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Pope Benedict XVI Urges Greater Study of Eucharist


Dublin to host next international congress in 2012.

  Photos from the Eucharistic Congress
Cardinal Jozef Tomko


Cardinal Jozef Tomko


Quebec City’s historic Plains of Abraham was the setting for the closing Mass of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) June 22.

Thousands of the faithful filled the former battlefield turned national park, and even a mid-day thunderstorm could not dampen their excitement at taking part in such a dramatic witness to their Catholic faith. They cheered the procession of hundreds of priests and members of the hierarchy, and applauded Pope Benedict XVI’s homily delivered live via satellite from the Vatican.

“God has blessed the congress in abudance, and has provided an abundance of rain,” said Cardinal Jozef Tomko, the pope’s personal delegate to the IEC, who was the principal celebrant of the closing Mass.

Quebec area Fourth Degree Knights served as honor guards at both the Mass and a eucharistic procession earlier in the day when the faithful gathered for morning prayer and Benediction.

In his homily, Pope Benedict said he hoped one outcome of the IEC would be that people continue to study the Church’s teaching about the Eucharist as congress participants had done all week. “Commit to study this great mystery,” he said. “Study in groups or individually…so that you can live this mystery more intensely.”

He also sounded a call for greater faith formation among the young and urged prayers for “the Lord to give to the Church the gift of new priests.” He called the family the “primordial place of vocations” to the priesthood.

Before concluding his homily, Pope Benedict announced that the 50th International Eucharistic Congress would be held in Dublin, Ireland, in 2012. On hand to hear the news was Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, the primate of Ireland. He is the author of The Breaking of Bread: Biblical Reflections on the Eucharist.

The pope finished his homily by saying that he hoped the IEC “would be a lasting source of spiritual renewal” for the Church and the world.