Bishops to discuss plans for congress


THE SPRING meeting of the Irish Catholic bishops’ conference enters its second day today at Maynooth and, although no agenda is published in advance, it is likely that preparations for June’s Eucharistic Congress in Dublin will be discussed at some length.

The bishops may hold their summer meeting prior to the beginning of that congress on June 10th, but it would be too late then to have significant input into its organisation.

The purpose of the congress is to promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Catholic Church. Most of its events will take place at the RDS in Dublin with an expected average daily attendance of 20,000 from Ireland and overseas, and 82,000 expected for the final event at Croke Park on June 17th.

There have been appeals for about 2,000 volunteers to assist with marshalling crowds and those interested have been asked to apply before St Patrick’s Day. They can do so via the congress website

There has also been an appeal for host families in Dublin to offer accommodation to pilgrims who will be travelling from overseas.

Those wishing to attend the congress, whether from Ireland or abroad, must register. Details are available on the congress website.

It is expected that representatives from all of Ireland’s 26 Catholic dioceses will attend the congress.

The new papal nuncio to Ireland Archbishop Charles Brown is expected to attend at least some of this three-day spring meeting of the bishops. Such an event is generally marked with a liturgical celebration in Maynooth.

With St Patrick’s Day on Saturday week, it is also likely the bishops will discuss our immigrants in the UK, US, Canada, and Australia in particular. They are also likely to discuss the Irish attitude to drink in light of expected celebrations on that day.

In a “Rite and Reason” article in The Irish Timeslast month Bishop Éamon Walsh, Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin, called for a social revolution in Irish attitudes to drink.

It being Lent, the bishops are also expected to appeal for contributions to this year’s Trócaire campaign which is intended to assist communities in war-torn areas of the world, not least northern Uganda. The bishops’ spring meeting concludes tomorrow.