Thousands Gather for Closing Mass at Croke Park

Papal Legate Brings International Eucharistic Congress to a Close

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By Ann Schneible

DUBLIN, JUNE 17, 2012 ( The 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) concluded on Sunday with the Statio Orbis, celebrated in Croke Park Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.

The Statio Orbis was divided into two parts: first, a series of performances, testimonies, and presentations and, secondly, the celebration of Mass, presided over by papal legate Cardinal Marc Ouellet.

The musical performances preceding the celebration of the Mass were provided by various groups and singers, including: “The Priests” (a classical music group comprised of three Catholic priests from Northern Ireland), the “Three Tenors,” and opera soprano, Celine Byrne.

Present at the Statio Orbis were 177 veterans of the 1932 International Eucharistic Congress, the first to be held in Dublin. A short documentary of this first Congress was shown while Panis Angelicus – a hymn included in the liturgy of the1932 Statio Orbis – was sung.

Presiding over the Holy Mass was Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Pope Benedict XVI’s official representative to the IEC in Dublin. Included among those concelebrating with the papal legate were Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, Ireland; Cardinal Keith O’Brien of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland; Archbishop Jose S. Palma of Cebu, Philippines and Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the pontifical committee of Eucharistic Congresses.

In his homily, Cardinal Ouellet expressed his gratitude for the grace which has been bestowed upon this year’s IEC.“We are deeply grateful to God,” said the papal legate, “for the light of His Word and for the gift of the Holy Eucharist, which strengthen our communion with Christ and with one another.”

Recalling the words of Saint Paul to the Corinthians, he said, “let us rejoice and be full of confidence.” This confidence, he continued, stems from the reality that “the risen Lord is our home and our safety. We do experience limitations and failures in the Church, but the Lord sustains us, healing our wounds and strengthening our love. Let us rejoice in Him and be glad!”

“After this week of Eucharistic reflection, celebration and adoration,” he continued, “we are certainly more aware of God’s call to communion with Him and with one another.”

“Faith,” the cardinal said in conclusion, “is the most precious gift we have received with Baptism. Let’s not keep it private and fearful! Let it grow as a splendid tree through sharing everywhere!”

At the close of the Mass, Pope Benedict XVI, speaking from the Vatican in a pre-recorded message, greeted all those who participated in the Congress. “The Eucharist,” he said “is the worship of the whole Church, but it also requires the full engagement of each individual Christian in the Church’s mission; it contains a call to be the holy people of God, but also one to individual holiness; it is to be celebrated with great joy and simplicity, but also as worthily and reverently as possible; it invites us to repent of our sins, but also to forgive our brothers and sisters; it binds us together in the Spirit, but it also commands us in the same Spirit to bring the good news of salvation to others.”

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