Soon Ireland will host the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, just as the Church prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. Drawing upon that great contribution to the teaching of the Church, the theme for the upcoming congress will be, "The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another."
The International Eucharistic Congress was announced today by the Pontifical Committee tasked with organizing the gatherings. It will be held in Dublin, Ireland from June 10-17, 2012.
The first International Eucharistic Congress was held by Pope Leo XIII in Lille, France in 1881. Dublin has previously hosted a congress in 1932 under the theme, "The Eucharist and Ireland."
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin explained that the theme was chosen because the celebration of the congress coincides with the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of Vatican Council II. Archbishop Martin added that, the council was a “moment of renewal for the Church's teaching and for her understanding of herself as Body of Christ and Body of God," according to the announcement from the pontifical committee.
"The theme has its direct inspiration in paragraph 7 of the Constitution 'Lumen gentium' which reads: 'Really partaking of the body of the Lord in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread, we are taken up into communion with Him and with one another. 'Because the bread is one, we though many, are one body, all of us who partake of the one bread'. In this way all of us are made members of His Body, 'but severally members one of another,'" the statement continued.
Archbishop Martin suggested that the theme could be developed along the lines of such topics as: “communion with Christ as a foundation for Christian life; the Eucharist as a way of life for clergy, Christian families and religious communities; the gesture of 'breaking bread' as a principle of Christian solidarity; the Eucharist, seed of life for the world of suffering and fragility; and ecumenism and the sharing of the one bread."
The 49th International Eucharistic Congress was held in Quebec City in June, 2008, corresponding with that city's 400th anniversary of its founding.