By Junno Arocho
DUBLIN, Ireland, JUNE 11, 2012 (Zenit.org).- An unusual sunny day brightened the atmosphere here in Dublin as participants from all over the world joined together for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress. A palpable joy could be felt as some went to see the various exhibitions taking place and young teens walked arm and arm singing. The message that many here cling to is one: the grace that comes from the Church and from the sacrament of the Eucharist can form a true communion, even in a gathering as diverse and grandiose as this.
Entering the main stadium of the RDS (Royal Dublin Society) was a group of 52 pilgrims from the Diocese of Vancouver, Canada. Led by Sabiniana Banares, the group is part of an estimated 900 pilgrims from Canada.
Banares, who has been to two previous Eucharistic congresses, saw an opportunity for spiritual enrichment and thanksgiving in the trip to Dublin. “This is the best time for me to be thankful to God for all his blessings,” she said. “My heart is full of joy because in spite of the hardship to organize the group, I think I am reaping the harvest. And this is the best time to say ‘Lord, thank you so much for everything.’”
Along with the group was Fr. Amador Abundo, the spiritual director, who says he views the Eucharistic Congress as an opportunity to call back those who have been far from the faith. “We are campaigning now to bring back our brother and sisters, especially the Catholics back to the faith. The Eucharist can surely help us to bring them back to the Church. In my parish, I have perpetual Eucharistic adoration, and I am always campaigning to the people to come and pray before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. It’s the only way that we’ll be able to ask them to return to the faith,” he said.
Sein Soto Rosa, who along with Rosa Santos, came all the way from the Diocese of Fajardo in Puerto Rico. They belong to a group in their diocese, “Verano Misionero”(Missionary Summer), that prepares and sends Catholic missionaries to different parts of Latin America.
Rosa spoke to ZENIT about what he hoped to bring back to the Caribbean island upon his return. “We are hoping to receive more graces for the island of Puerto Rico, which is in need of it. It’s my wish that, through the gift of the Eucharist, there can be a fraternal communion between all Puerto Ricans.”
The congress is not only attended by lay people seeking to enrich their spiritual lives, but religious and those in consecrated life as well. Sister Mary Dolora, along with four other nuns from the Religious Sisters of Mercy in Washington, D.C., told ZENIT that the Dublin event is an opportunity to pray that love of the Eucharist “may grow and that our faith will deepen in the Church and in the Holy Eucharist because it is the source and summit of our whole life.”
“My prayer is that it will deepen all of our faiths. Really to know and recall the gifts that we have been given in the sacramental life of the Church: in baptism, in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, in the sacrament of Penance,” she said.