Cardinal Marc Ouellet delivered a bold declaration last night at the 49th International Eucharistic Congress.
To an audience of a few thousand youth, Canada's Primate began by saying that, after one week of the Congress, he felt "as if I was raised from the dead." While the comment was meant to emphasize his joy this week, it also revealed the personal toll of the intense media scrutiny he has received in the past eight months.
The comment grabbed our attention, but it was his following remark that electrified those gathered:
"I believe that we have experienced a turning point in the history of the Catholic Church in Quebec."
The congregation was initially timid to respond beyond moderate applause. I could imagine what they were thinking: Could the springtime really be here? But the decline has continued for so long... But this arena is not even full
Yet the applause grew. It seemed the young men and women needed a moment to ponder the significant moments of the past week. Certainly, 20,000 Catholics in Eucharistic procession--a sight unseen here in decades--demonstrates that there exists deep devotion in Quebec. Perhaps they were searching their memories before concluding that, no, the Quebec Cardinal was not one to make exaggerated claims. Neither I nor my media colleagues could recall him making such a pronouncement before.
Soon, every young man and women would stand. Cheers erupted, then turned into a sustained roar. It will require much time, work, prayer, but if Cardinal Ouellet sees revival on the horizon, we believe him.