The contemporary article Festival of Faith by Alice Curtayne, published in the Fr. Matthew Record, is republished here, by kind permission of the Capuchin Provincialate. It paints a word picture of the Congress as it was seen at the time.
(A scanned version of the original article in downloadable TIF format is also available).
The 31st International Eucharistic Congress took place in Ireland from the 21st to the 26th June, 1932. It commemorated the 15th centenary of the mission of St. Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland. The Holy Father, Pope Pius XI, sent Cardinal Lorenzo Lauri, as Papal Legate, to attend the Congress.
The 1932 Congress was celebrated throughout Ireland, but the main events took place in Dublin. Altars were erected at venues throughout the country and many thousands of people attended Masses and Benediction ceremonies throughout the week. Thousands also attended the Eucharistic Processions through the streets. All the streets throughout the capital and provincial centres were decorated with floral arrangements and bunting.
Thousands of people lined the streets to welcome the Papal Legate on his journey from Dun Laoghaire to the centre of Dublin. All the public buildings were lit up at night for the duration of the week. The Congress opened with Mass in the Pro Cathedral. This Mass was attended by The Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Reverend Edward Byrne, the Papal Nuncio, the Most Reverend Pascal Robinson, ofm., and Cardinals and Bishops from Europe, Africa, America, China and India. It was attended also by Government Ministers and Dignitaries. Throughout the week the Churches were thronged with people attending Masses, Benediction or just making a quiet visit.
On Sunday, the 26th June, the weeklong ceremonies came to a close with open air Mass in the Phoenix Park. It is estimated that close to one million people attended this Mass. It was relayed on radio throughout Ireland. Massed bands and choirs provided the music for the Mass. Ireland’s international tenor and Papal Knight, Count John McCormack, was the soloist.
The Holy Father, Pope Pius XI, addressed the people of Ireland from his library in the Vatican in Rome, and this address was relayed through the PA system to the million people attending the Mass and to the people listening on their radios at home.
Listen to Una Mangan's memories of the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 1932. Una was a 12 year old school girl in the choir and sang at Mass in Phoenix Park. Now ninety two, Una describes a remarkable event when people proclaimed their faith and joined together in open air ceremonies.
Read more about the History of the Congress.
Read more about what is a Eucharistic Congress