International Eucharistic Congress opens in Dublin
June 11, 2012
The 50th International Eucharistic Congress opened in Dublin on June 10 with an address by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and a Mass in a sports stadium, the RDS Arena.
“The Church in Ireland rejoices in the gift of the Eucharist itself, the presence among us of Jesus Christ, our Saviour, given for us, poured out for us, in a sacrifice of love,” said Archbishop Martin. “The Church in Ireland is a Church on the path to renewal. The 50 years since the Second Vatican Council have brought many graces to the Church in Ireland. The message and teaching of the Council still constitute the blueprint for our renewal.”
“But those 50 years have also been marked with a darker side, of sinful and criminal abuse and neglect of those weakest in our society: children, who should have been the object of the greatest care and support and Christ-like love,” he continued. “We recall all those who suffered abuse and who still today bear the mark of that abuse and may well carry it with them for the rest of their lives. In a spirit of repentance, let us remember each of them in the silence of our hearts.”
Dublin’s archbishop added:
The Church in Ireland is on the path to renewal. It will be a lengthy journey. It requires renewed and vigorous New Evangelization, a renewal in faith and in coherent and authentic witness to that faith in the world and in the culture in which we live. In these days of Eucharistic devotion our aim is quietly yet confidently to rebuild and deepen that sense of communion which is the mark of the followers of Jesus …
The Church is not ours to redesign; it is gift that we receive from the Lord with the guidance throughout history of the Holy Spirit and following the example of Mary and the saints. We look forward in hope. We do not rely on our own talents. We are sure that in our efforts of renewal we are never alone. The Eucharist is food for our journey, inviting us to emulate the self-giving love of Jesus who gave himself for us.
Cardinal Marc Oullet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and the pontifical legate to the Congress, was the principal homilist at the opening Mass, which was attended by 40 cardinals, 200 bishops and priests, and 12,500 pilgrims from 120 nations.
“Every Sunday and every special feast day we go to church to meet the risen Lord, to strengthen our bond of love with Him by partaking in the Holy Eucharist,” Cardinal Oullet preached. “It may seem in the world’s eyes that we gather for social reasons or according to our cultural and religious traditions, but in fact we are called together by the Lord Himself, the Lord of the new and eternal covenant who wants us to be one body with Him in a real and faithful covenant of love.”
“At these gatherings we come as we are, poor sinners, and we may not always have the proper disposition to receive Communion,” he continued. “But, as the preparatory document for this Eucharistic Congress reminds us, everyone is able to live what is called ‘a spiritual communion’ in the sense of an act of worship, uniting themselves with the self-giving movement that is being celebrated at Mass. Even when we do not receive sacramental Communion, we can share in the grace that flows from the Body and Blood of Christ to His ecclesial body. This active and conscious participation means belonging to the one body and receiving from it love, peace, hope and courage to go forward, accepting our own share of suffering.”
“Let us then open ourselves to the Word of God, which is calling us to be more faithful partners of the new covenant,” he added. “Let us be aware of the unfathomable gift of the Holy Eucharist. God deserves much more adoration and gratitude for this gift of love.”
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