IEC2012 Blog

The Congress through the Eyes of the IEC2012 Bloggers

July 18, 2012

Did you know that we had 9 bloggers capturing what was happening during the week of the Congress? They picked up words from speakers, anecdotes, experiences, reflections, comments, and so much more and put it on writing on our Congress Blog! Reading their articles is experiencing the Congress through their eyes and we really recommend doing so! 

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NET Ministries – Do Something Amazing

June 21, 2012

If you visited the Youth Space at any time during the week of the International Eucharistic Congress, chances are you witnessed one or all of the following: an amazing silent play about the world’s troubles and how God loves us; a group of people in blue t-shirts with “Do Something Amazing” on the back; or a young man from the United States of America dancing around and having fun without a care in the world. They were all part of a group called NET Ministries, which really brought something special to the space last week.

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A Spiritual Guide

June 21, 2012

As you walk into Simmoncourt Hall to register for your tickets, a group of five sets of two chairs in the middle of the room stand out, as well as the people sitting at this group of chairs: the spiritual guides. Some people might be confused at first of who they are, they are not mystics or fortune tellers but people that have felt a call to accompany others on the start of their journeys.

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A Life Less Ordinary – Interview with Fr Robert McCabe CF

June 21, 2012

One great aspect of International Eucharistic Congress is the participation of different people with different backgrounds and from different countries. At this Congress in particular, there was a group of young men whose commitment to their cause is as strong as their commitment to faith.

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Team volunteer

June 20, 2012

So what team plays in green and purple?

As a Dublin and GAA fan I have a routine for my trips to Croke Park. A big breakfast, Mass, meet friends in local pub -2 drinks, and then down to Croke Park in time for the national anthem. I don't like being late. I've being doing this for 10 years now.

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The Final Push

June 20, 2012

With less than 24 hours to go to the Statis Orbis in Croke Park final preparations are almost complete. This evening, hundreds of volunteers assembled in Croke Park to do their final site visit and become familiar with where they will be stewarding in the big day. With 80,000 pilgrims expected it is absolutely critical that all stewards, Eucharistic ministers, volunteers know exactly where they will be working and be prepared for every situation that may arise.

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Interview : Bishop Frank J Caggiano

June 20, 2012

Last Saturday was the closing night in the Youth Space, and Bishop Frank J Caggiano from the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York delivered the final catechesis. It was an inspiring speech full of passion about the future of the Church and one which received not one but two standing ovations.

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Interview: Maura Garrihy – Elation

June 20, 2012

During the week of the International Eucharistic Congress, Elation have rocked the Youth Space with a young approach to worship. They have played songs with electric guitars and drums giving faith a real rock band feel with lyrics such as “Your grace is enough for me” and “Come, Holy Spirit, power from above”.

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Exhibition Through the Eyes of the Apostles

June 19, 2012

This video shows the main exhibit in the Simonscourt Complex: Through the Eyes of the Apostles.

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Interview: St. Laurence O’Toole School, Greystones

June 19, 2012

Each day of the Congress in the Main Arena, people witnessed a programme called Music & Continuity, and it highlighted Irish Religious music in many formats. During the week the boys and girls of St Laurence O’Toole School, Greystones, performed a brilliant set of 3 songs.

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Interview: Full Set

June 19, 2012

Each day of the Congress in the Main Arena, people witnessed a programme called Music & Continuity and it highlighted Irish Religious music in many formats. Full Set, which includes Sean, Michael, Andy, Robert & Teresa, has performed at festivals and theatres all around Europe and the United States, and last week they added the Main Arena at the 50th Eucharistic Congress to that impressive list.

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Catechesis on Reconciliation

June 18, 2012

Bishop Donal McKeown from the Diocese of Down and Connor, is the Bishop for youth, and is one of the few Bishops to successfully run a marathon. He delivered a Catechesis on Reconciliation in the Youth Space this week.

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Interview: Bishop Donal McKeown

June 18, 2012

After Bishop Donal McKeown concluded his catechesis on reconciliation, I had the great honour of interviewing him and we spoke briefly about the 50th International Eucharistic Congress and the struggles the Church has been facing. Bishop Donal said we need to remember that what is happening is part of a wider problem.

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A Priceless Gift from Derry

June 18, 2012

The 50th International Eucharistic Congress had many highlights, one of which was the special and holy unveiling in the Prayer Space of a unique handmade manuscript of the Gospel of Saint John, Chapter 6, produced by the Sisters of St John, Derry. The book, which weights 5 kilograms, has one verse every two pages – with one page in Irish and one in English.

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Supporting Our Priests

June 18, 2012

Wednesday in the Eucharistic Congress was a day featuring the Priesthood and Vocations to the religious life. A priest plays a key role in the lives of people of faith, for through them can we receive the 7 Sacraments. Thus it was right to honour the Priesthood and vocations at the Congress, but also to remember them in our daily prayers. And as we do so, we might ask ourselves:

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Renewing the parish as people of the Holy Spirit

June 16, 2012

I’ve been so lucky this week to get into many of the workshops that had a limited audience capacity. Today’s workshop by David Payne was one of those. David works in full time evangelization ministry and is passionate about putting life back into our Church, and reaching lapsed Catholics.

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Has the Rhondda really moved to the RDS?

June 16, 2012

Strolling through Hall 1, relaxing between blogs on Thursday 14th June, I thought perhaps I was asleep? “All I have to do is dre-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-eam.” No, I was wide awake and it was the sound of the Valleys, wafting through the air and bringing me back to the terraces of the old Landsdown Road with ‘Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah’ (AKA ‘Bread of Heaven’) ringing out to the enraptured crowd. We were then treated to "Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves," Va, pensiero, from "Nabucco" by Verdi; ‘You raise me up’ and, for our American friends, ‘Dixy/Glory glory halleluiah’ - similar to Elvis, but with more harmonies!

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Video: Host Churches, Programme at Our Lady Queen of Peace

June 16, 2012

Today we go to 'Our Lady Queen of Peace' Church to have a look at the youth activities which are held here during the Congress.

 

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Video: Volunteers Behind the Scenes

June 16, 2012

This short video shows some of the volunteers who have worked very hard behind the scenes. Every day there have been a thousand volunteers to help the congress to run as smooth as possible. It is not in a small part due to their dedication that the International Eucharistic Congress is such a success!

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Events Otside the RDS - Anecdotes about Youth Ministry in Merrion Church

June 16, 2012

Wandering through the youth space this morning I met Maura Jennings who has been doing great work for youth evangelization in Ireland for years. She is singing with the group Elation this week, but also spent a lot of her time in Merrion church, giving workshops during their wonderful youth ministry programme.

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Events outside the RDS - Canadian volunteers at the Dublin International Eucharistic Congress

June 16, 2012

While waiting to see the crucifix of St Bernadette in St Damian’s monastery Simmonscourt Road, I had the great pleasure of meeting two Canadians from Quebec, Rosaire and Victor Vaillancourt. They were both volunteers at the 49th Eucharistic Congress in Quebec, 4 years ago, one had been in charge of the volunteers for registration and welcoming, and the other had been a photographer.

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St Teresa of Avila – Social Networker

June 16, 2012

In the Youth Space this afternoon, I listened to an exhilarating, rapid-fire presentation on St Teresa of Avila, given by Fionnuala Dunne. She took a two-part approach to her topic, cleverly capturing our attention in part one with an imaginative description of the Carmelite saint as the original social networker, with her autobiography, half dozen books on prayer, the source of Carmelite life, and her hundreds of letters of correspondence.

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Danielle Rose – A Music Missionary with a message to Relay

June 16, 2012

One of the most inspiring performers to take to the stage on Saturday morning was a musician from the USA by the name of Danielle Rose. As a Music Missionary, Danielle spreads the gospel worldwide through her music, and has been on the road for the past ten years.

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Tommy Fleming sings the praises of the International Eucharistic Congress

June 16, 2012

Tommy Fleming, the man introduced to the International Eucharistic Congress as the Voice of Ireland, experienced mixed emotions after his performance at this year’s International Eucharistic Congress.

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The presence of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the International Eucharistic Congress

June 16, 2012

On this the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I was keen to find out what our greatest advocate, interceding with her Son on our behalf, meant to Pilgrims at the Eucharistic Congress. Although perhaps not immediately obvious, Our Blessed Mother’s presence was everywhere, including the special Eucharistic Congress edition of Magnificat, the book of Masses, morning and evening prayer given to every pilgrim, and to people all over Ireland to join in each day’s prayers.

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Events in city - The Holy Spirit Working in the Legion of Mary

June 16, 2012

Among the many things happening around the city of Dublin during the International Eucharistic Congress is the Legion of Mary open house. The Legion was set up by Irishman, Frank Duff in 1921, and started with 13 members. It has since grown into one of the largest lay Catholic organisations in the world. Tours of Frank Duff’s house and tours of the Legion’s Concilium house were part of the activities on offer.

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Events outside the RDS - St Bernadette’s Crucifix on view

June 16, 2012

All week, rumours have been spreading amongst the pilgrims of the presence of St Bernadette’s crucifix in St Damian’s Poor Clare Monastery on Simmonscourt Road, so I went along today to check it out. As it was on show only between 9am and 12noon each day, there was a constant stream of visitors.

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The Media for Catholics – Friend or Foe?

June 16, 2012

As someone who works in Public Relations, which is all about maintaining and enhancing reputation, I was fascinated by Fr Thomas Rosica’s presentation on ‘Is there a Catholic media?’ He started by looking at the community of Dead Sea Scrolls and their wish to communicate only with like-minded people - keeping outsiders outside - not the way for the Modern Catholic Church to go! Then, considering Jesus as a great communicator, Fr Thomas reminded us of how Jesus befriended sinners, not condoning their behaviour, but offering an alternative: healing, restoring, renewing and reconciling broken humanity.

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Eucharistic Congress: a True Celebration of Christian Faith

June 16, 2012

Speaking to Ava Cooper from the Good News Singers backstage before her Saturday morning performance, one could see how important the International Eucharistic Congress has been for Dublin and Ireland. The Primary School Teacher, from Carysford Primary School in Blackrock, has performed all week throughout the Congress and has one more big performance in store for the Final Mass in Croke Park.

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A Journey as a Sacrament Part 7 – St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral

June 16, 2012

The last stop on the Pilgrim Walk was St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral on Marlborough Street in the heart of Dublin City. The history of St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral is extensive and has origins dating all the way back to the twelfth century. The state, by Act of Parliament, created the Protestant Parish of St. Mary in 1697, and ten years later Archbishop Byrne, although in hiding, made it the Catholic Parish of St. Mary.

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Spiritual Shelter from the Downpours of Life

June 16, 2012

A torrential downpour during lunchtime forced me under the trees for shelter, along with several others, near the entrance gates to the Simmonscourt pavilion.

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Pulling your Leg!

June 16, 2012

Jesus Balazo, who is manning the ‘Lost and Found’ desk today in the Simmonscourt pavilion, tells me that there are a number of iPods waiting to be reunited with their owners, as well as several bracelets, umbrellas (vital today!) and other sundry items.

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Are you 100% Eucharistic or just 50%?

June 16, 2012

Fr Dan Crosby gave his talk to a packed lecture hall. His words were fascinating and very thought provoking. He called us all into question with regard to the Eucharist. Are we 100% Eucharistic or just 50%? Are we sacrificing ourselves in the Eucharist as Christ did? He stressed that we need to be fully converted to the Eucharist.

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Journey of Conversion

June 16, 2012

As the principal celebrant of Thursday’s Mass, on the theme of Reconciliation in our Communion, His Eminence Seán Cardinal Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland, welcomed various groups, including one from Mellifont, in county Louth, and a group of walkers from county Down.

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A Journey as a Sacrament Part 6 – St Ann’s Church, Dawson Street

June 16, 2012

The next stop on the Pilgrim Walk was St Ann’s, the Church of Ireland parish church on Dawson Street. Built in 1707, the church is the second oldest building on Dawson Street (the Mansion House being the oldest). There have been many famous people associated with the parish, including Oscar Wilde, Theobald Wolfe Tone and Ireland’s first President, Dr Douglas Hyde.

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A Lay Person’s Tale

June 16, 2012

The theme for last Wednesday’s Congress was Ministry in the Service of Communion, and there was an array of talks and services reflecting this. I met and had lunch with Maura Quinn from the diocese of Brentwood in England. Maura was born in Dublin but has lived in London for most of her adult live. She worked as a social worker with a particular interest in child protection. Maura is a Pastoral Assistant in her church, St John the Baptist, Ilford, Essex. Maura spent much of the day in the main arena, listening to various speakers and homilies, and talking to other pilgrims.

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Suffering and Healing

June 16, 2012

One could be tempted to describe the contents of today’s programme in detail (Friday 15th June). Indeed the theme of the day was “Communion in Suffering and Healing”, a theme that was ably addressed by Archbishop Bashar Warda, the Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, Iraq.

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Sr Briege: ‘You can’t talk about Jesus until you talk to Him’

June 15, 2012

Sr Briege McKenna and Fr Kevin Scallon were signing books at the Veritas bookstand in the exhibition area this afternoon. What does it mean to Sr Briege that the International Eucharistic Congress is being held in Ireland this year?

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A Room for us All

June 15, 2012

This afternoon I completed my pilgrim’s walk of the seven churches. I will admit to driving to some of the churches, but I did bring a disabled person, and if she does not mind me saying, not a spring chicken. While getting our stamp in St Mary of the Angels in Church Street, a pilgrim as...

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The legacy of forgiveness

June 15, 2012

“Forgiveness always comes at a price – and always to the person doing the forgiving.” 

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Testimonial – Richard Moore. Reconciliation - Leading to Success and Vision

June 15, 2012

Before Mass this afternoon, I was looking forward to hearing Richard Moore speak. Living in Northern Ireland, I was aware of his story and was particular interested in his capacity to forgive and to focus on others, despite his own difficulties.

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Reconciliation in our Communion – Catechesis

June 15, 2012

On Thursday 14th, His Eminence Laurent Cardinal Monsengwo, Archbishop of Kinshasa, spoke in French to the assembled pilgrims. My understanding of what he said (via the simultaneous translation) was that in the world-wide family of God, we are members not guests, citizens not foreigners, through the redeeming Blood of Christ, who is the author of peace and reconciliation. In Jesus, through the Holy Spirit we have ongoing access to the Father - reconciliation, given freely. We too must reconcile with our neighbour: to obtain forgiveness we must also forgive, freely.

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Prayer, praise, procession and pipes!

June 15, 2012

Having heard that the stewards were short of people to marshal the Blessed Sacrament procession, I volunteered to be an ‘extra’ in this role last night and found myself marching into position under the watchful eye of Steward leader Paul, an ex-army man, so the very person for the job! After distributing the Procession service leaflets, we witnessed rows and rows of priests pass by, ahead of the privileged people who raised aloft a golden canopy, under which the Blessed Sacrament was held high, which was then followed by thousands of pilgrims.

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Video: 1932 Eucharistic Congress Exhibition

June 15, 2012

One of the exhibits of the International Eucharistic Congress is focussed on the previous Eucharistic Congress held in Dublin in 1932. This video shows a short documentary of this 1932 exhibit.

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Video: Eucharistic Procession

June 15, 2012

One of the highlights of the Eucharistic Congress is the Eucharistic Procession. There were a lot of pilgrims who took part in this important event, and this short video clip will give some idea of what happened.

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Only Faith Unites Us

June 15, 2012

Why do people of all ages, different backgrounds, cultures, races and creeds and from all over the world attend the International Eucharistic Congress? There are many different answers but faith is always located somewhere within the answer.

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What Do You Hope Congress will Achieve?

June 15, 2012

One of the great things about having so many diverse people attending the 50th International Eucharistic Congress is that you can ask 100 people the same questions, and be sure to get 100 totally different answers. So, firstly, I would ask you to reflect on the International Eucharistic Congress and what you hope it will achieve… and then to consider some of the answers I got today from pilgrims, and to pray that they happen.

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“The Congress has come to us”— A Traveller’s perspective

June 15, 2012

It’s drizzling rain. The blue, green, red and orange welcome flags of the IEC2012 flutter in the wind. Fr. Santosh, from the Poona diocese in India, and I are sheltering from the rain in a traditional Traveller tent that is part of the Living History Project created by the Navan Travellers Workshop Limited.

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Video: Priesthood and Ministry in the Service of Communion

June 14, 2012

The theme of the 4th day of the International Eucharistic Congress 2012 is "Priesthood and ministry in the service of communion". This video shows some interviews with a variety of groups involved in the different ministries within the Church.

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A Journey as a Sacrament Part 5 – Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

June 14, 2012

The next stop on the pilgrim walk was the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which is more generally known as Whitefriar Street Church. Early in the 18th Century the Carmelites returned to Dublin, moving to a house in French Street and set up a small chapel on Cuffe Lane and a school on Longford Street.

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Bread of Angels – nourishing us now and evermore

June 14, 2012

It is interesting to think about some of the people who have contributed to this week’s Congress but who are not physically present for one reason or another. I personally know people who have decided to spend extra time in prayer and adoration in their local parishes but who will not be here. We hope to unite with them in prayer.

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Testimonies from the heart

June 14, 2012

This Wednesday afternoon, there were two personal testimonies given by two courageous women.

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Christ has no body but yours

June 14, 2012

There were several impressive aspects to Archbishop John Michael Miller’s catechesis on Wednesday afternoon. Archbishop Miller has been Archbishop of Vancouver, Canada, since 2009, and he gave a catechesis on the service aspects of communion through priesthood or other ministries.

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The volunteer behind the volunteer

June 14, 2012

Every morning I, as a volunteer, have checked in at the RDS Simmonscourt complex. This is a straightforward way of knowing that we are all present and correct. Volunteers are given a meal voucher, a bottle of water and a smile. I have been greeted each morning by Anne Cahill from Drogheda and David Cummins, from Dungarven. This morning they were helped by Caroline Eaton from Knock. All three are part of Volunteer Services, all have taken a week’s annual leave to serve at the Congress, their shift are either 7.30am to 3.30pm or 3.30pm to 10.30pm – or later. They can be asked to work in any location within the RDS and, without exception, they are polite and courteous. They are the volunteers behind so many other volunteers.

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A Reconciliation theme

June 14, 2012

Thursday’s theme is Reconciliation in our Communion. It promises to be another very full day. Speakers from several charitable organisations will also be addressing pilgrims, including Crosscare, Social Justice Ireland, and Trócaire (that is, ‘Mercy’), the Irish third world aid NGO.

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Video: Choirs Rehearsing, Exhibition and Rosary Garden

June 14, 2012

Check our new video! This video report takes us from the volunteers checkin area on Simonscourt through the general registration area towards the RDS Arena. On our way we looked at a choir doing some rehearsals, talked to some pilgrims, had a look at the Chaplaincy of the Defense Forces and ended up in the Rosary Garden situated at the Poor Clare's Monastery on the Simonscourt road.

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‘United Nations’ Take The Train to IEC2012

June 13, 2012

Taking the southbound DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) to the RDS for the Eucharistic Congress is a United Nations’ experience these days. The ‘world and its mother’ (to borrow an Irish expression) is on it – quite literally!

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Achieving a goal in faith!

June 13, 2012

Some people say that sport is the main religion of Ireland. Fr Healy, a Kerry man, introduced the workshop ‘Building Communion Through Sport’ noting how our love of sport in Ireland can sometimes become an obsession. There were lots of people who are involved in coaching teams in rugby, football, and so on, at the workshop. My parish priest, Fr Pat Murphy, from Ballyragget in the Diocese of Ossory, was there too. He is a great lover of hurling and played in his time. In the match season, he always includes a message of congratulations to the parish teams, so even if you have no interest in GAA you can follow the league at Mass!

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Video of the Youth Space

June 13, 2012

The youth space is a vibrant area in the congress with great talks, testimonies, catechesis, workshops and music for teenagers and young adults. The activities run each morning and evening and there has been great attendance each day. This video gives a small glimpse of some of the activities in ...

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Interview: James Kilbane

June 13, 2012

James Kilbane has played his music on several stages including the Voice of Ireland, on Pilgrimages to Knock Shrine, at the Inspirational Country Music Convention in Nashville, and now he has added the Main Arena of the 50th Eucharistic Congress to that impressive list. For him it is a great celebration of Faith, but also a great honour to have country music play a part in the Congress.

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Beautiful, Sacred Music Filled the Air

June 13, 2012

Just before 4pm Mass today, Pilgrims shared the wonderfully uplifting experience of hearing Sarah McCourt singing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu and Shubert’s Ave Maria, along with one of her own father’s compositions, De Profundus. She was accompanied by her father, organist and composer, Brendan McCourt.

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A guided spiritual journey at the 50th International Eucharistic Congress

June 13, 2012

While having some tea in Hall 8 late this morning, I noticed four pairs of chairs with a candle on a cushion beside each, along with various books. These were the chairs for the Spiritual guides, two of whom were speaking to pilgrims. I felt that this was an interesting area worth getting more information to share with you.

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Priesthood & Ministry – A Youth Space Catechesis

June 13, 2012

This International Eucharistic Congress has many firsts, but the Youth Space is truly a great first that will surely be followed at future Congresses. As part of the Youth Space commitment, each day a different Bishop delivers a Catechesis on the theme of the day.

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Interview: Fiona Walsh, Choir Director Ennis Gospel Choir

June 13, 2012

During the week of the Congress, readers, singers and dancers from all over the world perform in the main arena between one and two o’clock. One of the groups taking part on Wednesday was the Ennis Gospel Choir from Co Clare.

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O’Brien Boys Carry Forward the Catholic Faith

June 13, 2012

The first day of the International Eucharistic Congress 2012 was, in artistic parlance, one of ‘wash and colour’. The vibrancy and joy of foreign groups stood out in stark contrast to the more muted and reflective disposition of Irish pilgrims.

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St John Ambulance – helping to keep us moving

June 13, 2012

At today’s International Eucharistic Congress, I visited the St John Ambulance group in Simmonscourt to find out how the Congress was going for them. I spoke to John and Sean who explained that they have three shifts, from 8am to 10:30pm, with 15 people on duty each day, including 3 Doctors, mostly volunteers from Europe, and three local nurses. They have had an average of 30 patients each day, including some trips to hospital, mainly for chest pains and damage to limbs. Their personnel are in two locations, Simmonscourt and in the medical centre, staffing of which they share with The Order of Malta. I have to say I was surprised at this level of activity, and recognised the significant value of their work, even though they described it as “just another gig”!

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Treasure your priests – they are an awesome gift from God!

June 13, 2012

Sr Briege Mckenna & Fr Kevin Scallon gave a wonderful workshop on their ministry of caring for priests. Luckily the hall holds over 300 people as this was a very popular workshop. Fr Scallon opened the talk by noting with great humour that he is sometimes known as either Fr McKenna or Fr Briege, due to the great popularity of Sr Briege. God in the Church raises up people with special gifts to minister to his priests and this is very much what He does in the persons of Sr. Briege and Fr. Scallon.

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The Best Chat up Line!

June 13, 2012

While listening to the personal Testimony on Religious Life by Sr Conchita McDonnell, the rain arrived. I took it upon myself to help the stewards distribute some rain ponchos to pilgrims. I offered a mother and son a poncho each and ended up talking about the day’s events. John Rooney from Coolbeg, Co Sligo, is here with his mother Mary. John had been here on Sunday and had taken part in the procession, proudly holding his Legion of Mary banner, representing his conference of Immaculate Heart of Mary from the Dioceses of Tuam North Eplhin. John’s banner had been spotted by members of the IEC 2012 and they had asked him to take part in Wednesday’s Eucharistic Procession. What the Congress did not know is that John is a graphic designer and designed and made the banner himself. It really is a piece of art.

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God as Loving Communion

June 13, 2012

On Tuesday afternoon, Archbishop Barry Hickey’s opening remarks of his Catechesis: God as loving Communion captured his audience instantly. "It is a great honour to address the Congress. I'm not sure why I was asked but I am honoured". Well I think I know why he was asked. His talk was powerful, interesting, incredibly relevant and very humorous. He spoke of his love for the Blessed Eucharist and welcomed the opportunity to deepen our love for the Eucharist in Communion with marriage.

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Follow the Congress

June 13, 2012

I was awake for a few hours in the middle of the night. While I would love to say it was because I was reflecting on the many people I met and the talks I attended at yesterday’s Eucharistic Congress, but I was awake because I have a screaming, teething child. I laughed as I thought of the words I heard from Archbishop Barry Hickey yesterday afternoon when he spoke of the sacrifices we make in marriage, one of which is the sleepless nights that parents endure with sick children.

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Communion: the Power to Say “Yes” to Love

June 13, 2012

The theme explored in this workshop was the concept of communion in marriage and family. Dr. Carl Anderson, who is the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, a position he has held since 2000, told pilgrims at the RDS arena that “each is called to a sincere gift of self.”

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A busy Day

June 13, 2012

Wednesday’s programme has as its theme, Priesthood and Ministry in the Service of Communion, and refers to both ordained and lay ministries. It includes sessions ranging from Caring for Our Priests, to An Amazing Grace: The Poets of the Eucharist. There is even a workshop on Building Communion Through Sport, ( in English and German).

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Shooting the Breeze under the Clock Tower

June 13, 2012

I think I have the best volunteer role at the Congress. I get to talk to pilgrims, volunteers, exhibitors and performers. And I get to share their stories with you, our readers.

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Youth Space – Fully Loaded!!!!

June 13, 2012

The 50th International Eucharistic Congress will go down in history for many reasons, but on Monday night, history was made when the first ever Youth Space was opened and kicked off with “Get Set Go – Communion in One Baptism”. It was a lively kick off to the Youth Space, with prayers through music, and different forms of games.

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Breda O’Brien – A Testimonial

June 12, 2012

This afternoon, Breda O’Brien, journalist, teacher and mother, first acknowledged a religious Sister who had attended the 1932 Eucharistic Congress as a nine year old child, and then spoke to pilgrims on Catholic marriage and family.

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Catherine Wiley – A Testimonial

June 12, 2012

Catherine Wiley, a grandmother from Mayo, now living in Walsingham, Norfolk, the national shrine of Our Lady in England, addressed the 50th International Eucharistic Congress today.

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A Space for Prayer

June 12, 2012

My first impression of the prayer space building, its bricks and pillars, was how similar they are to our large, empty mills in Belfast. The soft carpet contributed to the silence beautifully observed by the many pilgrims, school pupils and religious taking time to reflect and pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament. This essential space, in the heart of the International Eucharistic Congress was, and will be, appreciated by the pilgrims who spend time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Many of them, in many languages, left written copies of their requests and thanks on the Prayer Wall. These included petitions relating to family, the Church and her priests, jobs, health, impending births, deceased relatives and friends and the holy souls in purgatory – all our concerns in life and death are reflected there.

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We all have intentions

June 12, 2012

The prayer room was very popular today as pilgrims got a chance to sit, pray or simply rest for a while. So that is what I did – sit down and soaked up the silence and felt the calm. On the way out, I noticed the prayer wall, which is covered in bright post-it notes with hand written intentions. After I added my intention, I could not help notice a few of the others: intentions for success in finding a job; prayers for a family member who is ill; but the one that really made me smile was written by a child and simply asked for ‘a sunny day and peace’. Neither of which is too much to ask for.

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A family affair

June 12, 2012

I was chatting today to Anna (7) and Christina O’Brien (5) who are at the Congress with their mum Marie and their granny, Mary Hardy. Their brother Tommy could not make it today. Marie and Mary wanted to be part of the Congress as Mary remembered the excitement of the last Congress in 1932. Mary was 4 at the time and thought the Congress was been held in Killarney as that is where she heard all the people were going to. It was only later that she realised that Killarney was where they were going, but to get the train to Dublin! I asked Anna and Christine what they thought was the best part of the day, and Christina said she thought it was the IEC2012 ear piece, as she could hear all the singing from the main Arena. For Anna, it was the fact that she had a day off school, but she also enjoyed the music. And for both girls, the rain ponchos were also a big bonus. Mary and Marie felt that it was better than they expected and were honoured to be here.

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A piece of Paradise

June 12, 2012

“God has found a piece of paradise and landed me in it.” This is Hazel Hartigan’s view of the Rosary Garden in St. Damian’s Monastery, which is home to the Poor Clare Sisters, and is adjacent to the site of the International Eucharistic Congress. Hazel, who is working for Frontline Security at the garden, says that she loves to be among trees and plants and that the garden represents “tranquility” to her.

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The clergy & laity strengthening marriage & family life together

June 12, 2012

Today’s workshop on Strengthening Marriage and Family life was a very beautiful, thoughtful, and touching presentation.

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Seeking God together: Spirituality for Married Couples

June 12, 2012

I went to the workshop on "Spirituality for Married Couples" given by Pat and Carmel Cunneen of Equipe Notre-Dame Ireland (Teams of Our Lady).  As a newly married woman, I was keen to learn more about how my husband and I could live out our marriage in a truly spirit-filled way.  It was a very popular workshop and unfortunately space was limited in the lecture room.  However, there was a happy ending for those who were turned away, as there was an impromptu gathering outside on the grass, led by other members of the Team.  One lady from the team even gave a workshop to a young mother in the café.  There was great interest in the movement and some American and Nigerian pilgrims were keen to know whether it is available in their regions.

 In brief, Equipe Notre-Dame Ireland (Teams of Our Lady) is a community of married couples under Our Lady’s patronage which is significant for many reasons: she leads us to her Son, she said yes to the will of God, and she walked in the path of her Son.

The Movement itself started in France in 1939, helps married couples to strive for holiness, and gives lots of practical points of application in life by which this can be done. There are 6 ‘endeavours’ as they call them that they live in their married life that help them to do this.  First is the reading of Sacred Scriptures, in the knowledge that having personal contact with the Word of God is tantamount. Pat noted that Blessed Pope John Paul II said that ignorance of Sacred Scripture is ignorance of God. Second is to have personal prayer in your life so as to listen, reflect and discern God’s love. Additionally, there is the annual retreat, the rule of life, conjugal prayer and the ‘sit down’. 

The latter 2 are extremely pertinent as they involve the couple, rather than each as an individual.  Conjugal prayer allows the couple to express thoughts in prayer, read the Scriptures, and express what is in their hearts. Through prayer we strive to know God’s will for our lives. The Rosary and the Magnificat are important prayers also due to the patronage of Our Lady.

The ‘sit down’ is important as it allows time for communication between the couple. Both husband and wife can look at their lives together in the light of the Lord, reveal themselves to one another, express thoughts and feelings, make changes where necessary, listen, renew, share, make time and become more aware of one another, find neutral solutions to problems, and listen in empathy even if the solution is not available.  As Pat noted, God calls us to perfection but accepts us in our imperfection, which is what we are called to do within marriage. 

A testimony was given by another couple, John & Bernie Healy who were attracted by the spirituality of the Team, but more importantly by the way in which the team members live in a very Eucharistic way, particularly in their monthly meetings. This was also noted by Fr Richard Sheehy, parish priest of Rathmines Church, who acts as chaplain to one of the teams.  Everyone pitches in together physically but also spiritually, and hence the fruits of the Holy Spirit are abounding.  Rather than focusing inward, the fruits are born for the community at large as well as the couple itself.  A wonderful note to end on is a quotation from the French priest, Fr Cafferel who leads the movement:  “Nothing builds closer ties in marriage than seeking God together.” 

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A Bright Future of Faith-Filled Families

June 12, 2012

The theme of today’s events is Communion in Marriage and Family and it is wonderful to see so many families attending the Congress. I’ve met mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers, parents and children – all types of family combinations who have come to take part in the Congress and grow in faith by attending the various workshops. Maire McCormack is here alone, as her husband John very kindly took the day off work to look after the children! What a wonderful husband. It is unfortunately very difficult for families to attend together due to work and child-minding constraints; however, it is wonderful if one family member can attend and take the good news back home sharing the message of communion in Christ and in one another with one’s family.

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Gazing At The Face Of Christ

June 12, 2012

Walking down Arran Quay this lunchtime, I was caught by surprise when I saw the familiar purple-and-yellow uniform of an IEC2012  volunteer outside the normally closed St Paul’s Church. (It opens briefly on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings for the celebration of Mass). What was this volunteer doing so far from the RDS? Could I be lucky enough to have a little bit of the Eucharistic Congress on my doorstep?

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I will give you water - no more shall you thirst

June 12, 2012

In the bright sunshine of the main arena in the RDS, you would be forgiven for thinking that you were in a large cathedral. With little wind, every musical note, chord and spoken word struck with clarity.

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The Blossoming Church in China & Tawain

June 12, 2012

St Joseph’s Church on Berkeley Road was honored this morning (Monday 11th June) to host a group of over 63 pilgrims from Tawain, including 1 Cardinal, 1 Bishop, 12 Priests, and 2 Nuns, and also Fr. Sean O’Leary who serves as an Irish Holy Spirit Father. The church was festooned with flags from many nations and with IEC2012 buntings.

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Discovery Gospel Choir – Music From The Heavens

June 12, 2012

The Discovery Gospel Choir, set up over 8 years ago in the Dublin area with a simple mission statement, adopted a motto for the band from Romans 12:17-21, “Discover Beauty in everyone”.

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Cosmopolitan Nature of the Congress

June 12, 2012

The second day of the IEC2012 saw the Eucharistic Congress at its best – perfect weather – not too warm, just at a comfortable temperature too to sport national costumes from far distant lands, with African dress in particular standing out as astonishingly colourful.

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A Journey As A Sacrament – Part 4 John’s Lane Church

June 12, 2012

The next stop on the pilgrim walk was the Augustine Church located in John’s Lane just off Thomas Street. On Easter Monday 1862 Cardinal Cullen laid the foundation stone of this church, and while the opening was delayed due to lack of funds, the formal opening of the church took place on the 15th December 1895. On the 21st June 2012, the Church will celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the laying of the foundation.

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Tuesday, Communion in Marriage and Family

June 12, 2012

Tuesday, after a dry and bright start, is forecast to turn showery. So that will be the time to head inside and listen to Carl Anderson of the fraternity, the Knights of Columbanus. The day’s theme is communion in marriage and the family. The Supreme knight’s address is expected to g...

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More than meets the eye!

June 12, 2012

Sometimes when we enter a church, we can take certain things for granted: maybe it’s the candles burning at the shrines or the priest’s vestments. But did you ever wonder who makes these items?

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An Inspiring Story from a VIP

June 12, 2012

The 50th International Eucharistic Congress has participants from every background, every age, race and faith. And the VIP’s of this Congress are, without question, the 1932 Congress Veterans.

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A Passion for Unity

June 11, 2012

“Glory be to God for dappled things” was the phrase that struck me as I mingled with the pilgrims in the RDS arena. Red hats, brown and yellow hats, orange hats, black veils and red habits formed part of the sea of colour.

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Christianity – A Divided or United Force?

June 11, 2012

This morning’s dialogue on Vatican II and Ecumenism featuring Bishop Brian Farrell LC and Dr Richard Clutterback proved to be a lively, informative and thought provoking look at whether the day will come when Christians as a whole can break bread together and share the Eucharist just as Jesus Christ himself broke bread with his own disciples.

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Hasten to Communion within the Christian church – the prayer and will of Christ

June 11, 2012

The workshop on Ecumenism and The Second Vatican Council was packed out today. Seating had been provided for 600; however people were still flooding in the doors long after the seats were filled.

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Solidarity in Suffering: Japanese pilgrims give thanks for Irish contribution to the Catholic Church in Japan

June 11, 2012

St Teresa’s Church, Clarendon Street had the honour of welcoming the Japanese pilgrims to their church on both Sunday and Monday. The church was decorated with beautiful flowers using the colours of the Japanese flag. It was also very touching during the sign of peace, as the Japanese have the custom of bowing to their neighbor instead of shaking hands as we do here in Ireland.

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Feast of Culture and Spirituality in the Sunshine at the IEC2012 Opening Ceremony

June 11, 2012

There was a great “Cead Mile Fáilte” to the world from the Eucharistic Congress at the RDS Arena on Sunday. Bathed in beautiful sunshine throughout, the Opening Ceremony of the Congress was a spectacle of Irish culture and spirituality, with a very strong theme of Irish evangelisation.

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‘Holy Eucharist is the treasure of the Church’, says Papal Legate

June 11, 2012

In his homily during the Opening Mass of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, Ireland, on 10 June 2012, the Papal Legate, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, told the congregation that “the Holy Eucharist is the treasure of the Church, which is essential to her life”.

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The Youngest Pilgrim

June 11, 2012

The youngest pilgrim was oblivious to the fuss being made around him today as he quietly slept in his aunt’s arms. Daniel O'Hare, just 9 weeks old, was at the Congress today with his mother Lisa and his 4 sisters Maria Rose (6), Annie (4), Kathleen (2) and Grace (1). Lisa and her extended family, 8 in total, have come from Tyrone to be part of the IEC 2012 celebrations and, in Lisa's words, are "loving it". Her parish has been preparing for 2 years with monthly Masses and newsletters.

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Video: IEC2012 – A look at the exhibitions

June 11, 2012

Today at the Eucharistic Congress we take a look at some of the exhibitions in the main hall and talk to exhibitors and pilgrims about their experiences so far. 

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IEC2012 – Peregrinos de habla hispana son bienvenidos en Dublín

June 11, 2012

Hoy visitamos a una de las iglesias de acogida y conversamos con los peregrinos acerca de su experiencia en el Congreso y sus expectativas para la semana.

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A different Corpus Christi

June 11, 2012

“Though we are many, we are one body, we who come to share this living bread;” are the opening words of the hymn specially written for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, and it was sung with gusto many times yesterday at the Opening Ceremony and Mass.

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Comments on the Opening Ceremony

June 11, 2012

The Papal Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles J Brown:

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A Journey as a Sacrament Part 3 – James Street Church

June 11, 2012

The next stop on the pilgrim walk was the James Street Church just down the road from the world famous Guinness Brewery. This church has a lovely seniors' facility and hall which are used by various groups within the community.

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¿Habla Español? Parlez français?

June 11, 2012

¿Habla Español? Parlez français? Because if so, there are events in Spanish, French and Italian, with others in simultaneous translation. Monday sees the first Catechesis: a “teaching” moment, reflecting on the theme of the day and its challenges. Brother Aloi...

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IEC2012 – Opening Ceremony – Sunday 10th June

June 10, 2012

The Congress officially started today, Sunday the 10th of June. This short video shows some parts of the opening Mass and some interviews with pilgrims

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The Healing Stone – A Way Forward?

June 10, 2012

Sunday 10th June 2012 will go down in history as the opening day of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin but for some individuals today will be remembered for the IEC2012 unveiling of the Healing Stone at the Opening Ceremony as a means of acknowledging the abuse of children. The Healing Stone comprises a large, shaped piece of Wicklow granite which is engraved with a prayer composed by a survivor of clerical abuse.

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When words are not enough

June 10, 2012

I've met so many people at the Opening Ceremony of the 50th international Eucharist Congress: volunteers, performers, exhibitors and religious. Frequently used words to describe the Opening Ceremony were - Renewal, Spiritual, Amazing, Incredible, and Dana Rosemary Scanlon, who was amongst the pilgrims, reflected for a moment and simply said "Healing".

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Move To Tears

June 10, 2012

After years of preparation the ‘Peace be with you’ proved and emotional speed bump for many of the volunteers and organisers during the opening Mass. The sight of pilgrims kneeling in prayer was too much for Nathaly De May who only had one word to say – Humble.

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Let The Fun Begin

June 10, 2012

The sun is shining as the IEC2012 is starting. While walking through the RDS it is impossible not to get swept up in the buzz.

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It’s God’s Party – He Is Not Going To Let It Rain!

June 10, 2012

Our Lady of Victories Gospel Choir members have been singing together for 5 years, but today was one of their highs. They sang two pieces with the Maynooth Gospel Choir: My Help and Go Out and Tell. For them, the Opening Event was both uplifting and spiritual, and they thought it was a great honour to perform after the Three Tenors of Ireland. In true Irish fashion, we talked about the weather –and one of them very aptly remarked, ‘It’s God’s party – He is not going to let it rain!’

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A Journey as a Sacrament Part 2 – St Michan’s Church, Halston Street.

June 10, 2012

The next stop on the pilgrim walk was the Church of St. Michan’s on Halston Street where I met Sr. Mary and Robert the Sacristan. When walking into the church the first thing that strikes you is the big cross with Jesus on it at the back of the church. When speaking to Robert he informed me that the altar used to be in front of the cross because in Penal times the altar of the church could not be beside a main street. After Penal law they returned the altar back to the front of the church and the cross remained behind.

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Young People Proclaim - "We Are God's Children"

June 10, 2012

The young people who attended the Opening Ceremony of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in the RDS were in buoyant form as they looked forward with anticipation to strengthening their relationship with Jesus through the power of the Eucharist.

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Marrying during Congress

June 10, 2012

What a week to hold a marriage in Dublin city. One couple to be married Tuesday say they plan to visit the Congress. That’s right, leave their wedding festivities, and change into city clothes. They plan to spend an hour or two at Congress before leaving for their honeymoon abroad. What a wonderful commencement to their life together!

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Memories from the last Irish Eucharistic Congress

June 10, 2012

The last Eucharistic Congress in Ireland was 80 years and. And to celebrate that memory, there is a 1932 Exhibition at the RDS Library (open today in the morning only, but longer opening hours during the week). This blogger actually attended that Congress all of 80 years ago. And of course I found the exhibition fascinating. However it is hard for it to quite convey the how different times were back. My overarching memory as a 10-year boy is the stunning voice of the renowned signer, Count John McCormack, wafting through the air. For people at the time who would have had almost no access to radio or records, such singing was divine as it was unexpected. That’s maybe easy to forget with music so omnipresent today.

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A heavily decorated city, and not just for the Congress

June 10, 2012

Almost overnight, a whole host of decorations are up all over Dublin. Congress flags and bunting,but also the Irish green, white and orange tricolour. But not that all this is to celebrate Eucharistic Congress. Much of the bunting is support for Ireland’s opening EURO 2012 group match against Croatia today in Poland, with kick-off at 19h45 this evening. Whatever, it all adds to the gaiety of all the festivities. And the national colours are sure to draw comments from the many Spanish Italian and visitors to the Congress, Ireland’s next opponents in the group matches (Spain v Italy kick-off at 5.00pm today).

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Pilgrims are in safe hands with The Order of Malta

June 10, 2012

Volunteers with The Order of Malta are on hand for the entire week to ensure the safety of Pilgrims during their visit to the Eucharistic Congress.

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Ready Set Go to the Chiara Luce Youth Space!

June 09, 2012

The Youth Space is really kicking off at the moment, with technicians and builders running around assembling screens and lights – preparing for what promises to be a fantastic youth-faith experience for all the registered participants. The Chiara Luce Youth Space is targeted at 16 to 25 year olds, and it will be anything but boring!

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Voices of angels herald start of Eucharistic Congress

June 09, 2012

The angelic voices of the Palestrina Choir echoed across the wide expanse of the huge warehouse that contains the rehearsal and volunteer areas at the back of the Simmonscourt building, next door to Dublin’s RDS complex.

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A Journey as a Sacrament Part 1 – Capuchin Friary

June 09, 2012

Capuchin Friary -Altar1

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RDS Arena ready for Opening Ceremony Kickoff

June 09, 2012

Preparations for the Opening Ceremony of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in the Main Arena of the RDS began over two years ago when Arcana’s tender for preparing the stadium was accepted but the transformation of the arena really stepped up a gear in the space of the last seven days.

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IEC2012 – See build up to Congress opening

June 08, 2012

Our first video report from IEC2012 which shows the registration and information areas for IEC2012. It includes contributions from volunteers in a number of languages.

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From Canada to Cardiff, the pilgrims are arriving in Dublin airport: And the volunteers are there to meet them.

June 08, 2012

By Breda Shalloo

 There is no mistaking the vibrant volunteer uniforms and their welcoming greeting. In the true spirit of the Eucharist the volunteers are not only assisting pilgrims but are lending a helping hand to all travellers arriving in the airport in need of assistance. Indeed, who would have thought that knowledge of international dialling codes and bus routes would be as important as knowing the times of IEC2012 events.

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Preparations for IEC2012 in one of the Host Churches

June 08, 2012

Go placidly...By Deirdre Powell.

It’s a day for ducks on this June morning in Dublin. Amid the city’s bustle, one of the host churches for the Eucharistic Congress, St. Andrew’s, Westland Row, provides a calm oasis.

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Congress preparations in full swing at RDS

June 02, 2012

Pilgrim Bags being preparedFinal preparations for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC2012) are now in full swing at the RDS Arena today, 2 June 2012, where over 40,000 pilgrim packs were filled and stacked.  The operation was coordinated by a team of IEC2012 volunteers, as seen in the photos below.  Each registered pilgrim will receive a pack full of goodies on arrival at the RDS Simmonscourt building during Congress Week, which commences with the opening ceremony on Sunday next 10 June 2012.  Pilgrims can enjoy translations of the daily catechesis and testimony through their radio earpiece and official programme booklet in their pack.  A specially commissioned Magnificat and book of the four Gospels have been designed for each pilgrim pack. There’ll be a poncho for every pilgrim in case it rains and a map of Dublin City just to make sure nobody gets lost coming and going from the RDS or while doing the Dublin City Camino Walk.

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Welcome to the IEC2012 Blog

May 21, 2012

Welcome to the IEC2012 Blog, a new space where we will be uploading updates every day of the Congress to keep you informed with interesting articles directly from the Eucharistic Village of the RDS.

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