.- More than 600 young people attended a three-day youth summit in Quebec City in preparation for the 49th International Eucharistic Congress in 2008. The turnout was almost double the number that organizers had expected.
The event, May 19-22, was the second in a series of three annual youth meetings leading up to the congress. Young people came from as far away as British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick, Maine and New York. About 450 young people came from the province of Quebec.
Highlights of the bilingual event included a catechesis with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, cardinal-archbishop of the Archdiocese of Quebec, and the ordination of a Dominican priest.
Adoration was also an important component of the weekend. The young people gathered several times for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. They also meditated on the lives of two local blesseds — François de Laval and Marie de l’Incarnation — known as the two founders of the Church in the Diocese of Quebec.
The participants were also the first to see the Ark of the New Covenant in a Canadian public forum. The ark was blessed by Pope Benedict XVI May 11 during the Quebec bishops’ ad limina visit. The wooden chest weighs about 40 kilograms and is decorated with Eucharistic images.
The ark will tour Canada, stopping in all of the Catholic dioceses, to rally people in prayer in preparation for the congress. The ark’s tour was inspired by a similar national tour that was undertaken with the World Youth Day Cross leading up to WYD 2002 in Toronto.
One of the ark’s first stops will be in Montreal for the feast of Corpus Christi June 15.