The sun shone on the opening ceremony of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC2012) in Dublin as it opened with a vibrant colourful parade of International pilgrims from more than 120 countries and the four Archdioceses of Ireland.
A diverse mix of people of all ages represented the four archdiocese of Ireland; Tuam, Dublin, Cashel & Emly, and Armagh with county flags and symbols of faith carried along the parade route while the Congress choir sang.
Bryan Dobson and Roisin Ni Thomain presented the gathering part of the opening ceremony to a crowd of more than 12,500 pilgrims from all four corners of the world. Music for the Ceremony was provided by the Maynooth Gospel Choir, Our Lady of Victories Gospel Choir, the Palestrina Choir, the Dublin Deaf Choir, and the Three Tenors.
Papal Legate, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, celebrated the Mass at 3pm with concelebrants Archbishop Diarmuid Martin; President of the Congress; Archbishop Piero Marini; President of the Pontifical Committee for Eucharistic Congresses, Archbishop Robert LeGall; Archbishop of Toulouse, and Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto.
Delivering his homily, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, said: “How fitting it is that, in God’s providence, this gathering takes place here in Ireland. This is a country known for its natural beauty, its hospitality and its rich culture, but most especially for its long tradition of fidelity to the Catholic faith”.
He added that “Ireland’s strong history of faithfulness has enriched not only these shores, but has, through her missionary sons and daughters, helped to bring the Gospel to many other, far-distant shores”.
“Now the Church in Ireland is suffering and faces many new and serious challenges to the faith. Well aware of these challenges we turn together to Our Lord, who renews, heals and strengthens the faith of His people. I know from my own experience at the last Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City that an event such as this brings many blessings to the local Church and to all the participants, including those who sustain it through prayer, volunteer work and solidarity. And so we pray with confidence in the Eucharistic Lord that this, the fiftieth occurrence of this great universal Church event, may bring a very special blessing to Ireland at this turbulent time and to all of you.”
“As the preparatory document for this Eucharistic Congress reminds us, everyone is able to live what is called a’a spiritual communion’ in the sense of an act of worship, uniting themselves with the self-giving movement that is being celebrated at Mass (The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with One Another.”
Speaking during the ceremony, IEC2012 President Dr Diarmuid Martin said: “We pray that young Irish people will be led to know the happiness and fulfilment, the joy and the hope, the call to love and commitment that comes from an encounter with Jesus Christ.”
Dr Martin added: “The Church in Ireland is on the path to renewal. 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.”
As an acknowledgement of the past, a healing stone was unveiled during the Opening Ceremony in the RDS on 10 June as a means of acknowledging the abuse of children.
The Healing Stone comprises a large, shaped piece of Wicklow granite which is engraved with a prayer composed by a survivor of clerical abuse. The prayer was originally featured in the Liturgy of Lament celebrated in Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral in 2011.
Work on the Healing Stone project began in early 2012. Following consultation with various people, including abuse survivors, it was agreed that the stone would be an appropriate symbol for the Congress.
Fr Kevin Doran, Secretary General of IEC2012, said: “Stone speaks of permanence. To say something is ‘carved in stone’ is to say that it is here to stay rather than just a passing thought. The stone represents the firm determination to work for healing and renewal.
- Aisling Harmey, Media Relations Manager, 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012, Mob: 00353 (0) 87 137 2447 Email: email@example.com
- Aoife Connors, Media Officer, 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012, Tel: Mob: 00353 (0) 87 628 0580 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for Editors:
- The 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 will take place in Dublin from 10 – 17 June 2012 with up to 20,000 pilgrims expected to attend each day at the RDS, including thousands of international pilgrims 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: www.iec2012.ie/programme
- For more information: www.iec2012.ie