National Eucharistic Congress takes place in Knock

27 Jun 2011


25 June 2011

All roads lead to Knock today for all-Ireland celebration of the National Eucharistic


·        Thousands of pilgrims to attend National Eucharistic Congress celebration at the Marian Shrine in Knock

·        National Eucharistic Congress marks one year countdown to the 50th International Congress 2012 in Ireland

·        Today in Knock Eucharistic Congress candles will be blessed, lit and returned to each of to the 26 diocesan cathedrals

The Catholic Church in Ireland is marking the one-year countdown to next year’s 50th International Congress by hosting a National Eucharistic Congress at the Marian Shrine in Knock today.

Thousands of people, from parishes all over the country, have travelled to Knock this weekend to participate in the National Eucharistic Congress, the high-point of which will be Mass with the anointing of the sick. The day’s activities will also include a series of workshops which are being hosted by organisers of next year’s International Eucharistic Congress – see programme below. The National Eucharistic Congress coincides this year with the celebration of the Knock Youth Festival, which has its own dedicated workshops and celebrations.

Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland; His Excellency Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, Apostolic Nuncio; Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin and President of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC2012); Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly; Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam along with many other Irish bishops and priests, will lead pilgrims from the 26 dioceses on the island of Ireland in a concelebrated Mass at 3.00pm this afternoon in Knock to mark Ireland’s National Eucharistic Congress.  The pilgrims include staff and volunteers of IEC2012.  The Eucharistic Congress Bell, which began its journey around the parish of Ireland on St Patrick’s Day, has arrived in Knock and will be present during the National Pilgrimage as a symbol of the invitation to faith and to the Eucharist.

The vestments worn by the principal celebrants at today’s Mass will feature the four icons which accompany the Eucharistic Congress Bell and which reflect the four stages of the catechesis for next year’s International Eucharistic Congress.

Welcoming pilgrims to the National Eucharistic Congress Cardinal Brady, Principal Presider for the Congress Mass and who will preach the homily, said: “The celebrations in Knock provide an opportunity to remind ourselves that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.  The Church events this weekend appeal to the spiritual needs of men and women of all ages and are in keeping with the theme of next year’s 50th International Eucharistic Congress which is: ‘The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another’.

“Today’s National Eucharistic Congress, coupled with the celebration of Mass which will take place in every Cathedral around the country tomorrow, both have a common focus on the local community and our pastoral preparation in Ireland ahead of the International Eucharistic Congress next year.

“Next year’s International Congress will not just be a once-off week of events; rather it is part of a journey of renewal.  Today the Irish Church is setting out on a new path of healing and renewal, inspired by Pope Benedict XVI’s Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland of March 2010.  The Church needs healing and reconciliation.  The Eucharistic Congress offers us the possibility for that.”

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said, “The Congress will be an important event in the life of the Universal Church and I hope it will be a vital element in the reform of the Irish Church. The Congress should renew in us a sense of gathering – of community and sharing. It will be a Congress of our times where people will come together to examine what a Church of Communion means for the people of the Church and what role the Church should have in wider society.”


Notes of Editors

Photographs of today’s National Eucharistic Congress for publication are available from the Catholic Communications Office
Key events taking place today as part of the National Eucharistic Congress

11.00am:         Morning Prayer in the Basilica at Knock Shrine

12.00pm:         The Workshops will run today at 12.00 noon and at 5.30pm. They will also be repeated tomorrow, Sunday at 11.00am.  Workshop content and presenters detailed below.

1.20pm:            Photo opportunity with the four Archbishops of Ireland in the Kavanagh Room, Knock House Hotel

2.00pm:            Anointing of the Sick in the Basilica

3.00pm:            National Eucharistic Congress Mass.  Cardinal Brady is Principal Presider and will preach the homily. During the Mass a Eucharistic Congress candle will be blessed and lit for each of the 26 dioceses. These will be taken back to diocesan Cathedrals for a local celebration tomorrow, Sunday 26 June. Details for the International Eucharistic Congress are available on the Congress website and social media pages Registration is now open for all pilgrims for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland in 2012 at

Details for National Eucharistic Congress workshops
Workshop 1: Recognising the Body: St Paul responds to a divided church – Fr Kieron O’Mahony OSA.

Fr Kieran O’Mahony is a member of the Augustinian Community at Orlagh Retreat centre. He is diocesan academic co-ordinator of Biblical Studies in the Archdiocese of Dublin. Fr Kieran has taught at Milltown Institute and Mater Dei Institute. He is also one of the facilitators of the Word-on-Web Programme and is the author of many publications.

Workshop 2: Forgiving and Remembering in New Ways – Professor Robert Enright

Robert Enright is a Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in America. He has been a leader in the scientific study of forgiveness and its effects since 1985. Time magazine referred to him as “the forgiveness trailblazer.” He is the author of over 100 publications.

Workshop 3: ‘From receiving Holy Communion to Building up Communion’ –  Reverend Professor Thomas Norris.

Fr Tom Norris is a priest of the Diocese of Ossory. He has experience of parish work and leading retreats. He was professor of theology in St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny, and later at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. He has written on topics such as the Eucharist, the Church and Spirituality. One such book carried the title, ‘Living a Spirituality of Communion.’ He is a member of the International Theological Commission of the Vatican.

Workshop 4: Helping children to pray with the Blessed Sacrament – Ms Rosemary Swords

Rosemary Swords is leader of the Elijah Fellowship in Dublin and a director of the Elijah Team, a full-time ministry for evangelisation and catechesis. She chairs the Adoration Sub-Committee of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress.

Knock Shrine
The story of Knock began on the 21 August 1879 when Our Lady, St Joseph and St John the Evangelist appeared at the south gable of Knock Parish Church.  This miraculous apparition was witnessed by fifteen people, young and old.  Knock is an internationally recognised Marian Shrine and was visited by Blessed John Paul II as part of his 1979 papal pilgrimage to Ireland.  During his visit, which coincided with the Shrine’s centenary year, the late pope celebrated Mass at the Shrine and addressed the sick, their helpers and pilgrimage directors.  Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, is the custodian of the Marian Shrine and Monsignor Joseph Quinn is parish priest of Knock.  Please see:

Further information:
Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444