Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has welcomed the announcement by Pope Benedict of Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, as the Pope’s personal Legate to the 50th International Eucharistic Congress. The announcement coincides with the launch of a new stage in the preparation for the Congress which will be hosted by Archbishop Martin from June 10th to 17th
Archbishop Martin said he has asked all parishes and Church organisations in the Archdiocese of Dublin to intensify spiritual and pastoral preparation for the Congress. He hopes the final 50 days before the Congress will be celebrated as “The Archdiocese of Dublin in Mission”, an intense moment of renewal of every aspect of Church life. “There are already activities under way sponsored by the Dublin Diocesan Preparatory Committee. The Congress will be an occasion to show-case what is happening pastorally in the Archdiocese and to give a warm welcome to the thousands of guests coming from overseas. My hope is that anyone in Dublin during the week of the Congress will be taken up by the signs of renewal that are visible in the Irish Church”. Archbishop Martin added that the Congress should not be seen as an isolated event but as an important moment in the renewal of the Church which is taking place now and will continue after the Congress.
Archbishop Martin said he was particularly pleased at the nomination of Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops who as Archbishop of Quebec was the host of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress. “As Archbishop of Quebec, Cardinal Ouellet had to face a very similar social and pastoral context to that which we have in Dublin, where traditional Catholicism was challenged by a rapid secularisation. He was a strong voice for the Church in that changing situation. The Quebec Eucharistic Congress, though low key, impacted on Church and society, fostering unity of purpose and renewing evangelisation. One legacy of the Quebec Congress is that fact the over 1000 Canadian pilgrims will be coming to Dublin in June.”
Cardinal Ouellet was a teacher of theology for many years, in Canada and Rome, but especially in Latin America. He became Secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity in 2001 before becoming Archbishop of Quebec two years later.
Archbishop Martin noted that: “When it was known that Dublin was to be the host of the 50th International Congress, Cardinal Ouellet invited me to stay with him at his residence during the Quebec Congress and gain first hand acquaintance with the pastoral and organisational aspects of such a large event. It was an occasion to renew personal contacts which go back to our days as student priests in Rome and to Cardinal Ouellet’s visits to Geneva on ecumenical business, where as Apostolic Nuncio and Vatican Representative at the United Nations Office I hosted him at the Holy See Mission in Geneva”. He added, immediately after a short Easter break, the pastoral preparation for the Congress will resume with renewed effort and will enter a new phase “changing gear and generating renewed enthusiasm for the event”