IEC2012 Opens with Colourful Display of Faith and Culture
Sunday June 10, 2012
The 50th International Eucharistic Congress opened today, Sunday 10th June with a vibrant, colourful parade of pilgrims from more than 120 countries and from the four archdioceses of Ireland.
People of all ages represented the archdioceses of Tuam. Dublin, Armagh, Cashel & Emly with county flags and symbols of faith walked in procession while the Congress choir sang.
Bryan Dobson and Roisin Ní Thomain presented the gathering part of the opening ceremony to a crowd of more than 12,500 pilgrims from all four corners of the world. Music was provided by the Maynooth Gospel Choir, Our Lady of Victories Gospel Choir, the Palestrina Choir, the Dublin Deaf Choir, and the Three Tenors.
Papal Legate, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, celebrated the Mass at 3pm with concelebrants Archbishop Diarmuid Martin; President of the Congress; Archbishop Piero Marini; President of the Pontifical Committee for Eucharistic Congresses, Archbishop Robert LeGall; Archbishop of Toulouse, and Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto.
Delivering his homily, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, said: “How fitting it is that, in God’s providence, this gathering takes place here in Ireland. This is a country known for its natural beauty, its hospitality and its rich culture, but most especially for its long tradition of fidelity to the Catholic faith”.
He added that “Ireland’s strong history of faithfulness has enriched not only these shores, but has, through her missionary sons and daughters, helped to bring the Gospel to many other, far-distant shores”.
“Now the Church in Ireland is suffering and faces many new and serious challenges to the faith. Well aware of these challenges we turn together to Our Lord, who renews, heals and strengthens the faith of His people. I know from my own experience at the last Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City that an event such as this brings many blessings to the local Church and to all the participants, including those who sustain it through prayer, volunteer work and solidarity. And so we pray with confidence in the Eucharistic Lord that this, the fiftieth occurrence of this great universal Church event, may bring a very special blessing to Ireland at this turbulent time and to all of you.”
“As the preparatory document for this Eucharistic Congress reminds us, everyone is able to live what is called 'a spiritual communion’ in the sense of an act of worship, uniting themselves with the self-giving movement that is being celebrated at Mass (The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with One Another.”
Speaking during the ceremony, IEC2012 President Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said: “We pray that young Irish people will be led to know the happiness and fulfilment, the joy and the hope, the call to love and commitment that comes from an encounter with Jesus Christ.”
Dr Martin added: “The Church in Ireland is on the path to renewal. The Church is not ours to redesign; it is gift that we receive from the Lord with the guidance throughout history of the Holy Spirit and following the example of Mary and the saints.”
As an acknowledgement of the past, a healing stone was unveiled during the Opening Ceremony in the RDS on 10th June 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. The prayer was originally featured in the Liturgy of Lament celebrated in Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral in 2011.
Work on the Healing Stone project began in early 2012. Following consultation with various people, including abuse survivors, it was agreed that the stone would be an appropriate symbol for the Congress.
Father Kevin Doran, Secretary General of IEC2012, said: “Stone speaks of permanence. To say something is ‘carved in stone’ is to say that it is here to stay rather than just a passing thought. The stone represents the firm determination to work for healing and renewal".