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A Feast of the Eucharist in Quebec
CANADA | APOSTOLATE | NEWS
Regnum Christi members in Quebec report on their experience of the recent Eucharistic Congress.

A view of Quebec City, the oldest diocese in North America.
A view of Quebec City, the oldest diocese in North America.

July 4, 2008. During the 49th International Eucharistic Congress this past June 15th – 22nd in Quebec City, Regnum Christi members experienced the unity of the Church gathered around its living center, the Eucharist.

Living Witnesses

Over 12,000 pilgrims descended on Quebec City, filling its streets with the fire of new faith.

The occasion arrived on the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the city and the diocese, which is the oldest in North America.

During the days of the Congress, it was impossible to escape the visible reminders of God’s presence. The city saw over 1,500 priests in their Roman collars, 200 deacons, 285 bishops, 42 cardinals, 1,800 religious, and thousands of pilgrims, mostly from Canada but also from over 70 other countries.

Oases of Adoration

The theme of the Congress was “The Eucharist: Gift of God for the Life of the World.” The city was decked out for the occasion, with huge banners and posters on the Eucharist on every street.

“Everywhere you go, you can feel the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist who gives himself totally for us. It’s as if the entire city revolves around the Eucharist, around Jesus,” reported Veronica Calles, a consecrated woman in
Coworkers Marilie de Champlain and Katie Torvinen helped set up for the Eucharistic adoration. Their sign says: “Keep silence, please” in French.
Coworkers Marilie de Champlain and Katie Torvinen helped set up for the Eucharistic adoration. Their sign says: “Keep silence, please” in French.
Regnum Christi who was helping out at the Congress.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was set up in 8 chapels in and around Quebec City. At the Congress location itself, there was a large adoration chapel that was constantly full of people.

“The people are praying and you can sense it. It makes a strong impression,” said Veronica.

Representatives of the new ecclesial movements took turns directing an hour of adoration in the chapel. Regnum Christi’s turn came on Tuesday, June 17 in the evening from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.  Patrizia Ravelli, an Italian consecrated woman, offered spiritual reflections in English and French on the topic of charity while a Legionary priest heard confessions in the back of the chapel.

The King in the Streets

On Thursday, June 19, Quebec City witnessed another powerful Real Presence moment with a three-hour Eucharistic procession through the streets.

The Host, set in a large
Each movement led an hour of prayer in the main adoration chapel during the Congress.
Each movement led an hour of prayer in the main adoration chapel during the Congress.
monstrance, was driven on a platform pulled by a truck. The Blessed Sacrament was accompanied by Cardinal Jozef Tomko, Pope Benedict XVI´s representative to the Congress, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the archbishop of Quebec, and Cardinal Theodore-Adrien Sarr of Dakar, Senegal. For much of the procession, the three cardinals knelt on kneelers on the platform, praying their way through the city.

The procession started at Pepsi Coliseum accompanied by a fourth-degree Knights of Columbus honor guard, followed by the Ark of the New Covenant, a large wooden box carved in the shape of the ark and covered with icons. This ark had spent the last two years crisscrossing Canada to promote the congress and build awareness of the upcoming event.

Following the ark were 15-foot figures of various saints and blesseds from the history of the Church in Quebec, including St. Jean de Brebeuf, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Margaret Bourgeoys, Blessed Marie de l´Incarnation, and Blessed Francois de Laval.

“The procession through the streets was powerful for me because we got to walk right beside the huge monstrance,” said Regnum Christi member and coworker Katie Torvinen. “The people in the cars had to just sit there as we passed, and they would roll down their windows and stare.  I just prayed that hearts were changed as I did my best to stay close to Jesus,” she said.

Veronica Canales added, “It was like Jesus was being given back his rightful place in this city, walking through the streets like a
The newly ordained priests processing into Mass the day after their ordination.
The newly ordained priests processing into Mass the day after their ordination.
King. And thousands upon thousands followed him on foot with candles, singing and praying the Rosary,” she said.

The mile-long procession of pilgrims, priests, religious, and youth was something Quebec City had not seen for a long time.

At around 10:00 at night, they arrived to the Agora in Quebec’s Old Port, where they prayed the litanies and sang some songs. Then, Cardinal Tomko gave the benediction.

“Everyone was in silence,” said Veronica. “It was impressive. At the end, Cardinal Ouellet gave
Three cardinals accompanied the Blessed Sacrament on the platform during the Eucharistic procession.
Three cardinals accompanied the Blessed Sacrament on the platform during the Eucharistic procession.
thanks, and everyone stood up to applaud.” It is estimated that 25,000 people participated in the procession.

12 New Apostles

On Friday, June 20, twelve young men, including eight from the new community Famille Marie Jeunesse, were ordained in Quebec´s hockey arena. The atmosphere during the ordinations was one of deep reverence; afterwards, the audience greeted the new priests with a standing ovation of applause, cheers, and tears of joy.

Legionary Fathers Kenneth LeBlanc and Paul Hubert concelebrated in the Mass along with about 1,500 other priests and many bishops.

 “It was very exciting to see young men from Quebec being ordained. You could see the excitement of the people there; it gave them a lot of hope,” said Fr Kenneth.

“The homily gave a much-needed message about the identity of the priest: the priest’s true identity is to be an alter Christus, another Christ,” he observed.

“It seemed like a renewal of the Church, a new beginning, like the pendulum is swinging back again. That’s what came to me the whole time I was there. It seems like the Holy Spirit
Consecrated woman Patrizia Revelli and coworkers Marilie de Champlain and Katie Torvinen helped welcome the youth at the “Espace Jeunesse.”
Consecrated woman Patrizia Revelli and coworkers Marilie de Champlain and Katie Torvinen helped welcome the youth at the “Espace Jeunesse.”
is starting to bring the Church back again,” said Fr Kenneth.

Regnum Christi member Katie Torvinen said that the ordinations were also a powerful experience of the unity of Christ’s one Body.

“At the ordinations on Friday night, men from different dioceses, orders, and movements received Holy Orders all together through the Holy Father’s envoy and in front of witnesses from all around the world. Twelve new priests for the Church – what a miracle!” she said, adding, “And we even saw one in the parking lot afterwards and received his blessing.”

Youth Zone and Apostolates Display

The Congress also featured an “Espace Jeunesse,” which was a vocation.com coffeehouse similar to those found at a World Youth Day. There, the youth could sip a coffee, chat, listen to music bands, or ask cardinals questions about their vocation story.

As in any Eucharistic Congress, there was a large area for display booths representing different apostolates, congregations, movements, and associations. Familia Canada had a display stand that became a point of reference for Regnum Christi members at the Congress.

“We had many Regnum Christi members from across Canada stop by our booth,” said
Working hard at the Familia booth: Micheline Benard, Debbie and Luke Bailey, Rose Trehas and Louise Mathieu.
Working hard at the Familia booth: Micheline Benard, Debbie and Luke Bailey, Rose Trehas and Louise Mathieu.
Debbie Bailey, a National Director of the Familia program in Canada. “Everyone that stopped by felt the need to express that they were also Regnum Christi members and develop a connection with us. We were like a home base for many of these members and they would come visit us through the course of the week!”

The Familia apostolate also attracted interest in itself. “Many people stopped to tell us what great work we were doing. They were just very happy to see that we were working hard to help build and re-build the family,” she said.

Regnum Christi members took turns manning the booth, which also displayed materials on the Movements other apostolates and on the Legion of Christ.

“It was beautiful to see the spirit of family among Movement members from all different countries,” added Veronica Canales.

Texts from the Major Speeches

After the Congress, Zenit published some of the main homilies and addresses given during the week-long events. A selection of these is presented below:

The Eucharist Is Not a Meal Among Friends": Pope Benedict XVI’s homily given via satellite on Sunday at the closing Mass of the Congress on Sunday, June 22.

A Mystery to Be Lived: Homily of Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, given on Saturday, June 21.

"A Power That Can Challenge Any Situation": Address given by Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, India on Friday, June 20.

"His Embrace of the Trials of Human Beings Has Made Him a Brother": Address by Bishop Louis Tagle of Imus, Philippines on Thursday, June 19.

"His Life Was Rooted in Union With God Through the Eucharist": Address given by Elizabeth Nguyen Thi Thu Hong, the youngest sister of the late Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuân, on Thursday, June 19.

"From Our Diversity We Come Together in a Sacred Unity" Homily given by Archbishop Lawrence Huculak of Winnipeg for Ukrainian Catholics, given on Wednesday, June 18.

The Eucharist in the Midst of the Church Is the Great Sign of Her Vitality"  Address given by Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, on Monday, June 16.

The Institution of the Holy Eucharist, Gift of God" Address given by Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., on Monday, June 16.

 

 


PUBLICATION DATE: 2008-07-03


 
 

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