Communion in Suffering and Healing Explored at 50th International Eucharistic Congress

16 Jun 2012

Communion in Suffering and Healing Explored at 50th International Eucharistic Congress

There was a noticeable international flavour as the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC2012) celebrated the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on a day when speakers and pilgrims explored the theme of ‘Communion in Suffering and in Healing’.

Patriarch Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem was the main celebrant of the Mass in the RDS arena on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, 15 June 2012.

His Homily detailed: “Much has changed in the world after two thousand years. Yet the story is the same as it ever was. The Christians in Jerusalem at the beginning of the Church, were very few and found courage only in the presence of Christ.

“Today, we too, need to realize that Christ is with us, and find courage in His presence. Though are very few and diminishing in number, may we Christians in Jerusalem as well as all Christians remain faithful where the Lord has placed us!”

“Considering the political situation in the Middle East, it is human to be afraid, because we suffer and feel threatened in our existence. But fear is not an acceptable response for a follower of Christ…while we may feel alone; Christ is our hope, joy and freedom.”

At the Congress Prayer Space, Friday’s Morning Prayer was led by Bishop Derek Byrne, Bishop of Guiratinga, Brazel.

The concelebrants at the daily Mass were: Patriarch Fouad Twal; Jerusalem, Archbishop Bashar Warda (Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, Iraq, Bishop Elias Bolanos Avelar; El Salvador, Bishop Pierre Tran Dinh Tu; Vietnam, Bishop Vittorino Girardi Stellin, MCCJ; Costa Rica, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin and Cardinal Sean Brady; Primate of All-Ireland.

Archbishop Bashar Warda, Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, Iraq delivered his catechesis ‘Suffering as a means of communion’. In his address he spoke about how “The Iraqi people are extremely sensible and moved, when one of the family members passes away. They weep loud and bitterly, and for weeks. They gather and sit together recalling the deceased one, with the whole family, and the complete clan. At those moments, all differences and disputes are forgotten…At those moments of grieving, the family, and even the whole village become deeply united in their sorrow and pain.” He then spoke of the impact of the persecution that exists for some members of the Christian Community in Iraq and how such intense moments of feeling, unite the church as a community.

Rose Busingye of Meeting Point International, Uganda, spoke about her work with people with HIV/AIDS, orphans, poor and old, teachers in schools. She said: “The aim is not to leave them alone in front sickness, suffering and death, but to discover together the meaning and the sense of their suffering even death. It’s something that provokes and awakens us to discover the full meaning and the dignity of the human life and love.”

The musical performers during the main arena events were Meath Diocesan Choir; Directed by Jim Walsh and accompanied by Ephrem Feeley, Colleen Gormley; Spiritual Singer, Elation Ministries, St. Ultans Orchestra and Ian Callanan and Choir.


Further information:
•    Aisling Harmey, Media Relations Manager, 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012,  Mob: 00353 (0) 87 137 2447    Email: [email protected]
•    Aoife Connors, Media Officer, 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012,  Mob: 00353 (0) 87 628 0580    Email: [email protected]

Notes for Editors:
•    The 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 will take place in Dublin from 10 – 17 June 2012 with thousands of international  pilgrims expected to attend each day at the RDS, representing more than 120 different countries.
•    IEC2012 will transform the RDS into a Eucharistic Village for an eight day festival of faith and culture. The Eucharist will be celebrated in the Liturgy and adored in the Prayer Space.
•    The Congress is an international gathering of people, held every four years somewhere in the world, which aims to promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Catholic Church; to help improve our understanding and celebration of the liturgy and to draw attention to the social dimension of the Eucharist. These aims are achieved through a programme of pastoral preparation in the years leading up to the Congress and a programme of liturgical and cultural events, lectures and workshops over the course of one week.  Previous Congresses took place in Quebec (2008) and Guadalajara (2004)
•    The theme of the Congress is ‘The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one Another’ (Communion – like Solidarity – means a relationship of mutual love and self-giving).
•    On 17 June, more than 80,000 people are expected to gather and celebrate Statio Orbis, the Final Mass, of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 at Croke Park Stadium.
•    There are a total of 223 speakers as part of the IEC2012 programme of events, which includes 38 speakers in the main arena delivering Catechesis (teaching), personal testimonies, homilies and addresses.
•    There are 41 speakers delivering addresses at the Chiara Luce Youth Space for young people between 17 and 25 years old.
•    A total of 160 workshops including talks, addresses, group reflections, meetings, concerts and plays
•    The full programme is available at:
•    For more information:
•    Follow the Congress Week events live: