Eucharistic Congress Bell Makes A Stop At Antrim Parish
Wednesday 13th April saw the arrival of the Eucharistic Congress Bell at our Parish as part of the preparation for next year’s 50th International Eucharistic Congress.
The main events of the Congress next year will take place in Dublin’s RDS, venue for Dublin’s famous International Horse Show. The Congress will begin with the opening ceremony on 10th June 2012 and over the week a programme of liturgical and cultural events; workshops and daily celebration of the Eucharist will culminate in an open air Mass and closing ceremony in Croke Park.
The theme of the Congress, drawn from Lumen Gentium, 7 is ‘The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another’ and is designed to be more than simply an event in the 2012 calendar. The Secretary General for the Eucharistic Congress Fr Kevin Doran has said that, “Core to the mission of the Congress is the view that it is a pilgrim journey involving spiritual and pastoral preparation.
“Each diocese in Ireland has its own organising committee to promote a deepening of understanding for Catholics of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Church, a richer celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy and an awareness of the social responsibility that comes with the communion and self-gift of Jesus which we celebrate.”
As a key part of this, the Bell is a symbolic invitation to Irish Catholics, and Christians of other traditions, to join in the call to faith, to prayer, to reconciliation and to mission that is at the heart of the Church’s preparation for the Congress next year.
The Congress Bell has its origins at the Dominican Convent in Portstewart and was used to ring in the Jubilee Year in Glendalough, Co. Wexford at the turn of the Millennium. Teams of volunteers will bring the Bell on foot to each and every diocese in the country, a journey which started at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral in Dublin on St Patrick’s Day.
Wednesday 13th was the turn of our own Parish, and the Bell stayed until Friday morning before making its way towards Ballymena and onwards on its mission to invite people to deepen their communion with Christ and with one another.
Other aims include promoting the pastoral aims of the Congress, inviting all Christians to join in giving a common witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in an increasingly secular society, animating the people of each Diocese to become involved with the Eucharistic Congress both locally and nationally and finally encouraging people to come to the Congress.
It is hoped that the Congress Bell will be a focal point for the prayer in parishes and at places of pilgrimage all over Ireland between now and June 2012. Organisers are also keen to encourage volunteers to take part not only in the Eucharistic Congress itself but also in the lead up to the main events.
Volunteers are needed in a wide variety of roles including administration, hospitality, translation services and stewarding and there is a particularly strong emphasis on the inclusion of young people, however it is not exclusively a youth project and volunteers from all walks of life are invited and encouraged to get involved. Details are available in seven different languages on www.iec2012.ie.