“The world has closed up, our hearts have opened up” – a unique event is on the way! The organizers of the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) that has been postponed for next September are working on to have an online pre-meeting.
After more than eighty years it is Hungary again that has the privilege to host the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) – this sentence has lost nothing of its truth to this day. All that has changed is that given the world pandemic crises and the consequences that of, Pope Frances had decided this spring, in consultation with the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses and the Hungarian organizers of the Catholic World Meeting, to postpone the event – originally scheduled for 2020 September – by one year.
All along the history of the Eucharistic Congresses since 1881, a forced break was only due to the First and the Second World Wars, while after the latter one no Catholic World Meeting of such was organized until 1952. Now, this is the very first time that a pandemic interfered and blocked the events planned. Then, in May, upon the proposal of Cardinal Péter Erdő, Primate of Hungary, the Holy See approved the new date: the Catholic World Event, hosted by Budapest, Hungary is to be held from 5 to 12 September 2021.
But the original date of the Congress, the week of 13 – 20 September has been so long and so enthusiastically waited by the world’s Catholic community, that it has just been burned into the organizers’ heart. Therefore, it was decided to make this event period as memorable as possible, taking into consideration the given specific circumstances. How can it be possible? Virtually, via the IEC2020 YouTube channel.
Upon Cardinal Péter Erdő’s invitation, some of the IEC guest speakers will share their thoughts, and also some testimonies can be heard through these video messages. Moreover, the Hungarian Chief Pastor is to be seen in a very special, new role. The YouTube channel audience will be greeted by Péter Erdő’s presentation on the senders of the video messages, telling some of their remarkable, interesting life stories. Video messages have arrived from five continents, and are going to be broadcasted on the net daily, throughout during the originally scheduled date of the Congress.
However, in advance we can already let you know: there will be some particularly shocking messages from the leaders of the Christian communities in Nigeria and Iraq, tormented all at once both by the war and the pandemic. Both Cardinal Louis Raphaël Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, and Valerian Okeke, the Archbishop of Onitsha, Nigeria say thanks to the people and the Government of Hungary for their support in helping the Christian communities there during these hard days of bloodshed and pandemic.
“As soon as the coronavirus crisis hit the western societies, a “pik pik pik” increase was seen on the Google research activity on the topic of prayer” – recalls in his video message Johannes Hartl, German theologian, who believes that “crises situations like this current one are always a big opportunity for the Christians to let their light to be seen in front of the world.” Hartl – alike to the other guest speakers – is a particularly remarkable person. He is a father of four children, once a rebellious hippie, later on, the founder of a Christian community. Currently, he is doing a vlog, he is the author of numerous books and an internationally well-recognized speaker.
“It’s gonna make next year even better than ever.” – can be heard in the optimistic video message of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who, quite often is simply referred to as the “American pope”.
In 2021 each of the invited guest speakers will be personally present in Budapest. However, right now during the originally scheduled, but washed away date of the Congress, they are talking to the Hungarian worshippers and to the Christians across the world over a video message, demonstrating that the Eucharist binds us together.
– Cardinal Péter Erdő, welcome speech
– Piero Marini (ITALY), Archbishop, President of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses
– Valerian Okeke (NIGERIA), Archbishop of Onitsha
– Louis Raphaël Sako (IRAQ), Archbishop of Baghdad, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church
-Timothy Dolan (USA), Cardinal, Archbishop of New York
– Johannes Hartl (GERMANY), German theologian, professor of literary, philosopher
– Moysés Azevedo (BRAZIL), Founder of the Shalom Catholic Community
– Ägidius J. Zsifkovics (AUSTRIA), Bishop of the Eisenstadt Diocese
– Mary Healy (USA), professor, theologian
-Gerald Lacroix (CANADA), Cardinal, Archbishop of Québec
– Jean-Luc Moens (BELGIUM), CHARIS, Moderator of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service
– Konstantin Szabó (UKRAINE), Greek Catholic priest