England and Wales is to have its first National Eucharistic Congress in more than a dozen years.
At the bishops’ conference’s spring meeting in Leeds this week the bishops resolved to hold a National Eucharistic Congress for England and Wales in 2018. The last one was held in Birmingham in 2005.
Eucharistic congresses are gatherings of clergy, religious and laity to promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Church, bearing witness to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
At their spring conference the bishops received a report from Bishop Robert Byrne, auxiliary bishop of Birmingham about the 51st International Eucharistic Congress held this January in Cebu in the Philippines.
At the 2005 Eucharistic Congress in Birmingham Archbishop Vincent Nichols, then of Birmingham, celebrated the opening Mass. Speakers included the preacher to the papal household, Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, Jesuit writer Fr John Edwards and Bishop McMahon OP of Nottingham. Archbishop Nichols described the congress as “a highlight of the summer”.
St Pope John Paul II declared 2005 the Year of the Eucharist, and granted a plenary indulgence to Catholics who venerated the Sacrament in that year.