Mark your calendars! International Eucharistic Congress set for September 2024

Mass and candlelight procession with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest on Sept. 11, 2021. Mass and candlelight procession with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest on Sept. 11, 2021. | Daniel Ibanez/CNA

The Vatican announced that the next International Eucharistic Congress, to be held in Quito, Ecuador, will take place from Sept. 8–15, 2024, with a theme focused on the healing power of Christian fraternity.

“This great ecclesial meeting will show the fruitfulness of the Eucharist for evangelization and the renewal of faith in the Latin American continent,” the Holy See Press Office said in the Wednesday announcement.

The International Eucharistic Congress aims to give witness to the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist and to promote a better understanding of the liturgy and the Eucharist in the life of the Church. The congress is an occasion for regular prayer, eucharistic adoration, large eucharistic processions, and the celebration of Mass with Catholics from around the world. Events include spiritual talks, catechesis, and testimonies from Church leaders and Catholic speakers.

The 2024 congress’ theme is “Fraternity to heal the world. ‘You are all brothers.’”

The theme, drawn from Matthew 23:8, comes from the full phrase, “You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.” Its context is Jesus’ warning to the disciples to avoid taking titles to show that one is superior. Instead, he commands them to humble themselves to serve others.

In March 2021 the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had designated the Archdiocese of Quito as the event’s host. The Eucharistic Congress will take place during the 150th anniversary year of Ecuador’s consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Ecuador was the first country to make this consecration.

Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is in the foothills of the Andes Mountains at a lofty altitude of 9,350 feet. It is the most populous city in Ecuador with more than three million residents in its metro area.

According to 2020 statistics, there are more than 2.7 million Catholics in the Quito Archdiocese, making up 85% of the population.

Ecuador has not previously hosted an International Eucharistic Congress. Bogotá, Colombia, which hosted a Eucharistic Congress in 1968, was the event’s last South American locale.

The upcoming congress could be another opportunity for Pope Francis to visit South America. The pontiff previously visited Quito during his July 2015 apostolic visit to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

In 2021 Pope Francis visited Budapest, Hungary, to celebrate the closing Mass for the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress. That congress had been postponed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The congress is typically held every four years.

The first International Eucharistic Congress took place in France in 1881. It has continued to be held every few years in a different city. Previous congresses have taken place in Jerusalem; Nairobi, Kenya; Melbourne, Australia; Korea; the U.S.; and throughout Europe.

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