The IEC2012 to focus on suffering and healing

Friday February 10, 2012

The 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 (IEC2012) will explore the theme of sickness and its potential to exclude and isolate people, it announced in a statement marking the World Day of the Sick on 11 February 2012.

 The Eucharistic Congress will be celebrating the theme of ‘Communion in Suffering and Healing’ on Friday 15 June, with a special celebration of the anointing of the sick as part of the principal liturgy. The Mass will be celebrated by Patriarch Fouad Twal from Jerusalem.

Marking World Day of the Sick, Fr Kevin Doran, Secretary General of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012, commented that the healing ministry of Jesus was not just about curing people physically, but also about drawing them back into full participation in the life of the community, from which their illness often excluded them. “Suffering has a way of isolating people. This is sometimes because of their own physical frailty and sometimes because we who are well are often unsure of how to respond to suffering.”

“It is an essential element of the mission of the Church today that we continue to seek ways of keeping people in communion even when they are no longer visible in the community on a daily basis. This remains a challenge for the Church both on a social and on a pastoral level,” Fr Doran said.

In his Message for the World Day of the Sick on 11 February 2012, the Feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, Pope Benedict said he wished to renew his spiritual nearness to all sick people who are in places of care or are looked after in their families. The Holy Father placed emphasis upon the Sacraments of Healing particularly upon the anointing of the sick, which have their natural completion in the Eucharistic Communion. That Communion will be the focus of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012.

Throughout the Eucharistic Congress there will be an extensive programme of workshops, talks and keynote addresses. On Friday 15 June 2012, many of the programme events will focus on the theme of healing and the promotion of a richer communion with those who suffer in body, mind or spirit.

Another aspect of this theme of Communion is the important place of people with disability in the community of the Church. Six workshops during the Congress will be signed for the deaf and jointly facilitated by people who themselves are deaf. Br Donatus Forkan will offer a workshop entitled ‘Including People from the Margins’, while Fr Niall Ahern will present on the theme of Disability and Active Participation.

The theme of disability will come to life in a particular way in a sensory garden, which will be prepared and maintained by people with disability in the grounds of the Poor Clare Monastery that is being used as one of the chapels of adoration for the Congress.

Keynote speakers on this day of healing include Rose Busingye, a Ugandan nurse who has devoted her life to the care of people suffering with AIDS. A workshop on Co-dependency, Communion and Healing will be facilitated by Sr Consilio Fitzgerald, from the Cuan Mhuire Centre.

Archbishop Bashar Warda of Iraq and Archbishop Rrock Kola Mirdita of Tirana, Albania will speak about the experience of personal suffering that is so often the result of tyranny and religious intolerance.

For more information, visit our programme section 

For media information, visit our media centre

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