Cardinal Urges Confidence in Church in Ireland

Launches Pilgrimage of Eucharistic Congress Bell

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ARMAGH, Ireland, MARCH 18, 2011 ( Cardinal Seán Brady is encouraging his countrymen to have confidence in the Church, despite the trials it has recently been through in Ireland.

The archbishop of Armagh and primate of All Ireland made this appeal Thursday at the launch of a pilgrimage of the International Eucharistic Congress Bell in Armagh.

The bell — which symbolizes the invitation to faith, prayer, reconciliation and mission — will travel on pilgrimage throughout the 26 dioceses of Ireland in preparation for the Eucharistic congress.

The June 10-17, 2012, congress will focus on the theme, «The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and One Another.»

At Thursday’s event, Cardinal Brady acknowledged that «these have been turbulent times for the people of Ireland.»

«I am conscious that some commentators have said it is not a good time for Ireland to have a Eucharistic congress,» he said. «The wounds from the child abuse scandal in the Church are still too raw, the economic situation of the country is still too difficult. People are too distracted with other important things.»

«Yet, the fact that we have been invited to host the 50th Eucharistic Congress out of all the countries of the world is itself a great vote of confidence in our country,» the prelate affirmed.

«It is a mark of the high esteem we continue to enjoy across the world and the trust others place in our heart, our hospitality and our ability to overcome the obstacles that confront us at this very challenging moment in our history,» he observed. «Others have confidence in us.»

Healing and renewal

The cardinal continued: «My hope and prayer this evening is that as the journey to the Eucharistic congress begins we will have confidence in ourselves and all that is best in our Church and in our country.

«The success of the congress will depend in no small measure on every parish and every parishioner becoming involved in actively supporting the congress and participating in its preparation and events with confidence and with faith.»

He expressed the belief that «the Eucharistic congress will also play a critical part in the ongoing healing, reparation and renewal called for by Pope Benedict XVI in his pastoral letter to the Catholics of Ireland published this time last year.»

«We need communion with Christ and with one another if healing and renewal is to become possible,» Cardinal Brady affirmed.

He added, «We need to rediscover the value of good neighborliness, of working for others, of being part of and contributing to building vibrant communities.»

The prelate stated, «The Eucharistic congress and the journey of the congress bell around the country is an opportunity to do all of these things.»

Historical journey

The bell will be in the Armagh Archdiocese for 15 days, after which it will travel to the Diocese of Dromore. It will also be taken to World Youth Day in Madrid in August, and later to Lourdes as part of a diocesan pilgrimage.

Last week, at a presentation for the preparatory phase of the Eucharistic congress, Father Kevin Doran, secretary-general for the event, explained the significance of the pilgrimage: «We have been asking people to think of it as a journey rather than just an event.»

He continued: «Some of those who came to the last congress in Dublin in 1932 have spoken to us of their mammoth journeys on foot or on bicycles.

«For this congress we are asking people to engage in an interior journey of renewal.»

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