By Cian Molloy - 01 December, 2019
If you wish to attend the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in Hungary in September next year, you can book
your place on the Irish pilgrimage now.
Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin is the Irish bishops’ official delegate to the conference and he is looking for members of the faithful in Ireland to join him at this extraordinary celebration of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
The theme of next year’s congress, IEC2020, is ‘All my springs are in You’, a quotation taken from Psalm 87, which refers to God as the source, or font, of life of all his people.
This is the second time that Hungary has hosted the event: there was an International Eucharistic Congress held in Budapest in 1938. The country became an independent republic in 1849 when it seceded from the Austrian Empire, but its people suffered terribly under Nazi and then Communist totalitarian rule.
“Hungary has very deep Christian roots, dating back 1,000 years to its first King, Saint Stephen,” said Bishop Doran. “But the beautiful city of Budapest was a place of suffering for Jews and Christians alike for much of the 20th century. What better way for us to express our communion with the people of Hungary and, at the same time, to renew our experience of Dublin in 2012? I look forward to meeting with hundreds of Irish pilgrims on the banks of the Danube next September.”
In preparation for the IEC2020, the Irish bishops and the National Apostolate of Eucharistic Adoration are jointly hosting a national Eucharistic Congress, Adoremus 2020, in Knock in June next year.
In Hungary in September, in addition to the daily activities of the Congress – the celebration of Mass and the delivery of catechesis and testimonies by clergy and well known lay Catholics from around the world – pilgrims will also be able to enjoy a variety of cultural events and outdoor activities in Budapest and Hungary. For example, there will also be an opportunity, for those who wish, to visit the cities of Estergom, Hungary’s medieval capital, and Gyor, where the Rivers Danube, Rába and Rábca meet.
Bishop Doran says there are many connections between Ireland and Hungary. One of the most notable involves the 17th century Bishop Walter Lynch of Clonfert who was exiled to Hungary following the Cromwellian wars and plantations. He took a painting with him from Ireland and it now hangs in Gyor Cathedral where it is known as ‘Our Lady of Consolation’ or ‘Our Lady of Gyor’.
The first international Eucharistic Congress was held in 1861 and in recent years it has been Church practice to hold one every four years. Ireland has had the privilege of hosting two IECs, in 1932 and in 2012. The 1932 congress, which coincided with the 1,500th anniversary of St Patrick’s arrival in Ireland, is seen by historians as a landmark event in this country’s emergence as an independent state. IEC2012 in Dublin concluded with an open air Mass in Croke Park and afterwards Archbishop Diarmuid Martin commented that the eight-day long event had ‘awakened in our hearts something which went way beyond our plans and expectations’.
IEC2020 will run from Sunday 13 September to Sunday 20 September and the official Irish pilgrimage will spend nine nights in Hungary. If you would like to view the Congress programme or would consider travelling to Budapest with the official Irish pilgrimage, more details are available at: https://www.joewalshtours.ie/holiday-details/International-Eucharistic-Congress-2020-0001/tour/Eucharistic-Congress-9-nights-2020-09-12-from-Dublin and https://www.iec2020.hu/en.