A massive Catholic event is scheduled to take place in Quebec City in June 2008. Canada's first Eucharistic Congress since 1910 is expected to draw over 100,000 people and their numbers could include Pope Benedict XVI, reports the CanWest News Service. Local Catholics hopes it will revivify Christian life in the area.
"This will certainly be the culmination of our efforts to re-evangelize Quebec," said Cardinal Marc Oullet, the archbishop of Quebec. "We have been preparing for this for years. There is a need in Quebec to reconnect with our Christian roots and to revive the Catholic identity," he continued.
The International Eucharistic Congress will include 15,000 delegates and 50 cardinals from 60 countries will meet to foster devotion to the Eucharist. Pope Benedict XVI might visit to preside over the congress' outdoor Mass on the historic Plains of Abraham, the site of a 1759 battle that led to the British takeover of French Canada.
The congress also coincides with Quebec City's 400th anniversary.
Quebec was the center of a strong Catholic population until the 1960s, when the so-called Quiet Revolution began a rapid secularization of the region. The fallout from this secularization has caused many people to become hostile to the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Oullet expressed hope that the Eucharistic Congress would dispel some of that animosity. "There is a lot of criticism in the society now against the Catholic Church, and we need to be reminded of those positive values," the cardinal said.
Cardinal Oullet has invited Pope Benedict to the conference, but the Pope has not confirmed his attendance. The cardinal hopes to get a final answer at the end of November when he visits Rome.