Presentation of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress
“The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another” is the theme of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, due to be held in the Irish capital Dublin from 10 to 17 June. The initiative was presented this morning in the Holy See Press Office by Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses; Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, and Fr. Vittore Boccardi S.S.S. of the secretariat of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.
“The Roman Ritual ‘De sacra Communione et de cultu mysterii eucharistici extra Missam’ establishes what an International Eucharistic Congress actually is”, Archbishop Marini explained. That document, “enacting the principles of Vatican Council II, defines the Congress as a ‘statio orbis’; in other words, a ‘a pause for commitment and prayer to which a particular community invites the universal Church’. During that time the celebration of the Eucharist becomes the centre and vertex of all forms of piety, … of theological and pastoral reflections, of social commitment.”
“By a noteworthy coincidence”, the archbishop went on, “the fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress of Dublin coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II; and it is to the Council that the Congress will refer because the theme chosen – ‘The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another’ – has been taken from paragraph 7 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium. That theme reminds the baptised that it is by participating in the Eucharist that we construct communion with Christ and, at the same time, with one another; in other words, the most authentic face of the Church. … Progressive emphasis on the ecclesiology of communion ‘according to which the Eucharist has a causal influence at the very origins of the Church’, is replete with pastoral, ecclesial and ecumenical consequences, which will be studied in Dublin at a theological symposium to be held before the Congress.”
Archbishop Marini explained that the event will be attended by thousands of faithful from all over the world who, apart from celebrating the Eucharist together, will pray and participate in a number of processions, eighteen general conferences and 150 workshops and discussion groups, examining important religious themes and experiencing “authentic ecclesial solidarity”.
For his part Archbishop Martin recalled that Dublin had also hosted the thirty-first International Eucharistic Congress in 1932. “The Church in Ireland in 1932 was very different to the Church in Ireland today”, he said. “The Eucharistic Congress must address its participants in the context of the culture in which they live.” In 2012 it must “reflect and present the Church in Ireland, a Church which has faced and continues to face enormous challenges, but a Church which is alive, energetic and anxious to start a journey of renewal.
“There are divisions within the Irish Church”, he added, “sometimes unhealthy divisions. I believe it is helpful to look back to 1932 and to Irish society of the time, which less than a decade previously had been lacerated by a harsh civil war lasting two years. It is a fact of great honour to my predecessor Archbishop Edward Byrne that he celebrated the Congress as a moment of reconciliation and rediscovered unity. For the first time in the newly independent Ireland, men and woman on both sides of a bitter divide met to work together on a shared project. The Eucharist has the power to reconcile. Communion with Christ nourishes communion and reconciliation with others.”
Archbishop Martin went on: “The fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress of Dublin will again be a moment of renewal and reconciliation; an event reawakening awareness among all Catholics of the central place of the Eucharist in the life of the Church, the true summit to which all Church activities strive, the source whence all Church life pours forth.” The Congress will remind the Church in Ireland “of the centrality of spiritual renewal and of the significance of the Church as the Body of Christ”, he said.
The archbishop of Dublin also announced that the Congress will have an ecumenical aspect, with the participation of other Christian Churches in Ireland. The event will conclude in Croke Park on 17 June with a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and pontifical delegate to the Congress. During the Mass a televised message from the Pope will be broadcast.