Archbishop Martin has approved a new Eucharistic Congress prayer.
Available in English, Irish, Polish, French, German, Italian and Spanish, the prayer draws its inspiration from the Gospel story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24) and from the words of the prophet Micah, “This and only this is what the Lord God asks of you: to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
The prayer asks that Jesus “gather together those who are scattered,” and the Holy Spirit to “transform us into one body.”
The Irish bishops have invited Catholics to say this new prayer daily.
The Congress hymn Though We Are Many, We Are One Body in Christ has been prepared by the well-known Irish composer Bernard Sexton.
A pastoral programme has been devised by the planning committee and catechetical material is now available on the website and from the committee.
According to the Bishops Conference, the Catholic Church throughout Ireland has already embarked on a journey of spiritual and practical preparation for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress that takes place from June 10 to 17, 2012.
The theme of the Congress is The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another.
“One of the central mysteries of our faith is the Incarnation. The Son of God took on our human nature and lived our human reality, including our experience of suffering and death.
This means that the Eucharist has something to say about every truly human experience,” said the Bishops in a statement after their monthly conference.
Already each diocese in Ireland has appointed a local representative for the Congress and local steering groups are being set up.
In the Diocese of Derry on the Feast of Corpus Christi in June 2010, approximately 500 people took part in the first Derry City Eucharistic Procession for many years.
The procession went from the Long Tower Church to the Cathedral through the Bogside.
The Derry Diocesan Committee has prepared banners to hang in the Cathedral until the Congress.
The Meath Diocesan Congress Committee mailed out resources to 69 parishes and 108 Adoration Centres.
Two follow-up meetings involving the priests and lay representatives of 57 of the parishes as well as one layperson from each Adoration Centre in the diocese, took place in Navan and Mullingar in late spring.
In the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois preparation are underway following an information meeting in Longford with Fr Kevin Doran.
In Cloyne on the May 29 a Day of Renewal and Prayer was held in Mallow for all involved in Eucharistic Adoration in the diocese with approximately 100 people present.
Fr Winkle directed the first half of the day on how the Eucharist draws us into communion with Christ.
Fr Kevin Doran gave an overview of the Eucharistic Congress and spent some time reflecting on the Emmaus story from the Gospel of Luke, with particular reference to Gathering.
Parish Pastoral Councils that want to prepare for the Congress can begin by contacting their local diocesan representative.
It is also suggested they put the Congress on their regular agenda to ensure that Pastoral Preparation happens locally and that they link in with the website and resources available.
A short video reflection based on the prayer, along with other Eucharistic Congress resources, is on www.catholicbishops.ie.
More details are available on www.iec2012.ie.