April 02, 2012

Mercy involvement with the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (MIA)

This week as we enter into the Triduum services of Holy Week, the Catholic community around the world will be commemorating in a special way the institution of the Eucharist in the rituals of the breaking of the bread and the washing of feet in Holy Thursday celebrations. The Second Vatican Council defined the Eucharist as the ‘source and summit of the whole Christian life’ (Lumen gentium, ¶11). To draw the universal Church more deeply into a Eucharistic spirituality, plans are underway for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress which will be held in Dublin in June 2012.

This Congress, which usually takes place every four years, is an international gathering which aims to:

  •  promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Catholic Church
  • help improve our understanding and celebration of the liturgy
  •  draw attention to the social dimension of the Eucharist.

In the spirit of the Eucharistic Congress, Mercy International Association and the Irish Committee for the Cause of Catherine’s Canonisation are planning some special events preceding, during, and after the Congress. These events are designed to link the Mercy World with the energy of this Congress and highlight and celebrate Catherine’s love for the Eucharist.

Eucharistic Congress Bell

The symbol of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress is a Bell. In early Christian Ireland, St Patrick's bell heralded the dawn of a new and eternal day for the Irish people - called to hear the good news - Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh - and in turn become bearers of this news to others, far and near. For Christians, the image of the bell is still used to convey joy, celebration and the announcement of good news

Similar to the Olympic torch which prepares people for the Olympics, the Eucharistic Congress Bell has been travelling throughout Ireland calling people to prepare for the Congress. Since it began its journey on St Patrick's Day in 2011, it has visited all 26 dioceses in Ireland, and been to Rome where it was blessed by Pope Benedict XVI.

At noon on 30th April 2012, the Eucharistic Congress Bell will be brought to the chapel of Mercy International Centre for a period of about a half hour. This opportunity to have the bell in Catherine’s chapel is being made possible by St Andrew’s Parish, Westland Row. The parish is celebrating its 180th Anniversary of laying the foundation stone of the Church and has arranged to have the Congress Bell as part of its celebrations. In the two day time that the Bell is spending with this parish community, it is traveling to significant locations within the parish where it can be seen by people from a variety of backgrounds in their own settings.

All from St Andrew’s Parish and from throughout the Mercy World who are around Dublin on Monday, 30th April, are invited to come pray in the chapel as the Congress Bell is present.

Days of the Eucharistic Congress – 10th-17th June 2012

The venue for the Eucharistic Congress is the RDS (The Royal Dublin Society), which is located a short 1.5 km from Mercy International Centre. Over 20,000 people are expected to participate each day of the Congress, with a total of over 80,000 people participating in the final Mass on 17th June. With Mercy International Centre’s close proximity, our bed and breakfast facilities have been in high demand and we are booked to capacity for these days. In addition, we anticipate that there will be an increase of foot traffic past the Baggot Street house.

In an effort to help spread the story of Catherine McAuley, Mercy International Centre in partnership with the Irish Committee for the Cause of Catherine’s Canonisation will be offering free tours twice daily throughout the Congress, and will have our Chapel and Catherine’s grave as available spaces for private prayer of Congress participants. In addition, the Committee for the Cause of Catherine’s Canonisation has arranged to have a display booth set up at the RDS throughout the Eucharistic Congress with materials promoting Catherine’s spirituality. This booth will be staffed continuously from morning through evening to provide Congress participants with the opportunity to talk further about Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy.

One of the workshops on the official Congress schedule will feature the spirituality of Catherine McAuley. At 7.00 p.m. on Thursday, 14th June, Congress participants will have the opportunity to watch the film Kitty’s Folly: The Story of Catherine McAuley, founder of the Mercy order and engage with members of the Irish Committee for the Cause of Catherine’s Canonisation on this film and Catherine’s story.

Programme on the Eucharist at Mercy International Centre

At the conclusion of Eucharistic Congress, Mercy International Association is pleased to offer a special Eucharistic retreat facilitated by the well known author Anthony J Gittins, CSSp (Chicago, Illinois USA). The highly participative programme is entitled ‘Source and Summit: Eucharistic Themes and Daily Living’. It will be an extended refection on various Eucharistic themes (Real Presence, Thanksgiving, Sacrifice, Famine, and Meal). Each day will be an extended liturgy. In the morning (Introductory Rites) there will be a presentation and time for reading and reflection. Late morning (Liturgy of the Word) includes a reflection on the Readings. In the afternoon (Liturgy of the Eucharist), there will be further input, reading and reflection. Finally (Thanksgiving), we will reflect on the day through faith sharing.

Space is still available for this Eucharistic retreat. Book now by contacting Madeleine.

Messages to: Mary Kay Dobrovolny rsm – Assistant Director, Heritage & Spirituality


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