Priesthood is not to be undertaken purely as a personal honour, Archbishop Dermot Clifford told pilgrims attending Morning Prayer at the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC2012) on Wednesday 13 June 2012.
In the words of Pope John Paul II, Archbishop Clifford described priesthood as “unique, indispensable and irreplaceable”. He added that “the title of bishop is one not of honour but of function and therefore a bishop should strive to serve rather than rule.” The purpose is the service of the faithful, to enable them to exercise their own special priesthood.
During catechesis in the main RDS arena at 2pm, Archbishop J. Michael Miller, Archbishop of Vancouver, Canada, spoke about three points on priesthood, which included the relationship between the priesthood of all the baptized and the ministerial priesthood; the priest as a man of communion called to foster unity and healing; and the role of the priest in serving his brothers and sisters in their participation in the Church’s saving mission.
Later in the afternoon, Mrs Noreen Carroll a parishioner from Foxrock Parish, Dublin delivered a personal testimony about ‘Priesthood and Ministry in the Service of Communion’ in the main RDS arena. Mrs Carroll explained: “The way in which each priest makes Christ present to all of us who seek God is the great mystery of priesthood.”
Sr Conchita McDonnell, President of CORI (Conference of Religious Ireland) also delivered a personal testimony about ‘Consecrated Life – A Life of Communion’. Sr McDonnell told the thousands of pilgrims gathered in the main RDS arena that despite all that has happened in Ireland in recent years it is clear that our witness is not ineffective but rather can have a lasting effect on the lives of people.
“While attending funerals of religious throughout Ireland since the recent reports on child abuse it is striking how much the individual religious is loved and cherished and his/her contribution to the local community referred to in loving concrete terms,” Sr Conchita added.
Cardinal Oscar Andés Rodríguez-Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, was the main celebrant at Mass to celebrate the feast day of St Anthony of Padua. In his Homily focusing on ‘Saint Anthony of Padua and His Eucharistic Devotion’, Cardinal Rodríguez-Maradiaga said: “The Liturgy tells us that the saints fulfill a triple function in the Church: the example of their lives, the help of their intercession and the sharing of their destiny.”
Also concelebrating the Mass were Archbishop J Michael Miller; Archbishop of Vancouver, Bishop John Lee; Taiwan, Bishop Fernando Panico; National Delegate, Brazil, Bishop Anthony Banzi; Tanzania, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, IEC2012 President and Archbishop of Dublin, and Cardinal Sean Brady; Primate of All-Ireland.
The musicians and performers included the Derry Cathedral Choir – Conducted by Sister Perpetual McNulty, James Kilbane, Ennis Gospel Choir, Singer Sarah McCourt.
After Mass, more than 12,500 pilgrims, clergy and parishioners gathered at the RDS Simmonscourt Complex and the main arena for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress Procession.
Pilgrims walked around the RDS complex at 7.30pm turning left down Simmonscourt Road, turning right onto Anglesea Road, right again onto Merrion Road, and the route returned to the grounds of the RDS Simmonscourt, a route of approximately 2.5 kilometres.
Individuals, community and parish groups from across the country gathered to walk the procession with colourful banners. These included: Church of Ireland Boys Brigade, Scouts with Colour Party, Guides with Colour Party, Lourdes Pilgrimage Groups, Civil Defence, Parish groups, and Knights of Malta.
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: www.iec2012.ie/programme
- For more information: www.iec2012.ie