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Conference Participants Consider Eucharist-Marriage Link

IEC Official Draws Parallel in Gift of Self in Both Sacraments

By Ann Schneible

DUBLIN, Ireland, JUNE 12, 2012 (Zenit.org).- “Communion in Marriage and Family” was the theme for today’s sessions of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, which is under way through Sunday in Dublin.

Bishop Mark Davies from the Diocese of Shrewsbury, England, and Mrs. Breda O’Brien addressed a press conference along with IEC 2012 Secretary General Father Kevin Doran, speaking about the family, the youth, and the renewal of the priesthood.

Bishop Davies, who on Monday evening offered catechetical reflections to a crowd of nearly 1,000 young people, spoke about the experience. “It was especially impressive,” he said, “to see the response of young people. Several hundreds of young people found their way to the youth space event, and engaged in that event with great enthusiasm, and very evident commitment.”

In response to a question about the relics of St. John Vianney, which are coming to England, the bishop spoke about the importance of the saints in helping to bring about renewal in the priesthood and the Church. “For the renewal of the priesthood,” he said, it is essential “to look to the saints because it is in the saints that we see the Church’s always truest, its most authentic, face. We see the Christian life lived to the full; we see the priesthood lived to the full. It is through the saints,” he continued, that the crisis which has “beset the priesthood will be resolved. It is through the saints that each crisis in the Church has been resolved; in our history, where we see a breakdown, we also see a breakthrough, and the breakthrough comes through the saints.”

O’Brien, a school teacher who writes for the Irish Times and the Irish Catholic, gave a personal testimony at the Congress about marriage and the family. She spoke about the state of catechesis in Ireland, particularly for adults. “I absolutely support the idea of adult Catholic catechesis,” she said. “I think it is really important because most people, when they are interested in something, don’t leave their education behind when they leave school at 17 or 18. Unfortunately, because adult catechesis hasn’t been strong in Ireland, there is a tendency to do that. I think it would be really good for parishes if there were opportunities at the parish level for people to come to just discuss issues.”

Finally, in continuing with the theme of Tuesday’s sessions, Secretary General of the Congress Kevin Doran spoke about the institution of marriage and sexuality within the context of the Eucharist. “It is extremely important,” he said, “for us to make the connection between marriage and Eucharist; they are both primarily about the gift of self to the other. In a very particular way, the gift Jesus gives us in the Eucharist is reflected in the gift that married people give to one another and to their children… husband and wife give themselves completely to one another.”

“The language of the Eucharist,” Father Doran continued, “which is known to us all —’This is my Body, which is for you’ – obviously doesn’t just refer to the physical body, but the gift of the whole self. Very much in the same way, the language of human sexuality in the gift of marriage is about not just the body, but the gift of the whole self. That is at the heart of the Church’s teaching about sexuality.”

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