49th International Eucharistic Congress open in Quebec


Quebec, Jun. 17, 2008 - Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC, and Jean Vanier, the founder of L'Arche community, were featured speakers on June 16, the first full day of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City.

At opening ceremonies on June 15, Cardinal Josef Tomko, acting as the personal representative of Pope Benedict XVI, declared the Eucharistic Congress open. During his homily at the opening Mass, Cardinal Tomko presented the host, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, with a gold crosier as a gift from the Holy Father, assuring participants that the Pontiff was "wholeheartedly" joining with them in prayer.

Well over 10,000 people have registered to take part in the Eucharistic Congress, which will include daily Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, catechetical talks, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in eight chapels designated for that purpose in and around Quebec City. Pilgrims have come from more than 70 countries to join in the event-- which has been scheduled in Quebec to mark the 400th anniversary of the city's foundation.

Among the prelates celebrating Mass and delivering addresses to the Eucharistic Congress will be Cardinals Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France; Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland. Pope Benedict XVI will speak by an audio link to the closing ceremonies set for June 22 on the historic Plains of Abraham outside Quebec.