|A section of the Eucharistic Procession on the Wednesday evening of the Eucharistic Congress|
(Photo: Archdiocese of Dublin)
I (Fr Hugh) attended the International Eucharistic Congress at the RDS in Dublin yesterday. The theme for the day was 'Priesthood and Ministry in the Service of Communion'. There was an atmosphere of true communion, joy and friendship throughout the RDS campus. I met familiar people from all over Ireland and there was a good Galway presence on the day too. The morning talks were full to overflowing.
Mass for the Feast of St Anthony of Padua was celebrated by Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa in Honduras. He spoke of St Anthony's love for the Eucharist and told the famous story of Anthony and the mule. Light showers did not dampen devotion at the Mass. The rain ponchos provided in the pilgrim pack protected those who chose to seat themselves in the ground area of the arena while those who chose to sit in the seats in the stands were well sheltered.
The skies cleared beautifully on time for the evening Eucharistic Procession, which turned out to be a special and memorable occasion. The Garda figures put the size of the crowd processing at 12,500. The planned route was to have been 2.5km long, but because of the length of the procession, this had to be extended.
If you can be free on Friday or Saturday, I would recommend a trip to Dublin to experience the Eucharistic Congress. Tickets can be purchased at the RDS if you are travelling independently, but you can also book ticket and bus journey together for a day by telephoning the Galway Diocesan Pastoral Centre at 091-565066.