YANGON, Myanmar, FEB. 20, 2005 (Zenit.org).- A historic national Eucharistic Congress in Myanmar attracted more than 80,000 people to the Marian shrine of Nyaunglebin, the second in almost 50 years.

Reflections, catechesis, meditations, prayers and liturgies gathered faithful from 12 dioceses Feb. 11-13. During the congress Masses were celebrated in the main local languages of Myanmar, and Eucharistic adoration provided the highlight of the day, reported Fides news agency.

Archbishop Salvatore Pennachio, apostolic nuncio in Thailand and apostolic delegate for Myanmar (also known as Burma) and other Asian countries, presided over the second day of the Eucharistic Congress, together with 12 bishops, 160 priests, and the participation of more than 80,000 faithful from all over the country.

Also present were numerous Christians of other denominations as well as non-Christians interested in the Christian faith and attracted by devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes, whose feast day was celebrated on the opening day.

In the context of the Year of the Eucharist, Archbishop Pennachio emphasized in his homily the importance of this sacrament as source, summit, and center of the life of the Church and of every Christian, inviting bishops, priests, religious, and faithful to a renewed love of the Eucharist.

"May the Eucharist continue to be the center of our ministry," he said speaking to the bishops.

"To you, children, I say: may you remember always that Jesus loves you and waits for you in the Eucharist where you can meet Him and talk with Him," he said.

About 72% of Myanmar's 48 million inhabitants are Buddhists; 8% are Christians.