The Portlaoise Group gathering for the bus to the ‘Statio Orbis’ in Croke Park last Sunday
Last Sunday’ Mass from Croke Park concluded what is acknowledged as a very successful 50th Eucharistic Congress. Workshops and debates at the RDS, along with the concluding ceremonies and musical performances at Croke Park, provided images of intense commitment and loyalty to a faith that still burns brightly, in spite of recent vicissitudes.
No attempt was made by the organisers to avoid the contrast between the outpouring of popular fervour during the 1932 Eucharistic Congress and last week’s events,reflecting new circumstances and a commitment to renewal. The triumphalism evident during the ‘32 congress, when church and State were closely allied, has evaporated. The task now set for believers is to deepen faith and promote it in an increasingly materialistic world.
In a special message, Pope Benedict lauded past contributions made by Irish monks, martyrs and missionaries and said they had known how to strive for holiness and constancy in their personal lives. Such a great history of faith and love had, however, been damaged by sins committed by priests and consecrated persons against those in their care.
As Breda O’Brien wrote on the Congress ‘Will it solve all the woes of the church, or reverse the tide of indifference? Of course not. But it has been a fantastic, life-giving experience, and the real benefits for thousands of people will be quiet but long-lasting.’
If you would like to view some more photos of the Eucharistic Congress closing ceremony from Croke park click here.