Pope Benedict has announced at the end of the 2008 International Eucharistic Congress, that the next congress will be held in Dublin in 2012.

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Dear Friends, as this significant event in the life of the Church draws to a close I invite you to join me in praying for the Success of the next International Eucharistic Congress, which will take place in 2012 in the city of Dublin! I take this opportunity to greet warmly the people of Ireland, as they prepare to host this ecclesial gathering. I am confident that they, together with all the participants at the next Congress, will find it a source of lasting spiritual renewal.
Pope Benedict XVI

Dublin to host the 50th International Eucharistic Congress

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has announced today (22 June) that Dublin will host the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in 2012. Pope Benedict’s announcement was broadcast live from Rome as part of his homily during the final Mass of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress, the final event in a week-long Church celebration in Quebec city.

Attending the Congress in Quebec city, Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, welcomed the news:

“On behalf of the Catholic faithful of Ireland, we are honoured and humbled that the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has chosen Dublin to host the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in 2012. While the theme for the next Congress has yet to be finalised, we are deeply conscious that 2012 also marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.

“The purpose of the Congress is to deepen our knowledge of the Eucharist which in itself is central to our Catholic faith. The Church received the Eucharist from the Lord. The Eucharist is the source and summit of the life of every follower of Jesus. We ask the faithful to pray to the Holy Spirit and that its work will lead us all to a greater appreciation of the presence of Jesus in our midst, for love of us, in the gift of the Eucharist.

“The hosting of the Congress in Dublin will be an international event. The celebration will attract thousands of pilgrims and will enable Catholics at home and abroad to meet, pray together and discuss issues of faith.

“This is the second time that Dublin and Ireland plays host to the International Eucharistic Congress. The 1932 Congress in Dublin was considered an organisational success and it publicly showcased Catholic faith in the newly established State. We live in different times now and it is our hope that the 2012 Congress will be an opportunity for the Catholic Church in Ireland to both reflect on the centrality of the Eucharist at the heart of our increasingly diverse community, and, to give renewed impetus to the living of faith.

“Our planning for the 2012 Congress will be guided by Article 20 of the Statutes of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses (1986), which stipulates that:

In preparing a Congress, emphasis is laid mainly on an intense catechesis on the Eucharist as the Paschal Mystery of Chris, on active and conscious participation in the Liturgy, and on a careful choice of initiatives and the diligent implementation of social ministries, in such a way that the Eucharistic table may be a sign of solidarity and sharing with the poor.

“Accordingly, over the next four years, parishes are invited to suggest how best to celebrate the 2012 Congress. In all our preparations we shall continue to: promote renewal of faith; bear witness for the Gospel; and, communicate the principle that the Eucharist represents the community professing itself as belonging to the Lord.

“Finally, we wish to congratulate Cardinal Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec, and his fellow clergy, religious and laity of Canada on the quality of the reflections and liturgical events which all contributed to a very successful Congress in Quebec. The daily Masses, workshops, witness reflections, discussions and adoration of the Eucharist made for a joyous week while leaving a lasting impression on all the pilgrims who attended this special event.”

History of Eucharistic Congress

The first International Eucharistic Congress, held in France in 1881, gathered 300 people at the head of Eucharistic movements in European countries. During the following 125 years, the format of Congresses strongly evolved and they now attract some 12,000 to 15,000 participants for a full week of celebrations, adoration, catechesis, cultural events, fraternal gatherings, and commitments to aid the poor.

Since 1881, the Pope had always been represented by a special Delegate at the celebration of Eucharistic Congresses. In 1964, Pope Paul VI took part in the last two days of the Congress held in Bombay, an initiative followed by his successor, John Paul II.

2008 Quebec Congress

Pope Benedict XVI linked up live to the tens of thousands of pilgrims from the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe, gathered on the Plain of Abraham in Quebec Canada, this Sunday (22 June) where they were celebrating Mass marking the end of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress.

Giant screens carried the Pope’s image and words across the meadow, delivered from the apostolic palace here at the Vatican. Speaking in both French and English, Pope Benedict’s message was clear –

Sunday is the day we honour Christ, we need to rediscover, understand and respectfully celebrate the Sunday Eucharist.

He called for a renewal of Eucharistic catechesis and awareness among priest and lay Catholics that the liturgy does not belong to us; that it is the Churches treasure:

I urge priests especially to give due honour to the Eucharistic rite and I ask all the faithful to respect the role of each individual, both priest and lay in the Eucharistic action.

Eucharistic Action, was another aspect examined during this weeks congress and underlined by the Pope as well as the call to Communion”

It is by receiving the Body of Christ that we receive the strength of unity with God and with one another. We must never forget that the Church is built around Christ and that the Eucharist is the sacrament of the Churchs unity because we all form one single body of which the Lord is the head. We must go back again and again to the Last Supper on Holy Thursday. The Last Supper is the locus of the nascent Church, the womb containing the Church of every age.

Concluding his reflections on the 49th Congress Pope Benedict noted that:

…Sunday, the first day of the week is the day when we honour Christ, the day when we receive the strength to live each day the gift of God.