Cardinal Ouellet on Dublin Eucharistic Congress

Papal Delegate Notes Hopes for Host Country

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ROME, JUNE 6, 2012 ( “My hope is that the Church in Ireland be really strengthened in its identity as communion of God among people and through this testimony of others who are coming to visit and to share the same faith together with the people in Ireland,” said Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and papal legate to the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, which will be held next week in Dublin, Ireland.

In an interview published Tuesday by Vatican Radio, the cardinal referred to the difficulties in Ireland in recent years, including the sexual abuse scandals and the need for a new dialogue. He expressed the hope that the Eucharistic Congress would “strengthen the bond of love in the Church, faith and love.”

“A Eucharist Congress is the Universal Church that is uniting in a local Church to turn to God and ask Him for all kinds of blessings which we need for the path of the Church,” he said.

Referring to his experience in 2008, when as archbishop of Quebec, Canada, he hosted the previous Eucharistic Congress, Cardinal Ouellet said that for decades the Church there had been affected by a process of secularization and it needed the renewal that could come through such an event.

The congress did indeed bring more unity to the local Church, he said, and also afterward two seminaries were founded, a minor and a major one.

Prophetic testimony

“The Eucharistic Congress has been a prophetic testimony of the Church for more than a century now and it has acquired new characteristics with Vatican II where we have strengthened not only the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, but the link between the Eucharistic Celebration and the Church as communion, as fraternity,” Cardinal Ouellet explained to Vatican Radio.

It differs from World Youth Days and Family Meetings such as the event last weekend in Milan in that in a Eucharistic Congress, there is more emphasis on the interior and the spiritual aspects of the Church, while at World Youth Days and family gatherings the emphasis is on testimony with the aim of evangelization, he pointed out.

“Together the three events bring the same message: we are fed by the presence of the Risen Lord in the Eucharist, who is still calling the youth to follow him and the families to be a domestic church a real sanctuary of the Divine Life in the world.”

When asked about the ecclesiology of communion, that will be the focus of a theological symposium held prior to the Eucharistic Congress, Cardinal Ouellet said that since Vatican II “there is an extraordinary development of communion in the Church, not only in bringing together the Papal Primacy, but also the collegiality of bishops – the development of the synods of bishops for example – and also at the local level, the development of structures of participation, the development of councils of priests, of lay people and at the level of the parish.”

There remain aspects to be discussed, he admitted, particularly in regard to the ecumenical dimension. This includes the theme of baptism with the churches resulting from the Reformation and Eucharistic ecclesiology with the Orthodox Churches.

“The field is open for more reflection and dialogue on how to embody the gift of God which is the gift of the Trinitarian Communion to humanity through the Church,” he continued.

Cardinal Ouellet said he has been in Ireland, both in 2001 and 2002. He said it was a positive experience and he saw how Ireland had not been so severely affected by secularization compared to his own country.

“It was also an occasion to discover the glorious history of fidelity of Ireland, to its Catholic faith and also its contribution to the missionary activity of the Church,” he said.

“It is an extraordinary history and they should be proud of this past which still has an impact on the present and is always part of the heritage that we should meditate upon and look for new energies for the renewal of the Church nowadays in Ireland.”

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