Tuesday, 24 June 2008

The International Eucharistic Congress: starting at the end ...

To start my posts after the Eucharistic Congress, I have to cover the concluding celebration of Mass Statio Orbis....I can't think why ...

This is the sanctuary and altar, designed to look like a sailing boat. This commemorates the arrival by sailing ship of the first settlers, and the first missionaries, in Quebec. The Eucharistic Congress was part of the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the foundation of the city of Quebec. The wood may look rather stark here in England, but wood is a standard building material in Quebec. Many houses have wooden exteriors, and wooden floors etc are common inside them. In the foreground of the altar you can see the Ark of the New Covenant.

Before Mass began - bright sunshine which began to give way to a slight overcast. I think there were somewhere between 20 000 and 30 000 people on the Plains of Abraham for Mass, with others watching on a live TV broadcast across Canada. Streaming via the internet will have given a world wide audience.

Fast forward to the end of Mass, and it looked like this! The rain gradually intensified as Mass went along, becoming totally torrential just in time for Holy Communion. Glastonbury mud had nothing on this. The papal representative, Cardinal Tomko, who was the main celebrant, observed as Mass concluded that rain was a sign of God's blessing. Accordingly, we had received an abundance of God's blessings.

Yours truly, waiting for Mass to start, dressed up (and at that time, dry), ready to proclaim the first reading. The team looking after readers for the various Liturgical celebrations looked after us very well, and gave us a good experience.

This is a close up of the ambo, which had been used for all the Congress Masses during the week.

And this is me during my reading (photo credit: ECDQ.tv official photographer). If the bishops behind me look a bit all over the place, do have some sympathy for them. The sound system included two speakers located on the sides of the altar to enable them to hear what was happening .... but they were so poorly adjusted that you really could not hear a thing that was going on if you were up on the sanctuary. The reading went a dream, as did the second reading (in Spanish), proclaimed by the lady shown below (photo credit: ECDQ.tv official photographer).

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