Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
May 18, 2008
A Eucharistic Congress - Do We Really Need These?
(Excerpts from theological document for the IECQ)
Next month, Quebec City will be hosting the 49th International Eucharistic Congress. These gatherings have been a part of the Catholic Church’s life since 1881. The purpose of such a congress is to give both clergy and layperson alike the opportunity to concentrate and reflect on the most precious gift Catholics hold in truth and in memory, i.e., the real presence of Christ among us.
This year’s congress in Quebec City will coincide with the 400th anniversary of the foundation of the first French city in North America, which would become, in the 17th century, an important entry point for missionary activity on the entire continent. The theme of this year’s congress is “The Eucharist, God’s gift for the life of the world,” echoes the motto of the city which is “God’s gift: make it count.” The people of the province of Quebec proclaim as their motto: “I remember”. This motto reminds us of the mandate that Jesus gave to his apostles at the Last Supper: “Do this in memory of me.” This Eucharistic Congress will be a privileged event during which we pay homage to this gift of God at the heart of the Christian life and recall the Christian roots of many countries, many of which will be in attendance.
The theme of the Congress was approved by Pope Benedict XVI. It is particularly important, today, to remember God’s gift, for, in the midst of remarkable technological progress, notably in the area of communication, our world experiences a deep interior emptiness that it perceives as an absence f God. We have become so fascinated by our own creative capacities that contemporary humanity tends to forget its Creator and sets itself up as the sole master of its own destiny. Unfortunately for us, this temptation to put ourselves in God’s place does not serve us well. It does not succeed in silencing the longing for the infinite that inhabits our depths and the authentic values that we strive to develop even if they risk leading us astray.
Pope John Paul II reminds us that the death of God in our culture and societies only serves to bring about the eventual “death” of human beings. We see examples of this process in the currents of nihilistic thought as well as in the conflictual and broken relationships that re multiplying at all levels of human experience, disrupting marriage and the family, multiplying ethnic and social conflicts, and increasing the gulf between the rich and the huge majority who are poor. World peace is undermined by injustice and misery, and terrorism become the weapon of choice of the desperate.
Sadly, on a religious level, people today no longer are willing to submit themselves to an authority that dictates their conduct. They must cope with widespread access to many different beliefs and growing difficulty of handing on to new generations the heritage that they have received from their own religious tradition. The Christian faith is no exception to this pattern, and is even more affected by it because its transmssion relies on revelation that reason alone cannot measure.
The Eucharist contains the essential elements of a Christian response to the tragedy of a humanism that has lost its point of reference to the God who is creator and redeemer. The Eucharist remembers God’s saving action. The Eucharist brings to the world the gospel of Christ’ Peace. The Eucharist teaches us that self-giving must be at the core of of our lives.
Lorette P. Nault