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Bishops gather to kick-off 2012 congress countdown

This will be the first time since 1932 that the event has taken place in Ireland.

Cardinal Sean Brady will attend the National Eucharistic Congress in Knock this weekend.
Cardinal Sean Brady will attend the National Eucharistic Congress in Knock this weekend.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

MEMBERS OF THE Catholic hierarchy in Ireland will be celebrating this weekend at the National Eucharistic Congress, which will take place on Saturday 25 June at the Knock Shrine in Co Mayo.

They will be using the opportunity to celebrate the International Eucharistic Congress, which will take place in Dublin in 2012.

Those attending will include Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh; Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin and President of the Congress; Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, and Bishops and representatives from around Ireland.

The last time it was held in Ireland was in 1932, and now it has been announced that 80 years later the International Eucharistic Congress will be held in Ireland once more.

Here are a few facts you might not have known about the International Eucharistic Congress:

  • The 31st International Eucharistic Congress took place in Ireland from 21 to 26 June, 1932, commemorating the 15th centenary of the mission of St Patrick.
  • In 1932, it drew an estimated one million people to a mass at Phoenix Park.
  • The mass was played on national radio and Pope Pius XI addressed the people of Ireland from his library in the Vatican.
  • This year, the closing liturgy will take place in Croke Park.
  • Its official website describes the International Congress as “not just a once-off week of events in 2012, but a journey of renewal”.
  • The aim is 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”.
  • Memorabilia from that congress will be on display at a special exhibition during the 2012 event.
  • In 1932, the streets throughout Dublin were decorated with flowers and bunting.
  • Thousands of people lined the streets to welcome the Papal Legate, Cardinal Lorenzo Lauri, who was sent by Pope Pius XI.
  • The International Eucharistic Congress began in 1881 – initially they were known as Eucharistic Pilgrimages, then Congresses of Eucharistic Works, then later came to be known as Eucharistic Congresses.
  • The theme of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress is “The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and one another”
  • There will be a range of workshops held at the 2012 event, discussing subjects such as “exploring and celebrating our communion through baptism”, “exploring and celebrating ministry” and “exploring suffering and its potential to exclude and isolate people”.

Visit the official website for the International Eucharistic Congress>

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