Message from Monsignor Brendan Byrne, Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress
“My hope is that the people of this diocese will gladly grasp this invitation to focus on what is at the heart of our faith: the person of Jesus Christ and our relationship with him. This is the lifeblood for all we believe.” – Mgr Brendan Byrne
Joyful greetings to each one of you on this historic weekend! This Sunday, 10 June 2012, marks the opening of the week-long celebrations of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012. This is a hugely significant event in the life of the Church in Ireland.
Thousands of people from all over the world will gather in the RDS and in Croke Park, to celebrate their faith. Many more will join in the Congress through television and the internet.
The Congress theme – ‘The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another’- is a call to renew the traditional deep faith and trust we have in Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, which has been, and continues to be, the cornerstone of our faith.
My hope is that the people of this diocese will gladly grasp this invitation to focus on what is at the heart of our faith: the person of Jesus Christ and our relationship with him. This is the lifeblood for all we believe. Not Church structures. Not Church leaders. They have a role to play, but as Christians we are followers of Jesus Christ who lives among us. Our faith in Jesus Christ is the solid foundation for all our hope. This is the good news we can truly cherish.
Christ is with us always, every moment of every day but it is in the Eucharist that we experience that special communion with Him. The joy of receiving the Body of Christ in the Eucharist is what gives us the strength to take each step on our daily journey through life. We know this as individuals and as a community of faith.
At the personal level, as we face the challenges and responsibilities of daily life, as we love and encourage our families, as we pray for our young people starting exams, as we battle with illness or the pain of bereavement, we know we can depend on the certainty and solidarity of Christ’s presence for each of us. The Lord always wants to make his home in us and for us to be at home in Him.
Likewise, Christ strengthens us when we reach out beyond ourselves to care for others. We should always take care to celebrate and cherish our communion with one another. The great danger is that we take it for granted or indeed neglect our part in building up the Body of Christ. So let us be thankful for what we share together. During the Congress, let us each reflect on the generosity of the people around us sharing their time and talents to enrich the lives of those in their community. Every day people reach out to others, young and old, near and far, across all sectors of society and in doing this, the presence of Christ among us is recognised, the good news is shared and our lives are enriched.
The International Eucharistic Congress is a festival of faith and prayer. This weekend we are distributing a prayer card in all our parishes which invites each of us to unite in prayer with the spirit of the Congress. It is a prayer for the seven days in seven places. The words of the prayer and the seven different suggested locations bring home to us that Jesus is with us in all the moments and places of our pilgrim journey on earth. By uniting to say the prayers throughout the Diocese we are connected to the wider family of our faith and it allows those unable to attend the Congress the opportunity to connect with and be part of this wonderful International Eucharistic celebration.
The International Eucharistic Congress has the potential to call us again to the core of our faith, to Christ and the gift of the Eucharist that feeds all our hungers. This is a time in which we can grow together and celebrate our faith. My wish is that each of us will seize this moment and its great gift to us. I pray that well beyond the Congress, the toll of the Congress bell will continue to echo within us as we are called to be nourished and energised by God’s Word and Christ’s Body.
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444
Notes for Editors
• The Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin consists of County Carlow and parts of Counties Kildare, Laois, Offaly, Kilkenny and Wexford. Over 500 pilgrims from the diocese will be attending the Internatinoal Eucharistic Congress in the RDS from 10 – 16 June and 1,600 pilgrims from the diocese will be attending the Statio Orbis in Croke Park on 17 June 2012.