Four years of prayer and waiting have yielded to the celebration of the 50th IEC.
June 9: Already the atmosphere is charged with a sense of wonder and anticipation. "The Congress is just what we needed", people say. Graces are evident. The beautiful weather is surely the first miracle of the Congress. Thanks be to GoThe top priority of some Dignitaries from the ends of the earth, is to visit the Irish missionaries who educated and evangelized them, in their youth. It has come full circle. The heroic men who sacrificed all, in the prime of life, and, like St. Columba, set out as "Pilgrims for Christ", now have a taste of the fruit of their labours. Their former pupils have come to comfort and console them in the pain of old age. A foretaste of Heaven.
A lovely group from Cork, came for Holy Mass, celebrated by Fr. O'Reilly. Their stall in the RDS will promote the New Catechism.
People are amazing.
June 10: Day 1 is over. You probably watched the Mass on T. V? Those who attended could only marvel at the wonders the Lord has done. The RDS is suddenly transformed into a Christian village.
June 11: For us, this Congress day began, with a missioning ceremony, for The Magis Ireland, Jesuit Young Adult Ministry Group, who to-day are having an Ecumenical Pilgrimage to each of the Christian Churches in Dublin. Their first day will end here, this evening, D. V. Fascinating Cardinals, Bishops, priests, you name it, are calling to visit us. The universality of the Church is palpable. We even had Brother Martin Brown OSB and Brother Alois, of Taize, briefly. D. G. We were also delighted to meet Father Pat Farragher. In the evening Father Michael Shields, who works in Siberia, an Irish Priest, working in prison ministry in U. S. and a Mexican Bishop, graced us with a wonderful visit. The Bishop told us there are 10 Mexican Bishops and 200 laity from Mexico, attending the Congress. We again heard glowing accounts of the happenings in the RDS. Praise God.
June 12: For us, it was another full day. Bishop Henry Howaniec OFM, Bishop Emeritus of a Diocese in Almaty, Kazakhstan started the influx of visitors. His Eminence, Cardinal Napier, Fr. Dominic Hession, Bro. Pat Lynch and maybe other OFMs, joined him, just for a pop in visit. Lucho brought Father Benjamin Zetzhslev from Chile. Later we met Fr. Peter, Slovakia, Brother Anthony, Glasgow, and Brother Benjamin, India, from the Missionaries of Charity Priests.
In the afternoon, we had Bishops Anthony (who has the gift of healing) and Cornelius from Brunei.
June 13: Bright and early, in good time for our 7. 30 am Mass, our three Carmelite sisters, from Loughrea, arrived in, Srs, Magdalen, Teresa and Diane. We thoroughly enjoyed their presence. A Bishop and two Priests from Puerto Rico came and offered Holy Mass here - H.E. Alvara Conrado Del Rio, S.J. Bishop of Mayaguez, with Fr. Michael Doyle and another Irish Priest. The two Irish Priests were educated in All Hallows College.
Dr. Bill Russell former Vascular Surgeon, now in the D.T.S. (Dead Theologians Society), paid us a visit. Later this year he hopes to become a Carmelite Oblate. We were so pleased to have Carmelites Sisters with us. The DTS is a movement, to reach out and evangelize young adults through reading the lives of the Saints.
The Eucharistic Procession was spectacular. After some rain in the afternoon, it dried up in time for the procession. We could not believe our eyes when we witnessed the number attending. They were at least 2 hours walking past our gate, the full with of the road of participants. The singing, reflections and prayers, all of which we clearly heard, were out of this world. Most moving of all, was to hear of the resounding, spontaneous applause afforded the clergy as they began to return home after Benediction. At this point, the sunset was magnificent , An evening of blessings.
June 14: Our friend, Monsignor Ciaran O'Carroll, new Papal Chaplain, engineered that the Papal Legate, His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet, with two other Prelates, pay us a visit. It was a blessed time, receiving greetings from the Holy Father and even his blessing. He is a most pleasant man, God bless him.
Tony Thomas brought His Eminence Cardinal Rodriguez SDB., from Honduras, to see us. He is most anxious for prayers for his Diocese where there is much violence and killing.
Missionaries of Charity with a Philipino Bishop came in the evening and we had a very lively exchange!
June 15: Just before our Conventual Mass, a Bishop and three priests, from Canada, arrived and con-celebrated with Fr. McGarry CSSp, our chaplain. They maintained they were cheating a little, not going to the Congress to-day, but to Glendalough instead. Fr. explained the name: the valley of the two lakes. It was raining heavily at that point but took up later in the day.
Four Sisters of St. John the Evangelist (Catholic Order, founded 30 years ago) called. One of the group, a French sister, has produced Chapter 6 of John's Gospel, in a somewhat "Book of Kells" style. One verse on each page, in Irish & in English. They have shown it at the Congress and hope to bring it throughout the country, before presenting it to the Diocese of Derry, as a gift to the Church, suffering so much in Ireland, at this time. The community of beautiful young women from various countries, is based in Derry, on the Donegal border.
While they were still with us, our friend, Bishop McDaid, of Clogher Diocese, came and joined the sisters. It was a most interesting visit. A Cardinal from Sri Lanka called, asking prayers for his diocese. Three Cistercians from Austria were also here, their Monastery goes back to the time of St. Bernard, 900 years, one - a newly ordained Priest, another about to make Solemn Profession - his grandmother would be coming from Russia for the occasion, the older Priest was spiritual director to the local Poor Clare Community. Later Catherine Heckman, Associate of the Poor Clares, Arkley, introduced herself. We are so close to all sisters.
June 16: A U. S. Bishop and three priests concelebrated Holy Mass.
June 17: Sr. Teresa OCD, Loughrea was still with us and had arranged for Rev. Dom. Michaela, a very holy Italian priest, from Rome, to call here. He just came to Ireland for the Statio Orbis Mass so we were most fortunate to meet him. He quoted some point His Holiness Bl. John Paul 11, had made when visiting a Contemplative community in Rome. He said cloistered sisters are the sustenance and strength of the Church. The more we pray, the more saints there will be. He gave each sister very special blessing and then presented us with a Rosary,each, blessed very recently by the Holy Father himself. He promises to return and offer Holy Mass here. We look forward to that.
June 18: Tony Thomas, who had been broadcasting for Vatican City, during the Congress, brought Rev. James Mulford L. C., Roman Publisher, to meet us. Many others called before their homeward journey, all feeling thoroughly reinvigorated by the grace of the Congress.
This plaque now serves to remind passers by of the Eucharistic Congress and the graces it brought to our City and country in 2012 and also of the giftedness and services of those with special needs in our society.
The Rosary Garden on our Car Park, was the gift of People With Special Needs to the Congress. It was truly beautiful and greatly admired. It created an atmosphere of prayer and reverence. Our Chapel was full to capacity every day, indeed from the 9th on, with people adoring Our Eucharistic Lord in a most impressive way. The same was true of the Adoration Space in the RDS itself, which catered for 1,000 people. What a volume of heart-felt prayer ascended to the Good God in this unforgettable week.
Even when “the river in Heaven brimmed over”, peoples' spirits continued to soar. Why not, when one and all had assembled to celebrate Our Eucharistic Lord, living among us! Everyone was extremely happy and anxious to help and encourage all they encountered. Even those who did not attend the Congress could not fail to note the tremendous joy of all, heading for, or returning from, the Congress. It was wonderful to nestle here close to the RDS, and feel part of extraordinary celebration of faith, hope and love and witness some of the miracle of the 50th IEC, Dublin. If God can give us so much in this life, what will Heaven be like?
May the blessings bear rich fruit for generations to come.
For this historic week, we also had a loan of the Crucifix presented to St. Bernadette by Blessed Pius 1X. The reverence with which it was venerated was amazing.