DUBLIN, SEPTEMBER 27, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Following the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, which took place earlier this year in Dublin, organizers and volunteers reflect on the success of the event and its role in bringing hope to the Church of Ireland.
From June 10-17, the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) was held at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) in Dublin, Ireland. The IEC was attended daily by between 10,000 and 16,000, participants, with 65,000 in attendance for the closing liturgy at Croke Park. Total attendance over the course of the week was approximately 150,000, seven thousand of whom came from overseas from 114 different countries.
Last weekend, nearly 1,000 of the 2,000 volunteers who assisted pilgrims during the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) gathered for a post-Congress reunion, with Mass celebrated by Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. Many of the volunteers expressed the hope that, as a group, they would continue to have a role in the Irish Church into the future.
During the period of preparation for the Congress, many people expressed concern that the Congress would result in a substantial debt for the Irish Church. While the accounts are still subject to audit and will become a matter of public record in due course, analysis has revealed that the organizers came under budget, spending approximately €9.3 million as opposed to the projected €11.8 million. Speaking at a meeting of diocesan delegates yesterday Fr. Kevin Doran, Secretary General, paid tribute to the careful financial management of Anne Griffin, General Manager of the Congress and the hard work of all of the Congress team in delivering the Congress under budget, without any reduction in quality.
Fr. Doran also noted that almost 50% of the total cost of the Congress was raised through the generous contributions of parishioners in four annual national collections since 2008. “This is quite remarkable given the present economic climate,” he said. “I am personally very grateful to the Catholics of Ireland for this very practical expression of their support and encouragement for what we were trying to do, at a time when some would have questioned whether it was the right time for a Congress.” Fund-raising for the Congress was carried out by a separate committee headed by Bishop John Fleming.
In the next few months a selection of DVDs will be produced, beginning with a twin pack of the opening and closing events of the IEC, and followed by a DVD featuring the highlights of each day of the Congress. The texts of the various talks and workshops presented during IEC and at the pre-Congress Symposium of Theology will also be published before Christmas by Veritas Publications.
For the past three months, the remaining staff members at the 50th International Eucharistic Congress have been carrying out the “wrap up” operation which follows any large international event. This has involved settling accounts with suppliers and clients, the archiving of materials and the writing of reports and of letters of thanks. The IEC Office at Simmonscourt Road will officially close this weekend.
“There is a very real sense of sadness as we prepare to leave the RDS” said Fr. Kevin Doran. “We have worked at the RDS for the past eighteen months and have experienced a great sense of warmth and welcome from the management and the entire staff here. They could not have been more helpful to us.”