Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 27, 2007
Eucharistic Congress will revive Christian roots, says Ouellet
Church primate says 2008 gathering is a grace for our country
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
The cardinal spoke as well of "great efforts" to involve youth, describing it a "big challenge, especially in Canada, for handing on the faith and also religious practices and devotions to the next generation."
Three youth summits have been held since the spring of 2005, each one growing considerably in size. The first youth summit generated the idea of a symbolic object to travel around the country like the World Youth Day Cross. That suggestion resulted in the beautifully crafted Ark of the New Covenant, which is travelling throughout Canada in advance of the congress.
Ouellet said the time has come to overturn the dominance of what Pope John Paul II called the culture of death. Instead of a globalization of alienation and injustice, he said he hopes to see the globalization of charity, solidarity and of the "unity of mankind in Jesus Christ."
Ouellet said he has seen "signs from God" indicating a time for Eucharistic renewal. One sign came through nine-year-old Jeremy Gabriel, who "spent half his life in hospital" for operations to correct the effects of Treacher Collins syndrome, a rare genetic disease. Though deaf, with the help of an implant, he can hear well enough to sing beautifully.
"We've been blessed from the beginning with the gift of saints."
- Cardinal Marc Oulette
In October 2005, the boy sang the national anthem at a Montreal Canadiens hockey game. He caused a media sensation, and when journalists asked him what he wished for, Jeremy said he wanted to sing before the pope as a way of saying thank you to Jesus who had helped him in his suffering.
Ouellet arranged for Jeremy and his family to join the Quebec bishops' ad limina visit to Rome in May 2006. Jeremy and his family were present when the pope blessed the Ark of the New Covenant. At that ceremony, Jeremy's wish came true and he sang before the pope.
Ouellet said he will never forget how moving it was to hear the boy sing "I will praise the eternal with all of my heart."
"There were no dry eyes," he said, noting that even the Swiss Guards were moved and spontaneously offered the boy a medal.
The news media covered the story with great sympathy, he said, at the same time providing "great publicity" for the upcoming congress.
The cardinal saw the hand of God in this.
He noted the boy's first name Jeremy is like that of Jeremiah, the prophet of the New Covenant, and his family's name is Gabriel, the same as the angel who announced the birth of the Messiah. He said the boy's mother had been pressured to get an abortion, but she chose to keep him out of respect for human life.
Ouellet said Jeremy was chosen by God to affirm the sacredness of human life and "to be the prophet of the 2008 congress."
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