|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.
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
Regnum Christi who was helping out at the Congress.
|Coworkers Marilie de Champlain and Katie Torvinen helped set up for the Eucharistic adoration. Their sign says: “Keep silence, please” in French.|
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
“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.|
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.
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.|
King. And thousands upon thousands followed him on foot with
candles, singing and praying the Rosary,” she said.
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.|
thanks, and everyone stood up to applaud.” It is estimated
that 25,000 people participated in the procession.
12 New Apostles
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.
Fathers Kenneth LeBlanc and Paul Hubert concelebrated in the Mass
along with about 1,500 other priests and many bishops.
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.”|
is starting to bring the Church back again,” said Fr
Regnum Christi member Katie Torvinen said that the ordinations
were also a powerful experience of the unity of Christ’s
“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
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.|
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.
beautiful to see the spirit of family among Movement members
from all different countries,” added Veronica Canales.
Texts from the Major
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,
“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.
That Can Challenge Any Situation": Address given by Cardinal Telesphore
Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, India on Friday, June 20.
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.
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.