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LIVE BLOG FROM IEC 2012—What an opening, ‘like a homecoming’

First blog by Auxiliary Bishop Stephen Robson, Scotland's newly ordained bishop, on the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin: Cardinal Keith O'Brien at the the opening celebrations and Mass and Scottish celebrations today. Don't miss updates through the week exclusively here, online at SCO news

Yesterday, June 10 2012, at a wonderfully colorful ceremony at 1pm in the Royal Dublin Society Buildings—home for the next eight days of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress—the sun shone over Dublin, Centre of Eucharistic Faith and culture. There were parades from all four of the Irish Ecclesiastical Provinces each with its own colour and culture and flavor. There were parades from pilgrims from all the nationalities now settled in Ireland. There were international pilgrims from more than 120 countries, in fact there was a congregation of more than 12,500 pilgrims from all four corners of the world. Music for the opening ceremony was provided by a number of choirs including Ireland’s own Three Tenors.

As a special acknowledgement of the past, a healing stone was unveiled during the opening ceremony. This is a large shaped piece of Wicklow granite, which is engraved with a prayer composed by a survivor of clerical abuse. Fr Kevin Doran, Secretary General of IEC2012, said: “Stone speaks of permanence. To say something is ‘carved in stone’ is to say that it is here to stay rather than just a passing thought. The stone represents the firm determination (of the Irish Church) to work for healing and renewal.

Our own Cardinal Keith O’Brien had arrived earlier in the day yesterday and in his own words the opening of the Congress ‘felt like a homecoming, with bishops and cardinals from all over the world: the Irish people and hierarchy made us feel so welcome and ‘at home,”

The cardinal added: “There were bishops from practically everywhere in the world – including 14 bishops from the Philippines National Conference and many Bishops from African dioceses.”

The opening Mass of the congress began later in the day at 3pm and lasted for two hours in the blazing sunshine.

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI’s Legate, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, celebrated the Mass at with many bishops and priests and with principal concelebrants Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, President of the Congress and Archbishop of Dublin; Archbishop Piero Marini, President of the Pontifical Committee for Eucharistic Congresses.

Delivering his homily, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, said: “How fitting it is that, in God’s providence, this gathering takes place here in Ireland. This is a country known for its natural beauty, its hospitality and its rich culture, but most especially for its long tradition of fidelity to the Catholic faith. Ireland’s strong history of faithfulness has enriched not only these shores, but has, through her missionary sons and daughters, helped to bring the Gospel to many other, far-distant shores.” Then he added: “Now the Church in Ireland is suffering and faces many new and serious challenges to the faith. Well aware of these challenges we turn together to Our Lord, who renews, heals and strengthens the faith of His people. I know from my own experience at the last Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City that an event such as this brings many blessings to the local Church and to all the participants, including those who sustain it through prayer, volunteer work and solidarity. And so we pray with confidence in the Eucharistic Lord that this, the fiftieth occurrence of this great universal Church event, may bring a very special blessing to Ireland at this turbulent time and to all of you.”

Speaking of the theme of the Congress, Communion, Cardinal Ouellet added that at the Congress here “everyone is able to live what is called a ‘spiritual communion’ in the sense of an act of worship, uniting themselves with the self-giving movement that is being celebrated at Mass (The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with One Another.”

This Eucharistic Congress has a special poignancy this year as it co-incides with the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. The overall theme of the Congress is ‘The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one Another.’

This coming Sunday, on 1Jun 17, more than 80,000 people are expected to gather and celebrate Statio Orbis, the final Mass, of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 at Croke Park Stadium in Dublin.

Today will also be special for Scottish Bishops and pilgrims as in the evening Fr Paul Boyle, a priest from Dublin Archdiocese who used to work for the SCO, will collect Cardinal O’Brien and the Scottish Bishops to take them to a Concert for Scottish Pilgrims at the Church of the Miraculous Medal in Dublin. Together with Cardinal O’Brien will be Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow, Bishop Philip Tartaglia of Paisley and Bishop Joseph Toal of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles and myself Bishop Stephen Robson.

Watch this space and we’ll keep you informed as the week progresses!

—Auxiliary Bishop Stephen Robson, the Scottish bishops’ national delegate at IEC 2012, was ordained Auxiliary Bishop for St Andrews and Edinburgh Archdiocese on Saturday June 9 2012 just before leaving for the Congress in Dublin.

Pic: Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet and Italian Archbishop Piero Marini concelebrate the Eucharist during the opening Mass of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin yesterday. Cardinal Ouellet is head of the Conregation for Bishops and Archbishop Marini serves as president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.


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