Eucharistic Congress Celebrates Marriage and Family Life

Eucharistic Congress Celebrates Marriage and Family Life

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Eucharistic Congress Celebrates Marriage and Family Life

12 June 2012

Celebrating the value and central role of Communion in marriage and family life in the Church is the central theme of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC2012) today, Tuesday 12 June 2012.

Commencing morning prayer, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, prayed with hundreds of pilgrims in the Congress Prayer Space at 9am.

Among a series of popular workshops, talks, youth events and exhibitions, pilgrims had an opportunity to hear Archbishop of Manila, Philippines, Luis Antonio G. Tagle present a talk titled ‘The Abuse of Children: Accepting Responsibility, Bringing Healing’. Archbishop Tagle spoke about clergy sexual misconduct with some reflections from Asia.

Archbishop Tagle explained: “The so-called crisis of the clergy unfolding these past years is immense in scope. It includes allegations of sexual misconduct, suspicions about the clergy’s handling of money, accusations of misuse of authority, inappropriate lifestyle and a host of other things. The faithful are appalled at the rudeness of their pastors.”

“At first glance, this crisis seems to be about explicitly sexual behaviour only. But a closer look at the actual cases reveals that deep theological, spiritual, anthropological and pastoral issues are involved. That is why the impressionist way by which some people tackle the problem is quite inadequate and even unfair,” he added.

In the main RDS arena, Archbishop of Perth, Barry Hickey delivered the catechesis on ‘God as Loving Communion’. The musicians and performers on the main arena stage included: Gardiner Street Gospel Choir, Kisi Kids: International Catholic Movement, Composer Ian Callanan, Diocessan Choirs from Kildare & Leighlin, Ossory & Ferns, Waterford & Lismore and directed by Musician Liam Lawton.

The Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Mr Carl Anderson, gave a personal testimony as a husband and father on the Eucharist and faith in his life, at the main RDS arena. He explained that “too often the cultural commentary about marriage —especially found in defense of divorce—suggests marriage and family is risky because one’s commitment and contribution may not ‘pay off’—that there may not be an adequate return on one’s investment in the marriage.”

Mr Anderson added “And yet, our sacrifices are put in perspective at every Mass when we say: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof. What a dramatic expression of Christ’s love for us!”

This was followed by Teacher and Columnist, Breda O’Brien who delivered a personal testimony on marriage and family life. “In our family, the kitchen table is very important. The moment when each child left the highchair and joined the rest of us was a great moment. It is there that we learn to listen, and to forgive and be forgiven. It is there that we are nourished, body and soul. It is there that we learn to be thankful, and to give thanks for all we have. In that way, it is the place where we first learn the meaning of Eucharist, of Christ present in our midst.  If we want to re-learn the value of the Eucharist, perhaps we also need to re-learn the value of the kitchen table and the family meal,” O’Brien said.

The principle concelebrants at the celebration of Mass were Cardinal André Vingt Trois; Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal George Alencherry; Major Archbishop Siro-Malabar Church, Archbishop Barry Hickey; Emeritus Archbishop of Perth, Archbishop Gerald Cyprien Lacroix; Quebec City, and Bishop Joachin Hermes Robledo Romero; Paraguay.

Delivering the homily, Cardinal André Vingt Trois said the first mission of Christian families is to live concretely by the values of “reconciliation, mutual acceptance and joy in giving one’s life for one’s loved ones”.

Meanwhile, the Papal Legate Cardinal Marc Ouellet attended a special meeting at Aras an Uachtaran with President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina, along with guests Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and the Papal Nuncio Charles Browne.


Further information:


  • Aisling Harmey, Media Relations Manager, 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012,

Tel: 00353 (01) 234 9903    Mob: 00353 (0) 87 137 2447    Email:


  • Aoife Connors, Media Officer, 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012,

Tel: 00353 (01) 234 9940    Mob: 00353 (0) 87 628 0580   Email:



Notes for Editors:

  • The 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 will take place in Dublin from 10 – 17 June 2012 with up to 25,000 pilgrims expected to attend each day at the RDS, including thousands of international pilgrims representing more than 120 different countries.
  • IEC2012 will transform the RDS into a Eucharistic Village for an eight day festival of faith and culture. The Eucharist will be celebrated in the Liturgy and adored in the Prayer Space.
  • The Congress is an international gathering of people, held every four years somewhere in the world, which aims to promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Catholic Church; to help improve our understanding and celebration of the liturgy and to draw attention to the social dimension of the Eucharist. These aims are achieved through a programme of pastoral preparation in the years leading up to the Congress and a programme of liturgical and cultural events, lectures and workshops over the course of one week.  Previous Congresses took place in Quebec (2008) and Guadalajara (2004)
  • The theme of the Congress is ‘The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one Another’ (Communion – like Solidarity – means a relationship of mutual love and self-giving).
  • On 17 June, more than 80,000 people are expected to gather and celebrate Statio Orbis, the Final Mass, of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 at Croke Park Stadium.
  • There are a total of 223 speakers as part of the IEC2012 programme of events, which includes 38 speakers in the main arena delivering Catechesis (teaching), personal testimonies, homilies and addresses.
  • There are 41 speakers delivering addresses at the Chiara Luce Youth Space for young people between 17 and 25 years old.
  • A total of 160 workshops including talks, addresses, group reflections, meetings, concerts and plays
  • The full programme is available at:
  • For more information: