Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 3, 2008
Expect to be set on fire
Love for the Eucharist will ignite at congress -Archbishop Prendergast
- CCN photo by Deborah Gyapong
Archbishop Terrence Prendergast blows out candles on his birthday cake.
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
Those who attend the Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City this June 15-22 should expect to be “set on fire” with a love for the Eucharist says Ottawa’s archbishop.
Archbishop Terrence Prendergast told a recent Theology on Tap that the Congress could reawaken pilgrims to the hidden riches of the Paschal Mystery of Christ, and help revive hope and love within the Church that will spread to the world.
Almost 200 delegates from the Ottawa diocese have signed up for the 49th Congress so far, indicating a growing enthusiasm for the international event. Prendergast plans to ride up with them on the bus. He will also serve on a committee of bishops who will summarize the Congress’ workshop discussions so that “nothing may be lost.”
Prendergast described the Congress as “a grand opportunity for Canada to proclaim to the whole world the values which have been the envy of other countries, and to re-actualize the historic and cultural patrimony of holiness and the Church’s social engagement, which plunges its roots down into the Eucharistic Mystery.”
Civilization of love
The civilization of love proposed by God’s “covenantal union with humanity” is threatened by those who adhered to the “culture of death,” he said.
The Congress coincides with the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City, the cradle for the evangelization of North America. It will recall the memory of the “historic witness of the saints and missionaries God has given to this country,” he said.
Prendergast outlined the teachings that will be highlighted during the week-long event, based on the Congress’ theme: The Gift of God for the Life of the World and its foundational theological document with the same title. He noted the text could be purchased from CCCB publications (cccbpublications.ca) or downloaded from the Congress’ site www.cei2008.ca.
“I can’t help but respond to His love.”
On the Friday night of the Congress, 12-15 young men will be ordained to the priesthood, part of Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet’s dream to show the people of Quebec and the people of Canada that the priesthood is not dead, he said.
He said the Congress will also recognize the importance of families as the “domestic church.”
The love within strong families and healthy parishes cannot help “but manifest itself and spread,” he said.
Prendergast spoke of his own Eucharistic devotion that began when he was an altar server in Montreal. He used to make visits to the Blessed Sacrament, sometimes only a few minutes in length. Those visits fostered his love of Jesus in the Eucharist. His participation in daily mass also “nourishes” him, he said.
When he lifts up the Host, “time stands still,” he said. “He has loved me first. I can’t help but respond to His love.”
Understand the Mass
Anyone who is “not blown away” by Sunday Mass, but instead finds it boring needs to understand what is taking place in the Eucharist. “If you understand it, you can’t stay away,” he said.
Prendergast’s Theology on Tap appearance at the packed tavern coincided with his birthday. Organizers provided a cake decorated with his coat of arms.