The Pastoral Preparation Programme which will take place between now and June 2012, is presented as an itinerary for the journey towards the great gathering for the Eucharistic Congress.
This journey has been mapped out in four stages, each with its own theme.
Each of these reflects on an aspect of the celebration of the Eucharist and the lifestyle it inspires, in the light of the overall Congress theme - The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another.
Each stage corresponds to one of the rites of the celebration of Eucharist:
Each stage is mapped out in a progression of five movements. It is for those who will lead group reflection to discern whether these movements should be five separate meetings or whether they prepare for the possibility that the group might require less time or more for that matter, on a given movement. The vision is that these movements serve the participants, and that there be a natural progression from one movement to the next when the group is ready. It may be helpful for group leaders and indeed individuals, to set a time limit on the session – for a group at least one hour is recommendable, or whatever is the norm according to local custom.
The process begins with an invitation to reflect on our human experience as a way of opening us to receive more richly the Word of God and the teaching of the Church and to recognise the implications of these for our communion with one another in justice and service.
An Authentic Catechesis
It goes without saying that a simple reflection on personal or communal experience does not of itself constitute a catechesis. The disciples on the road to Emmaus, had they depended entirely on their own human experience, would have continued to go in the wrong direction. It was only when they heard the Word explained to them by Jesus and recognised Him in the breaking of bread, that they were able to transcend the limitations of human experience and become, once again, true disciples. Human experience gives a certain reality to our reflection but, in order for it to become an element of an authentic catechesis, it must be informed and enriched by an attentive listening to Scripture and a faithful presentation of the teaching of the Church.
How to get the most out of the resources
The various appendices are not limited to one or other Movement, nor are they the only reading materials groups should use. They serve to give group leaders both background information and the sense of purpose of each Movement. Some of them are for beginners on the journey of faith, others are for those already on the road. Together they offer both group leaders and group members a rich vocabulary in Gathering, in Eucharist and the activity of gathering for liturgy.
These resources will assist all parishes and faith formation groups in beginning and hopefully sustaining the faith journey of children, youth and adults in various settings. Each parish and faith formation group is a unique community of believers, living in diverse circumstances and with differing needs. Therefore group leaders are encouraged to adapt the resources with creativity, in keeping the overall vision and theme of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress – The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with One Another.