BY Daniel Harkins | September 14 2018 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


‘In Jesus there is hope for a broken world’

By putting Jesus and the Eucharist at the centre of our lives we can renew the Church and bring hope to a broken world—that was the message to UK Catholics this week.

In Edinburgh, hundreds of lay Catholics and clergy packed into Usher Hall to hear American Bishop Robert Barron preach on the need to return our secular society to Christ, while in Liverpool tens of thousands of Catholics took to the streets where they were told that the Eucharist can heal the Church.

On September 6, Bishop Barron, who is renowned for his YouTube videos and online evangelisation, told Catholics ‘if we have not evangelised successfully it is because we have forgotten Jesus.’

“Now is the moment for us,” he said. “This is our time, we who believe in Jesus.”

Three days later, in what was the largest Catholic procession in the UK since St Pope John Paul’s visit in 1982, the faithful braved the rains in Liverpool to highlight the incredible power of the Sacraments.

Pilgrims from across the UK, including Bishop Stephen Robson of Dunkeld Diocese, travelled to Liverpool for the first National Eucharistic Congress in the country since 1908.



The event took place from September 7-9, and included Adoration at the ACC Echo Arena.

Speaking at the event, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, said the gathered crowd came before Jesus ‘knowing our failings, sensing the anger in many hearts, knowing the face of evil.’

Speaking as the Church struggles with the issue of abuse, he said he felt with ‘great keenness, and sadness’ the ‘failings of my fellow bishops.’

“Recreate your Church, the visible Body of your Son,” he asked God, “so that we may bring joy not grief, trust not betrayal, love not anger in the hearts of all people, especially your poor and little ones.”



At every celebration of Mass, the Church is made new again, he said, adding: “Yes, the Eucharist makes the Church afresh, each day! And as we stand so much in need of renewal, here, in this Sacrament, we come to its source.”

The UK’s only cardinal said that in the Eucharist lies the source of our mission.

“From this Adoration we run forth, wanting, longing to share with others this great secret outpouring of life and goodness which has been disclosed to us,” he said.

“There is no true mission in the Church that does not start here, in prayer, before the Lord.”

There were incredible scenes the following day, as thousands of Catholics walked through the streets, carrying what the cardinal said was the ‘visible, Sacramental reality of the life-giving death of Jesus into our world.’

“There is not one iota of triumphalism or pride in our steps,” Cardinal Nichols said. “In many ways ours is a penitential procession for we are focused on Jesus whom we have Crucified.

“Yet we walk with a humble joy for He takes our failure, cruelty and deceit and overcomes it all with His love and mercy. He is our salvation and it is our humble joy to let His face be seen, His face of tender compassion and hope for our broken world.”

Peter Murphy, a 27-year-old seminarian from Liverpool, told the SCO of the incredible sight facing him when, turning on the steps of the cathedral, he looked back at a crowd 10,000 strong.

“It was very special to think that one day, please God, I could be walking out of the cathedral as a priest and see so many people outside for an act of public witness,” he said.

Mr Murphy added: “It was inspiring. Only 3,000 fitted in the cathedral for Mass, so 7,000 had come from elsewhere. It showed that there is still a Catholic heart in the city of Liverpool and a cultural ­understanding that God is important and that it’s important to see that the Eucharist is central to life.”

Mr Murphy, who is in his fifth year at St John’s Seminary in Wonersh, Surrey, said that as a young Catholic, he has went through phases where he has felt alone, but the procession illustrated that ‘there is still a longing for that relationship with God’ in the world.

“I was standing outside the train station on Friday night, waiting to meet some ­parishioners, and seeing the number of priests walking around—even this for me, to see the Church visibly present, made me realise how important the Church is to the life of the city.”

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