IEC 2012 Wrap up Show

Join us as we look back at the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, Ireland. And we take you behind the scenes of an amazing week. Special features on the Irish High Crosses, Jerpoint Abbey, “Through the Eyes of the Apostles” exhibit, Liturgies, Catechists, Speakers and all the major events of the congress.

IEC 2012: Cardinal Ouellet’s homily at the Statio Orbis

Dear brothers and sisters,

The fiftieth occurrence of the International Eucharistic Congress is now coming to a close. We are deeply grateful to God for the light of His Word and for the gift of the Holy Eucharist, which strengthen our communion with Christ and with one another.

At the end of this celebration we will listen to the message of Pope Benedict XVI. His speaking to us reminds us that this International Eucharistic Congress bears witness to the Catholic Church as the universal communion of many particular Churches. The Bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful here represent the Catholic Church which is found throughout the world in thousands of communities, but which is one in faith and love of Jesus Christ. I greet the ecumenical representatives and I thank you all for being part of this grace-filled event.

I greet the President of Ireland, and all the civil authorities, fondly aware of the noble tradition of this courageous nation. I thank wholeheartedly Archbishop Martin, Cardinal Brady and all the collaborators of this event for the gift of their warm hospitality and for the example of their strong dedication to Christian renewal in this country.

In order to prepare ourselves to listen to the Holy Father’s message, let us briefly reflect on today’s readings, which bring us a message of great hope and confidence.

Through the prophet Ezekiel the Lord says, “From the top of the cedar, from the highest branch I will take a shoot and plant it myself on a very high mountain. I will plant it on the high mountain of Israel. It will sprout branches and bear fruit, and become a noble cedar” (Ez. 17:22-23).

In the Gospel, Jesus uses a similar image to speak about the Kingdom of God: “[The kingdom] is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade” (Mk. 4:31-32).

We understand the prophecy of Ezekiel in the light of Christ. Jesus Christ is the shoot taken from the highest branch, he is God from God, and planted by God himself on a very high mountain, which is Calvary.

God the Father has planted on Calvary the seed of the Cross out of love for his creation and for all sinners. The seed of the Cross is the Sacred Heart of His only begotten Son, pierced to death by our sins, but raised up from death by the power of divine mercy. Therefore Christ Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He is the Holy Redeemer in whom we trust and find salvation. The seed of Christ’s love, buried in the ground of Calvary, produced an unimaginable fruit: a tree, the Tree of Life, a noble cedar which is the Holy Church of God, the dawn of the Kingdom. We believe in the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church, because we believe in Christ who wills the Church to be His body, born from the self-gift of His Eucharistic Body.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us rejoice and be full of confidence. “We are full of confidence” (2 Cor. 5:6), as St. Paul says to the Corinthians. We are so because the risen Lord is our home and our safety. We do experience limitations and failures in the Church, but the Lord sustains us, healing our wounds and strengthening our love. Let us rejoice in Him and be glad!

We can rely on the Lord for a new beginning. St. Paul gives us the key for any personal or ecclesial renewal: “We are intent on pleasing Him” (2 Cor. 5:6). This key to renewal in our lives is a decision to recommit ourselves to love the Lord and to live and to die for Him, knowing that His grace will never fail. May the upcoming Year of Faith strengthen in us this decision!

Jesus is the seed sowed by God Himself in the depths of the earth, a seed that fell to the earth, died and was raised to eternal life. From this smallest seed of salvation comes the Tree of Life, the Church, in which all of humanity is called to find a home and safety in the company of the risen Lord.

For this very reason, the Church is called, and we are called, to bear witness to the Lord by pleasing Him, that is, preaching the Gospel, living in fraternity and praising God for the gift of salvation.

After this week of Eucharistic reflection, celebration and adoration, we are certainly more aware of God’s call to communion with Him and with one another.

Let us bear witness to this grace by calling others to faith in this communion. The Irish bell, which resounds from Lough Derg, from Knock and Dublin, must resound in the whole world. Let’s ring the bell further through our personal testimony of renewed faith in the Holy Eucharist.

Faith is the most precious gift we have received with Baptism. Let’s not keep it private and fearful! Let it grow as a splendid tree through sharing everywhere!

Even if we are sometimes tested in our faith, do not be afraid, and remember who we are: the body of Christ intent on loving God over and above all things, intent on living in the Spirit of the new and eternal covenant.

We are not alone; the Spirit of Pentecost dwells in us. The communion of saints, with Mary at its heart, comes to our assistance as soon as we have rung the bell of prayer in total confidence. Keep hope and be glad, for the kingdom of God is near!

Dear brothers and sisters, at the end of this Mass we will listen to the Holy Father’s message for the conclusion of this Congress. Let us listen to him with great respect and gratitude since he is our spiritual father, a father who is holy and worthy of our trust and sincere obedience.

May our communion with the Body of Christ be a new bond of love; a small seed perhaps, but, by God’s grace and divine mercy, a fruitful one.

Together we pray the words of Saint Ephrem, deacon and doctor of the Church: “Lord … we have had your treasure hidden within us ever since we received baptismal grace; it grows ever richer at your sacramental table. Teach us to find our joy in your favour! Lord, we have within us your memorial, received at your spiritual table; let us possess it in its full reality when all things shall be made new” (Sermo 3, De fine et admonitione 2. 4-5). Amen!

Marc Cardinal Ouellet
Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops
Papal legate to the international eucharistic congress

– Photo Credit: CNS photo/Paul Haring

Homily of Cardinal Marc Ouellet at Lough Derg

This homily was delivered by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and Papal Legate to the International Eucharistic Congress, yesterday, 12 June 2012, during Mass in Saint Patrick’s Basilica, Station Island on Lough Derg, Co Donegal, in the Diocese of Clogher.  As part of his pilgrimage to Lough Derg, the Papal Legate celebrated Mass with approximately one hundred Irish and international pilgrims, some of whom had travelled to the island as part of their attendance at the Eucharistic Congress.  Before the Mass, Cardinal Ouellet, and his delegation, met with a group of survivors of child abuse in the Church which included representatives of institutional and clerical abuse, men and women, from different parts of the island of Ireland, North and South.  The meeting lasted two hours during which each survivor spoke of his or her own personal experience of abuse and its impact on their lives.

Bishop Liam MacDaid is the Bishop of Clogher.  The Diocese of Clogher is a cross-border diocese which includes County Monaghan, most of County Fermanagh and portions of Counties Tyrone, Donegal, Louth and Cavan.  Monsignor Richard Mohan is the Prior of Lough Derg.   Station Island on Lough Derg is located in the Diocese of Clogher and has been a place of pilgrimage for 1,500 years.  In 2011 over 16,600 national and international pilgrims travelled to Lough Derg to pray, undertake penance, and to reflect on the relationship with God in their lives.

Dear brothers and sisters,

Pope Benedict XVI asked me, as His Legate to the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, that I would come to Lough Derg and ask God’s forgiveness for the times clerics have sexually abused children not only in Ireland but anywhere in the Church.

Lough Derg in Ireland is the symbol of conversion, penance and spiritual renewal. Many people come here to pray, to fast and to apologize for their sins. According to a long tradition, they follow the steps of Saint Patrick who evangelized the country in the fifth century.

I come here with the specific intention of seeking forgiveness, from God and from the victims, for the grave sin of sexual abuse of children by clerics. We have learned over the last decades how much harm and despair such abuse has caused to thousands of victims. We learned too that the response of some Church authorities to these crimes was often inadequate and inefficient in stopping the crimes, in spite of clear indications in the code of Canon Law.

In the name of the Church, I apologize once again to the victims, some of whom I have met here in Lough Derg.

I repeat here what the Holy Father told to the victims in His Letter to the Catholics of Ireland: “It is understandable that you find it hard to forgive or to be reconciled with the Church. In her name I openly express the shame and remorse that we feel. At the same time, I ask you not to lose hope.  It is in the communion of the Church that we encounter the person of Jesus Christ, who was himself a victim of injustice and sin.”

Dear brothers and sisters, in today’s Gospel, Jesus said to His disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again?  It is good for nothing and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.”

The tragedy of the sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by Christians, especially when done so by members of the clergy, is a source of great shame and enormous scandal.  It is a sin against which Jesus himself lashed out: “It would be better for him if a millstone was put around his neck and he is thrown in to the sea than for him to cause one of the little one’s to stumble” (Lk 17:2).

As members of the Church, we must have the courage to ask humbly for God’s pardon, as well as for the forgiveness of those who have been wounded: we must remain close to them on their road of suffering, seeking in every possible way to heal and bind up the wounds following the example of the Good Samaritan.

From the context of this International Eucharistic Congress, I reaffirm the commitment of the Catholic Church to create a safe environment for children and we pray that a new culture of respect, integrity, and Christ like love would prevail in our midst and permeate the whole society.

May the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints help us all to eradicate the evil of sexual abuse and set us free toward a deep and lasting spiritual renewal of the whole Church.

We are here to pray God with the same words of Saint Augustine in the Confessions: “You called and cried to me and broke open my deafness: and you sent forth your beams and shone upon me and chased away my blindness: your breathed fragrance upon me, and I drew in my breath and do now pant for you: I tested you and now hunger and thirst for you: you touched me, and I have burned for your peace” (Book 10,27).

A true conversion can only happen through a restored deep personal relationship with Christ that we invoke for the entire Church, as the prayer of Saint Patrick, the Apostle of the faith in this country, reminds us:

Christ be with me, Christ within me,

Christ behind me, Christ before me,

Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort and restore me.

Amen.

 
 

After the homily the following prayers of intercession were prayed by all present:

–          For the Church: that its leaders be bestowed with wisdom and courage to strengthen people’s faith and nourish them on their journey. Lord, hear us.

–          For all of us here present: that we may be the salt of the earth for those around us and a light to guide people on their pilgrim way. Lord, hear us.

–          For the failure to love, respect, nurture and cherish young people, particularly the most vulnerable, we ask your forgiveness. Lord, hear us.

–          For the crimes and sins of sexual and physical abuse perpetrated against children and young people, especially in Church-run institutions, by clergy and other servants of the Church. Lord, hear us.

–          For the inadequate response often given by Church leaders when abused people told their stories, we ask forgiveness. Lord, hear us.

–          That all whose lives have been broken by abuse of any kind may experience support and lasting healing. Lord, hear us.

–          For personal intentions, for intentions of other pilgrims and for all who are sick. Lord, hear us.

–          For all who have been bereaved, and for our dead, especially family members and other loved ones; for those who died recently, all who have been pilgrims to Lough Derg and for those who died tragically or through violence. Lord, hear us.

–          Lord God, through the intercession of Patrick our Patron, hear the prayers of your people gathered here in faith and hope.  As you nourish us with your word, give us also the bread that gives us life – Jesus Christ your Son and our Lord, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

The dwelling place of Christ

In his Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sarcramentum Caritatis (or Sacrament of Charity), Pope Benedict XVI writes the following on the relationship between the Eucharist and the Church:

Since the Eucharist makes present Christ’s redeeming sacrifice, we must start by acknowledging that “there is a causal influence of the Eucharist at the Church’s very origins.” The Eucharist is Christ who gives himself to us and continually builds us up as his body. Hence, in the striking interplay between the Eucharist which builds up the Church, and the Church herself which “makes” the Eucharist, the primary causality is expressed in the first formula: the Church is able to celebrate and adore the mystery of Christ present in the Eucharist precisely because Christ first gave himself to her in the sacrifice of the Cross. The Church’s ability to “make” the Eucharist is completely rooted in Christ’s self-gift to her. (par. 14)

From these words, we can begin to understand more fully the great mystery that is Christ’s gift to the Church and, thus, the Church’s gift to the world. This understanding brings us to a very pertinent question as we near the beginning of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in Dublin: can the church in Ireland, wounded as it is by scandal and the ensuing civil backlash, offer Christ to the world? In other words, when the world looks toIreland, will they find a dwelling place of Christ? If we relied on the mainstream media to provide us with information regarding the Church inIreland, we would have given up on the Irish hosting the IEC long ago. Yet, when we listen to bishops, priests, religious, and lay people speak about the upcoming Congress, we sense a great spirit of hope; albeit a hope contextualized by the current conditions inIreland. Take, for example, Archbishop Martin’s comments during a recent Vatican news conference about the congress, “[The Congress] will reflect and showcase the church inIreland, a church which has faced and still faces enormous challenges, but a church which is alive and vital and anxious to set out on a path of renewal.” This spirit of hope amongst the faithful inIreland is a tell tale sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit. [Read more…]