The online pre-meeting, organised in the spirit of the Eucharist, has ended
This unique meeting was held exactly at the originally scheduled time of the International Eucharistic Congress that should have taken place in Budapest these days, but has been postponed for next year.
Upon Cardinal Péter Erdő’s invitation, the guest speakers, the witnesses have sent video messages.
These short videos have arrived from 11 countries of the five continents and have been uploaded to the YouTube channel of the Congress.
This online pre-meeting was opened by Cardinal, Primate Péter Erdő, on the 13th September. The Chief Pastor underlined the importance of the prayer by which we could reflect together on the huge experience and shock that the pandemic brought into our lives.
The opening day started with Mons. Piero Marini’s message from Rome. The President of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses emphasized that this coronavirus showed us what really matters: the Holy Mass has never stopped during the pandemic, rather, having been inspired by the Eucharist, it has manifested in solidarity. Mons. Marini has called us for an ecological conversion, since, in the hope of a better future, we are all responsible for the Globe as well as for our fellow humans.
On 14th September, Valerian Maduka Okeke, the Archbishop of the Onitsha Diocese, Nigeria, sent his message. In his message the African Archbishop thanked the “good people of Hungary”, the Government of Hungary and the people of God for showing them the Eucharistic love, and supported with donations the African community starving from hunger, while suffering from Christian persecution and the pandemic as well.
On the 15th September, the gratefulness of the persecuted Chaldean Catholic Community was forwarded to the people and the Government of Hungary by the video message of Cardinal Louis Raphaël Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church. The war for many long years in Iraq has caused deep wounds. The leader of the Catholic community emphasized that though the prayer itself could not change the events directly, but it could influence both the heart of the person experiencing those events, and the person’s viewpoint as well. “The one who prays, enjoys the peace and experiences the joy of kindness in his relation with others” – messaged the leader of the Chaldean Catholic community.
On the 16th September, Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York puts into spotlight the importance of the renewal: “We can’t have renewal in the Church unless there is a renewal in our faith.”
On the 17th September, Johannes Hartl, the German theologian-philosopher, having been converted as an adult, underlined the phenomenon that during the lockdown time people turned towards prayer and spirituality. As to the theologian-literary scholar the forms of deep prayer life need to be taught for people, so to sustain both the crises and the times of Eucharistic absences.
Also the same day had been broadcasted the video message of Moyses Azevedo, the founder of the Shalom Catholic Community. He said that the virus had not been sent by God, since: “God is with us, God is present in the midst of the pain and suffering of the mankind.” He also emphasized: “We are not alone. Jesus promised us to be with us every day all along our lives. Lord gives us the mercy and strength to succeed with the power of the cross and resurrection.”
On the 18th September, Ägidius J. Zsifkovics, the diocesan Bishop of Eisenstadt (Austria) spoke about the unusual experiences the Christians went through in the times of the coronavirus pandemic. He put it into an analogue with the deprivation experienced by the sons of Israel during their wilderness wandering. He emphasized that the Church could show the people where to relieve hunger by the heavenly bread and to quench the thirst.
Also this day had been uploaded to the YouTube channel the video message of the theologian, Dr. Mary Healy from Detroit. Through a Scripture passage she drew an analogy between the woman healed by Jesus from the flow of blood and that of the fear and the anxiety many of us have been experiencing recently. She recalled Jesus’ words to the woman: “Daughter, your faith has made you well.”
On the 19th September in his short film it was Cardinal Gérald Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec who shared his thoughts, as to which the pandemic was an invitation to deepen our faith. The Congress is a perfect instrument of this. Upon the experiences of the Canadian World Meeting he summed up: “The Congress helps us to hear Jesus’ call to cross the other side and to meet all those who are not yet aware of the joy of God’s love.”
This same day, Jean-Luc Moens, the moderator of CHARIS spoke about the faith he experienced in the locked-in times, about the outstanding mercy and the discovery of God’s presence within himself. He summarized all this in seven words. “Jesus, I know you are here and I love you.”
On the 20th September, on the last day of the online pre-meeting Konstantin Szabó, Greek Catholic priest from Trans-Carpathia was talking about their life in the forced confinement, how they really experienced having a fear of God and how their faith strengthened. In his message Konstantin Szabó underlined the most important above all that they were able to pass through these challenging hard times with love.
Following the usual Sunday Angelus Pope Frances extended his greetings to Hungary, the Chief Pastors, and the faithful and to all of those who were expecting with faith and with joy the Budapest International Eucharistic Congress. According to the plans Pope Frances should have attended the Closing Mass of the World Meeting, now asked in his homily: “Spiritually united, we are following this journey of preparation, finding in the Eucharist the source of the Church’s life and mission.”
The online pre-meeting, organised in the spirit of the International Eucharistic Congress has been closed by Cardinal, Primate Péter Erdő. The Chief Pastor shared his thoughts on the Heroes’ Square. On a site, where the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the 1938 International Eucharistic Congress were taking place. He was talking from a square where in 1991 half a million worshippers of a country seeking for its path and just liberated from the communist dictatorship were praying together with John Paul II, who stayed in Budapest that time. Amongst the many lessons the pandemic brought us, the Chief Pastor highlighted: “Many online Holy Masses have been broadcasted, but everyone knew that these were far from being equivalent to that of a personal presence. Thus the desire for the Eucharist dominated this year. May God grant that next year this time we may really celebrate together with the believers arriving from all over the world.”