Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 23, 2008
Eucharistic Congress opens – Celebration draws pilgrims from 70 nations
Gathering should lead us to examine meaning of life – papal representative
By REGINA LINSKEY
- CNS photo/James Baca
Clergy carry a monstrance attached to the Ark of the New Covenant during a procession at the opening Mass of the International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec June 15.
During the homily, Tomko presented Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet with a large, ornate gold crosier as a gift from Pope Benedict. The cardinals embraced as the crowd applauded. Tomko said the pope was with the congress "full-heartedly" in prayer.
The history of Quebec, which is celebrating the 400th anniversary of its founding this year, and the global participation in the congress were highlighted throughout the more than three-hour Mass.
More than 12,000 people are participating in the conference's weeklong conferences, lectures and liturgies. Although 75 per cent of the participants are Canadians, pilgrims came from more than 70 countries.
During the presentation of the gifts, representatives from Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe and Latin America offered rice, grains, wheat and fruit to represent their regions' cultural gifts.
Several chalices were presented at the large, circular altar in the centre of the arena; among them was the chalice given to the first bishop of Quebec by a French king. The silver, locally-made modern chalice for the eucharistic congress also was presented.
At the end of the Mass, the Eucharist was placed in a monstrance, which was hoisted atop the youth-inspired Ark of the New Covenant - an icon-covered chest that had been carried on foot to the more than 70 dioceses and eparchies in Canada.
Four clergymen carried the ark and monstrance outside the arena to one of the several eucharistic adoration chapels, where pilgrims can pray throughout the week.
The first International Eucharistic Congress was held in France in 1881 at a gathering of 300 Europeans. Over the years, the congresses grew into an international event of celebrations, seminars and charitable works.
The last International Eucharistic Congress was in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2004.
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