The Eucharistic Congress and Pilgrimage was held in Liverpool on 7th, 8th and 9th September.
Our weekend started with an interesting talk by Canon Mervyn Tower from Corpus Christi Oxford.
He told us that to deepen our understanding of adoration and the Holy Eucharist we had to understand the beginnings within the Scriptures. His presentation examined various relevant texts of both the New and Old Testament as well as their Jewish and wider backgrounds.
We then had a presentation by Canon David Oakley Rector of St Mary’s Oscott. He talked about the Eucharist in the life of the Church. This focused on our personal relationship with God through adoration and meaningful engagement in mass and this must be our everyday endeavour not a ritual to take part in. Offering up of sufferings, fasting and prayer are the three most powerful forms of joining ourselves to Jesus in his Eucharistic presence. We can use these means to strengthen ourselves against temptation, to grow in holiness, to find perspective in our lives, to win others to Christ, to achieve what we seek for the communities we live in.
The rest of the day was spent on two presentations about preparing children for the sacrament of First Holy Communion and how to teach children to take part in Eucharistic adoration.
Day two started with The Papal Nuncio bringing a blessing from Pope Francis.
We then listened to Bishop Robert Baron as he gave two keynote speeches.
The first was The Mystery of the Mass the Source and Summit of Christian Life. He walked us through the mass in a way that brought every part to life and made it meaningful.
The second was Sainthood, Sanctity and What Makes us Holy? This made us reflect on how we live our faith and have Christ at our centre. He stressed that Jesus is the living bread of life and not the stale bread.
We also had 15 minute presentations and talks by various groups.
We then had a wonderful celebration of Exposition and Benediction led by Cardinal Vincent Nichols which was an incredibly still moment of time with Christ in the presence of several thousand people.
Day three was the pilgrimage day when 10,000 people took part. We started with solemn mass led by Cardinal Vincent Nichols. Hardy souls then set off in the pouring rain to follow Christ on the streets of Liverpool as part of the Eucharistic procession. This concluded with a beautiful celebration of Benediction on the steps of the Cathedral.
This wonderful weekend has been prayerful and given us a new insight into our faith. We would sincerely like to thank Canon Seamus for asking us to go.
I want to finish with a few ideas that we reflected on over the weekend:
- Are we proud to be the living stones of the Church today?
- Sin is not the final word because God always comes to look for us, even if we turn away, he will come looking.
- The more we develop our parish community to be a place of love the more we provide the welcome for the Eucharist.
- The Eucharist is the food for the pilgrimage of our Christian life