Eucharist.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

Why a Eucharistic Congress in Ireland in 2012?   The Catholic Church in Ireland is undergoing a process of renewal.  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.

In his first Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict noted that:  “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction” [1] Evangelization is not simply a human plan, but is about fostering the desire to share the gift of faith that God offers us and which makes us sharers in God’s own life.

Evangelization and renewal in the Church take place at various levels.  A Eucharistic Congress is a particular instrument of renewal in the Church.   Eucharistic Congresses are in fact very common in the life of the Church.  In Italy this year one of the central events of the programme of evangelization is a National Eucharistic Congress to be held in Ancona in September.   National Eucharistic Congresses have been held in recent times in many other countries, including in the United States, Spain, Brazil and even in Cuba.  An Irish National Eucharistic Congress is planned for this year.

The Eucharist is central to the Christian life.  The Eucharist is the real presence in history of the self-giving love of Jesus on the Cross.  The self-giving love of Jesus even unto death is the source of the new life brought by Christ with his death and resurrection and with the sending of the Spirit.

It is the Eucharist which shapes the Church.  The descriptions we find in the Acts of the Apostles indicate the essential dimensions of the life of the Church.   When the early Christians gathered “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).  The Church is a community of prayer, inspired by the word of God and by the Eucharist.   The Church is a communion, a special form of fellowship and sharing which is shaped by the Eucharist.

The 50th International Eucharistic Congress is not a societal event.  It is an ecclesial event, celebrated in faith.  It is not an assembly about structures.  Pope Benedict spoke of Eucharistic Congresses as a way of promoting evangelization which “is carried out at the school of the Church in prayer, on the basis of the Liturgy and in the Liturgy”[2].

The 50th International Eucharistic Congress is not backward-looking event, re-evoking celebrations of the past and of a different time.  Neither is the Eucharistic Congress a sterile inward-looking discussion just about Church structures.  A Eucharistic Congress is a missionary event.  The Acts of the Apostles note that the fruit of the gathering and sharing of the early Christians was that “the Lord added to the numbers” and that they then enjoyed “the goodwill of all” (Acts 2:47,48).

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.

[1] Pope Benedict XVI: Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est, n.1

[2] Pope Benedict XVI: Address to Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, 10th November 2010.

Fr Kevin Doran

Thank you all for responding to our invitation to be with us this morning. Invitations draw people into relationship with one another. When we are invited to dinner, it deepens our friendship with the person who has invited us, but it also opens up the possibility of new relationships with other people who have been invited. That is how Eucharist works too, and that is the meaning of our Congress theme The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another.

It reminds us, in the words of the Vatican Council, of two essential truths which have inspired every Christian community since the evening when Jesus gathered his disciples to celebrate the Passover. The first is that Jesus invites us an intimate relationship with Him around the table of the Word and the Bread of Life. The second is that, by taking our places at the table of the Lord, we enter into communion everyone else who has been invited. That includes those who live in faraway places. It also include those who, for one reason or another do not actually join us on Sunday – the homeless, the prisoners, the emigrants and those who have been alienated. They are all our brothers and sisters and we cannot gather at the table of the Lord without being challenged by our responsibilities towards them.

In our preparation of the Eucharistic Congress, we have been asking people to think of it as a journey rather than just an event. 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. That is where the symbolism of the bell comes in. The Bell will go on its journey around the country, but it will invite all those who hear it to begin an interior journey of renewal. We are particularly delighted that Christians of other traditions are actively engaged with us on that journey. 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.

It has been exciting in these last few months to make contact with our fellow Catholics in countries; to receive phone calls and emails from Taiwan, Honolulu, the Ivory Coast, not to mention places like Australia, Canada, the United States and Britain all indicating that they hope to be with us in 2012. I hope that we will be ready to give them a warm Irish welcome.

People will understandable ask if this is the time for a Eucharistic Congress. I can understand and empathise with that question, but I believe that the Congress can contribute to the renewal of relationships of trust and self-giving which have been weakened by the desire for excessive profit and the abuse of power, both in the Church and in our wider society. It is expensive to host an International Eucharistic Congress, just as it is expensive to host any of the other international events scheduled to take place in Ireland in 2012. Irish Catholics donate millions of Euro each year to SVP to Trócaire and to various emergency appeals at home and abroad. I honestly believe that we are also entitled, once in a life-time to host an international celebration of our faith and to invite our brothers and sisters from overseas. To judge by the response of the Irish people to our two national collections, I think that view is widely shared.

I will now ask Anne Griffin, our general manager, who has worked extensively in inward business tourism to say a few words to you about the potential benefits of the Congress to Irish society.

Ms Anne Griffin

The 50th International Eucharistic Congress is both a 2 year pastoral programme and a week of gathering in Dublin June 2012. Many people from around the world will follow the journey the bell on the congress website The website currently has 91 pages of information in English which is also translated into 6 languages including Irish. For many of our international pilgrims this will be the start of their introduction to Ireland and the congress.

The congress dates are 10th to 17th June 2012 and we are planning the 7  day programme in the RDS for 25,000 people each day and on the 17th June the Statio Orbis in Croke Park will be attended by 80,000.

Tourism is a serious contributor to the upturn of the Irish Economy, the 50th International Eucharistic Congress is marketing to pilgrims from Northern America, Australia, Great Britain, Europe, Taiwan, India, South America and Africa. We expect 12,000 pilgrims from around the world to join our Irish Pilgrims for the week long congress staying in a range accommodation to include hotels, hostels, guesthouse, university campus apartments and of course staying with host families in the greater Dublin area which is part of our volunteer programme.

The indications from pilgrim groups and the travel trade is that groups planning to attend the congress are very interested in extending their stay so they can to travel around Ireland to areas of cultural and religious interest. We are encouraging local parish to invite our international pilgrim groups to visit them to experience a real Irish welcome

Tourism Ireland figures indicate that the average spend of a visitor to Ireland is between €515 -€980 per visitor. The value to Ireland of our international pilgrims spend will be between €5.5 – €11.7 mil . Surveys show that 82% of conference delegates are visiting Ireland for the first time  and 9 out of 10 Conference delegates say they would recommend Ireland to others to visit Ireland based on their experience.

2011 is the year European year of volunteering and we are opening our call for 3,000 volunteers to assist us with the work needed in hosting this significant event. Volunteer will be needed for a wide range of areas and our volunteer applications can be made through our congress .There are many ways to get involved and we are inviting everyone to join us in our journey.

Notes for Editors

Plans for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress

The 50th International Eucharistic Congress will take place in Dublin from 10 June to 17 June 2012. It is an opportunity for the Irish Church to welcome pilgrims from all over the world and to celebrate our common faith in Jesus Christ. The main events of the Congress will take place at the RDS, beginning with the Congress opening ceremony. It is anticipated that as many as 25,000 people each day, both from Ireland and from overseas, will participate in the Congress. Among the early indications of overseas participation are large numbers from Canada, the United States and Britain, as well as groups from Ivory Coast, Paraguay, Taiwan, Vietnam, not to mention the International Deaf Community. The closing ceremony for the Congress will take place in Croke Park on 17 June 2012.

What is a Eucharistic Congress?

A Eucharistic Congress is an international gathering of people which aims to:

  • promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Catholic Church
  • improve our understanding and celebration of the liturgy
  • draw attention to the social dimension of the Eucharist (i.e., the responsibility which we have to live in the spirit of communion and self-gift that we celebrate).

The Congress normally takes place every four years. The daily celebration of the Eucharist is at the very heart of the Congress. The wider programme of the Congress includes other liturgical events, cultural events, catechesis and testimonies, and workshops during the week of the Congress.

The Theme of the Congress Speaks to our Present Experience

The Congress theme “The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another”, has its roots in the document Lumen Gentium of the Second Vatican Council, where we read:

Really partaking of the body of the Lord in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread, we are taken up
into communion with Him and with one another. ‘Because the bread is one, we though many, are one body, all of us who partake of the one bread”. In this way all of us are made members of His Body, “but severally members one of another” (Lumen Gentium,7).

While many people associate the word “communion” strictly with the Blessed Sacrament, the idea of communion is significantly broader than that. Communion is a relationship of mutual love and self giving which flows from our relationship with Jesus Christ. The Last Supper is a unique moment of communion, which is brought about not only by the consecration of bread and wine, but by listening to Jesus (the Word made Flesh) and by the washing of feet. While the Supper eventually comes to an end, the communion initiated by the gift of Jesus continues to sustain the disciples through the experience of the cross, even when weakened by their betrayal, until they recognise Him again “in the breaking of Bread” in the aftermath of the Resurrection.

The challenge for the 2012 congress is precisely one of deepening communion, in a world in which many forms of community have collapsed. In Ireland, as in the wider world, much has changed since the last Congress was celebrated here in 1932.

  • Ireland has a proud missionary culture, but Christianity in Ireland is lived today in the midst of an increasingly secular culture
  • The Catholic Church has made a huge contribution to the welfare of children through education and healthcare, but the Church is also implicated in the abuse of children by some clergy and religious and by the failure of Church authorities to respond adequately or openly to that abuse.
  • Ireland has recently experienced a time of significant economic growth and has seen a significant improvement in the quality of life of its citizens. In the past few years, however, it has become increasingly clear that much of this economic growth was built on the desire for excessive profit which placed ordinary people at extreme risk of economic disaster.

In the face of their scandal, the first disciples, paralysed by fear, locked themselves in the upper room. It is not surprising then that people should wonder about the wisdom of having a Eucharistic Congress “at a time like this.” It was in the face of betrayal and failure (at least in human terms) that Jesus

broke out of the tomb and made His way to the place where the disciples were gathered, reconciling them and restoring the communion that had been fractured by their sins and their human weakness. In much the same way now, we need to rediscover the meaning of His presence among us so that we can renew the Communion with one another which has been so fractured. He Himself will be our teacher. This is what the Eucharistic Congress is about and it must be a journey rather than an event.

The Congress Hymn

Though We are Many, see text below, by the well known Dublin composer of Church music, Bernard Sexton, was selected as the official Congress Hymn, following a competition in which many of Ireland’s best known religious music composers took part. Though we are Many is based on the words of St. Paul, who reminded the people of Corinth that: Because the bread is one, we though many, are one body, all of us who partake of the one bread.” The hymn, which is available on the Congress web-site, has been translated into a number of other languages.

The Congress Logo

The Logo, entitled People in Communion, was designed on behalf of the Congress Committee by Martin Barlow of Portadown, Co. Armagh. The design concept is based on the idea of people “from every nation, race, tribe and language” (Rev.7:9) being drawn together in Communion as “One Body” formed by faith in the person of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, and the sacrifice of self which he offered on the cross.

The Congress Web-Site

A new web site for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress ( has recently been launched. It contains all the relevant information and pastoral resources which are currently available. The web-site is available in seven languages, including English and Irish. IEC2012 is deeply indebted to the many volunteers in Ireland and overseas who have supported this project by translating the content of the web-site for us. “This kind of participation”, said Fr Kevin Doran, “is already one expression of the communion which we are trying to promote.”

Programme of Pastoral Preparation

We have taken the view from the outset that the Eucharistic Congress is a pilgrim journey, rather than just an event. People all over Ireland and further afield have been invited to join in that interior journey of spiritual and pastoral preparation. The programme of preparation which has been devised invites people to explore:

  • The meaning of Christian assembly (the fact that we gather as a community rather than a collection of individuals)
  • The role of the Scriptures in forming us into “one body in Christ”
  • The meaning of the Eucharist as Sacrifice and Sacrament
  • The relationship between our Christian assembly, in which we are nourished by the Word and the Eucharist, and the mission which is entrusted to us as Christians living in the world.

We been greatly encouraged by the positive response to the first stage of the pastoral preparation programme, in which we focused on the meaning of Christian assembly. We have just completed the materials for Stage 2 of the programme. This stage focuses on how we are drawn into communion and formed into the body of Christ by the Word of God, which is an integral element of the Eucharistic celebration. The pastoral resources provided include reflections on the dynamic of listening and hearing, suggestions for praying with the Word of God, and much more. In addition to making these resources available on the internet, where they can be freely downloaded for use, we have also prepared a CD Rom on which these resources together with the resources for Stage 1 will be made available to each parish in the country. We hope that this will facilitate a wider participation in the journey of preparation.

The Pilgrimage of the Bell

The Congress symbol is a bell, which has its origins in the Dominican convent Portstewart, Co Derry and was more recently used to ring in the Jubilee Year 2000 in Glendalough, Co Wicklow. The bell, a reminder of the tradition of St Patrick’s Bell, will represent the call to faith, to prayer, to conversion and the vocation to service and to mission.

The bell has been fitted into a carrying frame in which it will be brought on foot from place to place around Ireland by teams of volunteers. It will be a focal point for gathering and for prayer, in cathedrals, parish churches and places of pilgrimage. The bell will be blessed by Archbishop Martin in the pro-Cathedral in Dublin on 17 March next. It will then be brought to St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, from where its pilgrimage will begin.

The Congress Prayer

The Congress prayer, see text below, is inspired by the Gospel narrative of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. This was a journey which began in disillusionment following the events of Good Friday. Following the encounter with Jesus on the road who explained the Scriptures to them, and his

breaking of the bread of the Eucharist with them in a wayside inn, they were renewed in their energy for mission. The prayer also draws on the well known passage from the prophet Micah which reminds us that what the Lord asks from us is “to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).

In addition to the seven languages of the Congress web-site, we are privileged to have the prayer translated into Chinese by representatives of the Catholic Church in Taiwan.

Previous Congresses

The work of International Eucharistic Congresses began in France in 1881 as a fruit of the Eucharistic apostolate of Saint Peter-Julian Eymard. The idea of the Eucharistic Congress (originally called Eucharistic pilgrimages) came from the insight and commitment of Miss Emilie-Marie Tamisier(1834- 1910).

In the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, the Eucharistic Congresses, in addition to promoting a deeper understanding of and participation in the celebration of the Eucharist (the Mass), sought to focus attention on the essential link between the Eucharist and the service of those who are poor and oppressed. The Synod of Bishops (2005) expressed this responsibility as follows: Before the Lord of history and the future of the world, the suffering of the poor, the ever more numerous victims of injustice and all the forgotten people of the earth, cannot be alien to the celebration of the Eucharistic mystery, which commits baptised persons to work for justice and the transformation of the world in an active and conscious way.

Dublin last hosted the International Eucharistic Congress in 1932, and it is widely accepted that the 1932 Congress contributed significantly to the beginning of a healing process following the extremely divisive civil war. The most recent Congresses were held in Quebec in 2008 and Guadaijara (Mexico) in 2004.

Volunteering for the Congress

Volunteering is a unique form of communion. It involves people working together on a common project, not for material gain, but simply for the sake of participation in something which is bigger than themselves. Between two and three thousand volunteers will be required to assist in organizing the Congress. Volunteers are needed in a wide range of roles; administration, hospitality, translation, stewarding to mention but a few. Anyone over 18 resident in Ireland who is willing to commit to the objectives of the Congress, is invited to register as a volunteer on the Congress web-site. People between the ages of 16 and 18 may also volunteer as members of a recognised group supervised by adult leaders.

As a volunteer you will have an opportunity to help renew the Church in Ireland while also contributing to an event of a scale rarely seen in this country. There will be numerous roles in which you can help out both now in the lead up to the congress and during the congress itself. Whether you can just answer a phone or write an application for phones we will be willing to have you on board. We are keen to involve volunteers in the planning stages of the congress.

Every Congress volunteer will have the opportunity to reflect on the spiritual themes of the Congress as part of their induction training and preparations. All volunteers will participate in general induction training followed by job specific training. Closer to the week of the Congress, there will be familiarization tours for volunteers assigned to designated venues.

Patron Saints for the Congress

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has approved the nomination of three patron saints for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress. They are:

  • St. Columbanus, well known especially in mainland Europe for his Missionary activity, during what were known as the “dark ages.” He founded monasteries in France and Switzerland and is particularly associated with a monastic settlement in Bobbio (N. Italy) Columbanus is also the patron of the Missionary Society of St. Columban (Maynooth Mission to China) which has engaged extensively in the promotion of the Gospel in Asia and in Latin America, since the early years of the20th century.
  • St. Mary MacKillop: daughter of Scottish immigrants to Australia canonised by Pope Benedict in October 2010. Mary Helen MacKillop founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart and much of her work was focused on the education of the rural poor. She is particularly noted for her outreach to those who were on the margins of society. Her strong commitment to justice brought her into conflict with people both inside and outside of the Church.
  • Blessed Margaret Ball was born in Meath but came to live in Dublin, where her husband Alexander was Lord Mayor during the time of Elizabeth I. Margaret was known for her devotion to the Eucharist She suffered imprisonment in Dublin Castle for short periods on numerous occasions because she continued to provide facilities in her home for the celebration of Mass. After her son Walter renounced his faith to become Lord Mayor, she was once more imprisoned and died in Dublin Castle. Margaret was noted for her commitment to deepening her understanding of her faith.

Finance and fundraising

Like any major event there are significant costs to cover for the Congress – things such as venue hire, insurances, and all the practical things related to the safety and well being of the participants. The Congress is much more than a week-long event, however. We are engaged in a process of pastoral preparation which involves a significant investment of resources in helping people to renew their faith in and understanding of the Eucharist and its social implications. This is part of the normal on-going mission of the Church but the Congress provides an additional focus for us to do that.

The congress organizing committee has put together a registration package which will make it possible for people to participate in the entire week of the Congress for under €100 euro. Half-week registrations will also be available. This low cost package is being offered with an awareness of the challenging economic situation here in Ireland and the desire to facilitate participation by pilgrims from low-wage economies overseas.

Previous Congresses have been funded by a variety of measures including private contributions, sponsorship, fundraising, and delegate fees. We will be following a similar approach and, given that this is a major international event, fundraising will take place both in Ireland and internationally. The Congress, though hosted in Dublin, is a pastoral initiative of the whole Irish Church. The people of Ireland have already responded very generously to two national collections held on the Feast of Corpus Christi in 2009 and 2010, which raised a total of €2 million.

Because we are still negotiating with suppliers and we are still developing our plans for the Congress, we are not in a position to give any clear indication of costs at the present time. We will do so as soon as it becomes practically possible.

There are strong financial controls in place as is only appropriate. We are taking care to get best value for money and we believe we can put on a well prepared Congress without being ostentatious. It is encouraging that the last Congress in Quebec actually broke even and there was no burden of debt on the local Church. We are aiming to achieve a similar outcome.

It is worth mentioning here the substantial benefit of an event like this to the economy with even the minimum daily spend of such a large number of people. Added to this there are the jobs which are already being created because of the Congress. In the final analysis, the value of the Congress will be measured by the extent to which people are challenged and helped to renew their faith and their Christian commitment, for the good of society as well as for their own personal good.

Fr. Kevin Doran, Secretary General

Prayer for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland in 2012

Lord Jesus,
You were sent by the Father
to gather together those who are scattered.
You came among us, doing good and bringing healing,
announcing the Word of salvation
and giving the Bread which lasts forever.
Be our companion on life’s pilgrim way.
May your Holy Spirit inflame our hearts,
enliven our hope and open our minds,
so that together with our sisters and brothers in faith
we may recognise you in the Scriptures
and in the breaking of bread.
May your Holy Spirit transform us into one body
and lead us to walk humbly on the earth,
in justice and love,
as witnesses of your resurrection.
In communion with Mary,
whom you gave to us as our Mother
at the foot of the cross,
through you
may all praise, honour and blessing be to the Father
in the Holy Spirit and in the Church,
Now and forever.

Hymn for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland in 2012 – Though We Are Many

Though we are many, we are one body,
We who come to share this living bread;
Cup of salvation, shared among the nations,
Nourishing us now and evermore.

1. We gather in this place
round the table of the Lord.
Christ’s presence is revealed
in our communion and his Living Word.

2. Now our communion recalls
Christ’s death and resurrection.
This living sacrifice
is our salvation now and evermore.

3. And through this shared Eucharist
we are the living Church.
We witness to Christ’s love
His living body active in our world.

4. This bread unites the baptised
who are called to this great feast.
The feast, a sign of God’s love,
a great communion with the saints above.

5. And when we leave here today
with hearts renewed in joy,
So nourished, we will embrace
the challenge now to live the Christian call.

6. As Patrick prophet of old
trod the path we tread today,
so we proclaim the Good News
and share the living message with joy

Copyright 2010 by 1EC2012 limited, Holy Cross Diocesan Centre, Clonliffe Road, Dublin

Further information:

Fr Kevin Doran, Secretary General of the Congress 00353 (0) 87 244 7358
Ms Anne Griffin, General Manager of the Congress 00 353 (0) 87 244 9985
Martin Long, Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth 00353 (0) 86 172 7678