Congress to open with celebration of heritage


A CEREMONY celebrating Irish cultural and spiritual heritage will open the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin tomorrow.

The congress is expected to attract up to 12,000 people each day over eight days.

A welcome involving 500 participants with flags and banners representing every parish in Ireland will form part of the opening evening.

Musical performers will include the Three Tenors and the Palestrina Choir.

Following the ceremony a Mass will be celebrated by papal envoy Cardinal Marc Ouellet, and will be attended by national and international pilgrims taking part in the 50th congress.

Monday will see the first catechesis, or daily teaching moment, of the eight-day congress. It will be given by prior of the Taizé monastic community in France, brother Alois Löser.

Also on Monday, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will address the congress about the church in the modern world.

The head of Catholic fraternity, the Knights of Columbanus, will give a personal testimony to the congress on Tuesday.

Supreme knight Carl Anderson’s address will be on the day’s theme of communion in marriage and the family.

A film about the 1932 congress that was held in Dublin 80 years ago will also feature on Tuesday.

The theme of ministry will be addressed on Wednesday by a wide range of both ordained and lay Catholic ministers, including Archbishop of Vancouver J Michael Miller.

Wednesday’s programme includes sessions on caring for priests, poets of the Eucharist and the missions. The day will end with a procession.

Former taoiseach John Bruton will be among those to address Thursday’s congress. He will speak about the Christian tradition in European democracy.

Speakers from organisations including Crosscare, Social Justice Ireland, Trócaire and Children in Crossfire will address pilgrims on Thursday’s justice and reconciliation theme.

United Nations special envoy on migration Peter Sutherland will speak on Friday. His address on attitude towards migration forms part of Friday’s theme on suffering and its potential to exclude and isolate people.

Professor of medical gerontology Desmond O’Neill will talk about the communion of the dying and the sick.

A member of the large Vatican delegation, Archbishop Piero Marini of the Vatican’s Committee for the International Eucharistic Congresses, will lead prayers on the final day at the RDS.

The congress moves to Croke Park stadium on Sunday for the final Mass (Statio Orbis), which will be celebrated by Cardinal Ouellet.

Music for the closing ceremony will include The Priests, soprano Celine Byrne and composer Fr Liam Lawton.