Thursday, 24 March 2011

International Eucharistic Congress 2012: Official Launch

The media launch of the International Eucharistic Congress 2012 is reported here.

The pilgrimage of the Congress Bell through the dioceses and parishes of Ireland has also begun. An image of the Bell in its carrying frame can be found here. In his homily at the beginning of this journey, Cardinal Brady said the following:

An example of a lam-chlog of that time can be found today in the National Museum of Ireland. So, in his work of evangelisation, of bringing the joy of the Gospel to the Irish people, the bell had an honoured place in the mission of our National Apostle. It called the people to pray. It invited them to pause from their busy and distracted lives and to turn to what gives life to the spirit and the soul. It beckoned people to meet Jesus himself in his Word and in the Eucharist.

The Eucharistic Congress Bell has a more recent history but its purpose is still the same. Originally from the Dominican Convent School in Portstewart it was used to usher in the new millennium in Glendalough in the Jubilee year 2000. It was used to summon us to what Pope John Paul II called the new evangelisation that is the mission of the Church at the beginning of the third millennium. That call to a new evangelisation will continue to ring out in every parish the bell will visit. It will ring out in memory of Patrick who, in spite of his personal weakness and the many obstacles that came his way, burned with zeal for the hope, life and love that the message of Christ offered to the people of Ireland. The bell will call every one of us to take up that mission from Patrick and make it our own in living out our baptismal call....
The Congress Bell is not a megaphone shouting for attention above all the other noise of our lives. It is not even a special ring tone designed to stand out from the crowd. It is a simple bell that tolls softly. It invites each one of us to quietly think again about the faith that brought courage, peace and hope to so many generations of Irish people at home and across the world. For those who have forgotten or rejected their faith, it is a gentle call to give faith in Jesus Christ and in His Word another chance.
Whilst it may be the case that the Congress Bell has a significance particular to the history of Ireland, I am disappointed that the Bell is not being seen in a wider international context. The Eucharistic Congress is, after all, an international Congress.

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