Eucharistic Congresses are gatherings of clergy, religious and laity which promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Church. The last International Eucharistic Congress in England was held in 1908 when permission for a public procession of the Blessed Sacrament was refused.
Participants will engage in a series of sessions focusing on different dimensions of the Eucharist and the daily celebration and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
On the first day of the Congress, there will be a Theological Symposium, with workshops for parish catechists, (especially for those involved in First Holy Communion programs), RE teachers, Hospital and Prison Chaplains, Seminary Communities and Extraordinary Ministers.
The sessions will focus on: Scripture, Ecclesiology, Eucharistic Language and Catechesis, and Rites and Music for Eucharistic Adoration
The Echo Arena in Liverpool – which can accommodate 10,000 pilgrims – will be the home to a six-hour stage programme on the second day of the Congress, which will include a Congress Mass, keynote speakers and a drama highlighting the beauty of reverence and devotion. The day will conclude with Adoration.
On the final day of the Pilgrimage and Congress, Sunday, there will be pilgrimage Masses and a street procession – open to all.
In his Pastoral Letter to the Diocese of Westminster for the solemnity of Corpus Christi, Cardinal Nichols wrote: “We seek to rejuvenate Eucharistic adoration in our parishes as the source of strength for our lives and for our mission, that of making present the love and compassion of Jesus in our society.”
Every diocese in England and Wales will take part in the Congress and the Cardinal encourages people to make the pilgrimage to the Eucharistic Congress. Each Diocesan Bishop has nominated a representative whose task is to disseminate information to parishes, groups, religious communities about the Pilgrimage and Congress.
Ahead of the Eucharistic Congress in Genoa in 2016, Pope Francis encouraged everyone to visit the Blessed Sacrament, if possible, every day. He said “Moreover, I want to encourage everyone to visit – if possible, every day – especially amid life’s difficulties, the Blessed Sacrament of the infinite love of Christ and His mercy, preserved in our churches, and often abandoned, to speak filially with Him, to listen to Him in silence, and to peacefully entrust yourself to Him.”
The Eucharistic Congress has been given the title “Adoremus” (Let us adore). This pilgrimage will bring people together from across the dioceses and further the service of the poor and marginalised in our midst. It will also aim to provide practical resources to develop the mission of the Church in prayer, contemplation and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.