(AsiaNews) - An experience of faith that will strengthen "our lives"
built on the principles of "love, unity and harmony" that help to instill
"more joy in society", thus contributing "to the progress of our
nation" . This
is how Brother Louise, a member, describes the recent experience of the
International Eucharistic Congress to AsiaNews,
held in mid-month in Ireland. The
Thai delegation led by Msgr. Francis
Xavier Kirengsak Kovithavanij, archbishop of Bangkok and vice-president of the
Episcopal Conference, was composed of 41 pilgrims, including nine priests, a
group of men and women religious and various lay people. "I
am grateful for the opportunities received - adds the religious - to see with
my own eyes the work of Congress. To see people of different cultures and
nationalities showing all this zeal for the Eucharist at the center of Catholic
life, it has made my faith even stronger.
The 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) - scheduled for June 10 to 17 - brought lay and religious Catholics from around the world together to Dublin (Ireland). The event is held every four years (the first participation of a Thai delegation dates back to 2004) and the 2012 edition focused on the theme "The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another." The Congress was preceded by a theological Symposium (June 6 to 9), in which experts and scholars reflected on the ecclesiology of communion in the 50 years since Vatican II.
In an interview with the Catholic weekly Udomsarn on his return from Ireland, the Archbishop of Bangkok emphasizes that the Congress is an occasion for Catholics across the world to "come together and celebrate Jesus Christ in the Eucharist." It is a sign of thanksgiving to the Lord, added the prelate, for the "precious gift" of faith that he has given mankind, as well as to pool efforts in "spreading the Word of God" in the world today. Bishop Kovithavanij finally recalled the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II, and the value of all "unity" among Christians.
Among the highlights of the Irish experience the delegation members remember the morning prayers, which were followed by meetings and discussion on various subject matters ecclesiastical, spiritual and social. In the afternoon, there were testimonies and catechesis by members of different congregations, experiences of pastoral life. There were also private spaces for pilgrims to medicate the Word of God before the Eucharist, in groups or alone. Friday, June 15th Patriarch Fouad Twal presided over a Mass in which he prayed for peace in the Middle East, Sunday Mass was celebrated by the papal delegate, attended by around 72 thousand people from 120 nations of the world, after which a video message from Benedict XVI was broadcast.