11 Feb 2012

12th February 2012 - 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) - The International Eucharistic Congress 2012

On this weeks show, the Sacred Space 102fm begins our coverage of the preparation and lead up to the 50th International Eucharistic Congress which is being held in Dublin from June 10th to 17th 2012. As well as an introduction to the IEC2012 and the diocesan preparations being made we have our regular prayer space and a short reflection on the gospel of the day.

The podcast of this weeks programme is HERE

50th International Eucharistic Congress

The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another
On this weeks programme we are joined by Fr Phonsie Cullinan PP who is the parish priest of Rathkeale and who is the Limerick Diocesan Delegate for IEC 2012.

Fr Phonsie talks about what is a Eucharistic Congress, why it is being held in Ireland and leads us through some of the preparations both internationally, nationally and locally in the diocese ahead of the Congress in June.

(For those that want to skip ahead to the practical information, scroll down past the next two sections!)

What is an Eucharistic Congress?

Since Pope Benedict XVI announced that the 50th International Eucharistic Congress will be held in Dublin in June 2012, people have been asking "what exactly is a Eucharistic Congress and what is its purpose?"

A Eucharistic Congress is an international gathering of people which aims to:
  • promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Catholic Church
  • help improve our understanding and celebration of the liturgy
  • draw attention to the social dimension of the Eucharist.
The Congress normally takes place every four years. The daily celebration of the Eucharist is at the very heart of the Congress. The wider programme of the Congress includes other liturgical events, cultural events, catechesis and testimonies, and workshops during the week of the Congress. The most recent Congress was held in Quebec in 2008 and was a source of encouragement and renewal for the many thousands who took part.
Most people in Ireland are familiar with the fact that a Eucharistic Congress was held in Ireland in 1932. Our parents and grand-parents speak of it as a significant event in their own experience of Church. Since we started preparing for the Congress, people from all over Ireland and even further afield have sent us a wide range of memorabilia relating to the 1932 Congress, some of which will be on display at a special exhibition in 2012.

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).

Practical Information

For people that want to find out more information about the Congress, your first port of call should be the website of the IEC2012 at www.iec2012.ie. The website is a treasure trove of information about the Congress, the planning involved, the programme and what you need to do to participate. It also has links to videos about the Congress, volunteering at the Congress, how to attend and details for international visitors that want to attend.
The official programme for the Congress is available here to be printed off.

One of the most important resources on the website is the Registration Page. While it is a gross generalisation in one sense, Irish people tend to do events and special occasions a small bit by the seat of our pants. We tend to over look certain organisational necessities like registration and booking and tend to just turn up on  the day. However for the Congress, it is essential that if you are planning to attend that you register and book your tickets for the days that you are planning to attend the talks, catechesis and other events which are being held at the RDS in Dublin. Also, by booking online, it puts you in a position to be able to book a ticket for the final Mass which is to be held in Croke Park on June 17th. To register for IEC 2012 please go HERE.

For people in Limerick Diocese, one of the main sources of information will be the diocesan website and already there are many resources and links which have been made available HERE. Also keep an eye on local press, the local media such as West Limerick 102fm, your parish notices and bulletins.
Here are some frequently asked questions on the Limerick Diocesan website:

Limerick Preparations

Preparations February - May 2012
  • March. Talks Series as we prepare. 4 Wednesday nights, 3 venues. See HERE for more.
  • March. One day Conference in Mary Immaculate College. Saturday March 10th. Click HERE for more
  • April. An Appreciation Day for all in Ministry at liturgy. April 22nd. Parish celebration across the diocese. Details to follow in March.
Preparations September - December 2011
For people that are not internet savvy or don't like using their credit cards etc online, you need to contact you parish - your PP, pastoral council - and let them know that you are interested in going. Each diocese is being allocated a certain number of tickets and while no decision has been made how the allocation is to be made in Limerick diocese, each parish will be receiving a limited number of tickets, so you need to contact your parish and let them know that you are interested in attending IEC2012.

Gospel - Mark 1:40-45

Jesus heals the leper (by Rembrandt 1655-1660)
Because of the amount of time we dedicated to the IEC2012 we were a bit rushed for the gospel reflection this week but some thoughts shared on air:

What jumps out from this weeks gospel is the compassion of Jesus. Leprosy was a death sentance for people at the time of Jesus and even up to recent times before a cure was found for Hansens disease. The question posed to us this week are who are the people that we treat as lepers? Who do we exclude from our community for what ever reason - single parents, gay people, travellors, foreign migrants? The challenge of being christian is that we are in communion with one another which of course is the theme for the IEC2o12 and we are called to be Jesus to one another which means we must show compassion to each other. We are called to reach out, to touch our neighbour and recognise their dignity as fellow human beings who are our fellow pilgrims on lifes journey.

Other reflections on this weeks gospel:
Saints of the Week

While we didn't get a chance to go through the celestial guides for the next week on air, we set out the calendar below:
Psalter: Week 2

February 13th - Blessed Jordan of Saxony OP
February 14th - Ss Cyril (monk) and Methodius (bishop) - co-Patrons of Europe
[of course it also happens to be the feast of St Valentine]
February 15th - St Claude de la Colombiere - Apostle of the Sacred Heart
February 16th - St Onesimus
February 17th - St Fintan Lobhar (abbot)
February 18th - St Colman of Lindisfarne

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