IEC 2012 (or the 50th International Eucharistic Congress) was set up in response to the invitation from Pope Benedict XVI that the Archdiocese of Dublin would host the next International Eucharistic Congress, on behalf of the whole Irish Catholic Church. Speaking during a live telecast to participants at the final Mass of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec city, on 22 June 2008, Pope Benedict XVI announced:
"Dear friends, as this significant event in the life of the Church draws to a conclusion, I invite you all to join with 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."
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin & Cardinal Seán Brady were present in Quebec for this announcement. In their press release, they stated:
“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 reflects on the centrality of the Eucharist at the heart of our increasingly diverse community, and, to give renewed impetus to the living of faith.”
The Congress, which is being actively prepared for in parishes and dioceses all over Ireland, will be celebrated in Dublin from 10th – 17th June 2012.
The Context for the Congress
The year 2012 will mark the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of the Second Vatican Council. The Council marks an important moment of renewal and deepening of the Church’s teaching and of her understanding of herself as the Body of Christ and the People of God.
From the beginning of the planning process, it seemed appropriate then that the Eucharistic Congress in 2012 should celebrate this important anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, and that the Congress should have a Eucharistic theme sourced in the documents of the Council. The theme approved by Pope Benedict, and drawn from Lumen Gentium 7, is “The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another”
The Congress can contribute to a better understanding of the teaching of the Council, not simply as history, but as wisdom which is placed at the service of "the modern world", an important theme of Vatican II.
In the Eucharist we are invited to a personal act of encounter with the Lord who gives himself for us, in Word and Sacrament. That encounter opens the path for new relationships in which we, as Church and as individual Christians are invited to engage in a social mission, in which we in turn are given for others. The Eucharist, as the theme of the previous Congress (Quebec 2008) reminds us, is “the gift of God for the life of the world” (cf. Jn. 6:51).