Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 22, 2009
Eucharistic Congress stirs priestly vocations
Cardinal Marc Ouellet tells of the many new venues of evangelization
CNS FILE PHOTO
The 2008 International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City lit the flame of Evangelization.
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
QUEBEC - A year after the 2008 International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City, Cardinal Marc Ouellet sees much fruit growing in his diocese.
He notes a rise in priestly vocations, a stronger passion for the new evangelization and a new unity among parishes, religious communities and new Catholic movements.
"It is very uplifting to see a new enthusiasm," he said in an interview from Quebec City June 16. "We've been re-evangelized by the Eucharistic Congress.
"The joy of the faith has grown in our hearts and we are more determined and full of confidence to bring the Good News further."
To mark the anniversary, the diocese held several days of events, starting with a special Mass on Corpus Christi June 11, followed by a two-hour Eucharistic "march" through the Old City.
It included a stop for prayers outside the Quebec Parliament that served as "a message we are still on the front lines of proclaiming the Gospel to the world," he said.
Since the Congress, nine young men have entered Quebec's Grand Seminary, another nine have entered the Redemptoris Mater Missionary Seminary he founded in 2007.
As well, 21 students, "younger vocations preparing for the long term," have entered the minor seminary he established after the congress.
"This is very encouraging," he said. "So that's a sign of a blessing from God and building a future that will be corresponding with God's plan."
Ouellet recently ordained two new auxiliary bishops and a restructuring of his diocese to promote the new evangelization.
The congress, which brought thousands of pilgrims to the city, presented huge fundraising challenge, he said, but it left a surplus of more than $500,000.
Some of that surplus has gone to continue the diocese's web-based television portal ECDQ-TV that continues to televise news conferences, events and homilies over the Internet.
ECDQ was established to allow people from around the world to participate in the congress' catechesis and celebrations. It provided coverage of the recent Eucharistic Festival, including the march.
The fourth Montée Jeunesse or Youth Summit was held in Quebec City this year, but next year it moves to Ottawa. Established in the years of preparation for the congress, the summits are "becoming a national eucharistic youth movement," he said.
Also part of the restructuring, people in his diocese have a "clear vision" of more "co-operation" among Catholic communities. "The mission of the Church is realized by communities," he said, naming parishes, religious communities, movements and associations such as St. Vincent de Paul that fights poverty.
"That cooperation is a fruit of the Eucharistic Congress, because that's exactly what we lived," he said. The fruit of the Eucharist is unity and love.
Ouellet sees an intimate connection between the Eucharistic Congress and Pope Benedict's Year of the Priest that begins this week.
Ouellet ushered in the Year of the Priest June 16 to mark the 350th anniversary of the day Bishop Francois Laval arrived in Quebec City.
Ouellet played a key role as relator general of last October's Synod of the Word of God in Rome.
He looks forward to the pope's upcoming message on the synod, which he said will also provide an opportunity to "deepen" the message of the Eucharistic Congress "to understand more deeply the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist."
"When Christ says 'This is my Body, and 'This is my Blood' he is not just comparing his identity with an object," the cardinal said. "He is saying and achieving something very real and that's the core of our faith."
Ouellet said he still meets confused Catholics who have lost the sense of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
"I'm convinced the Synod of the Word is a complement to the Synod on the Holy Eucharist," he said. "Each strengthens our faith in the efficiency of the Word of God."
"When we proclaim the Word of God in the assembly, Christ is speaking to us," he said.
The beauty of the sacramental life of the Catholic Church is that the unique event of Christ's self-offering on the cross for the redemption of the world is made present in every celebration of the Holy Eucharist, he said.
This is a mystery full of meaning that cannot be comprehended fully, he said. "We are completely enlightened and blown away by the richness of this gift."