Eucharistic congress

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An aerial view of City Park Stadium in New Orleans, filled with worshippers at the National Eucharistic Congress of 1938

In the Catholic Church, a eucharistic congress is a gathering of clergy, religious, and laity to bear witness to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, which is an important Roman Catholic doctrine. Congresses bring together people from a wide area, and typically involve large open-air Masses, Eucharistic adoration (Blessed Sacrament), and other devotional ceremonies held over several days. Congresses may both refer to National (varies by country) and International Eucharistic Congresses.

Paschal Baylon is considered the patron saint of such eucharistic congresses.


The 21st International Eucharistic Congress in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1910

The first International Eucharistic Congress owed its inspiration to Bishop Gaston de Ségur, and was held at Lille, France, on June 21, 1881. The initial inspiration behind the idea came from the laywoman Marie-Marthe-Baptistine Tamisier (1834-1910) who spent a decade lobbying clergy. The sixth congress met in Paris in 1888, and the great memorial Church of the Sacred Heart on Montmartre was the center of the proceedings. Antwerp hosted the next congress in 1890, at which an immense altar of repose was erected in the Place de Meir, and an estimated 150,000 persons gathered around it when Cardinal Goossens, Archbishop of Mechelen, gave the solemn benediction. Bishop Doutreloux of Liège was then president of the Permanent Committee for the Organization of Eucharistic Congresses, the body which has charge of the details of these meetings. Of special importance also was the eighth congress, held in Jerusalem in 1893, as it was the first congress held outside Europe.

In 1907, the congress was held in Metz, Lorraine, and the German government suspended the law of 1870 (which forbade processions) in order that the usual solemn procession of the Blessed Sacrament might be held. Each year the congress had become more and more international in nature, and at the invitation of Archbishop Bourne of Westminster the nineteenth congress was held in London, the first among English-speaking members of the Church. The presidents of the Permanent Committee of the International Eucharistic Congresses, under whose direction all this progress was made, were:

After each congress this committee prepared and published a volume giving a report of all the papers read and the discussions on them in the various sections of the meeting, the sermons preached, the addresses made at the public meetings, and the details of all that transpired.

The International Eucharistic Congresses[edit]

Name Date Location Theme Notes
1st International Eucharistic Congress June 1881 Lille The Eucharist Saves the World
2nd International Eucharistic Congress September 1882 Avignon
3rd International Eucharistic Congress June 1883 Liège
4th International Eucharistic Congress September 1885 Fribourg
5th International Eucharistic Congress June 1887 Toulouse
6th International Eucharistic Congress July 1888 Paris
7th International Eucharistic Congress August 1890 Antwerp
8th International Eucharistic Congress May 1893 Jerusalem First congress held outside Europe.
9th International Eucharistic Congress July 1894 Reims
10th International Eucharistic Congress September 1897 Paray-le-Monial
11th International Eucharistic Congress July 1898 Brussels
12th International Eucharistic Congress August 1899 Lourdes, France
13th International Eucharistic Congress September 1901 Angers
14th International Eucharistic Congress September 1902 Namur
15th International Eucharistic Congress June 1904 Angoulême
16th International Eucharistic Congress June 1905 Rome
17th International Eucharistic Congress August 1906 Tournai
18th International Eucharistic Congress August 1907 Metz
19th International Eucharistic Congress September 1908 London
20th International Eucharistic Congress August 1909 Cologne
21st International Eucharistic Congress September 7–11, 1910 Montreal First Congress held in North America or the Western Hemisphere.
22nd International Eucharistic Congress July 1911 Madrid
23rd International Eucharistic Congress September 12–15, 1912 Vienna
24th International Eucharistic Congress April 23–27, 1913 Malta
25th International Eucharistic Congress July 22–25, 1914 Lourdes The Eucharist and the Social Reign of Jesus Christ Cardinal G. Pignatelli of Belmonte was the papal legate.
26th International Eucharistic Congress May 24–29, 1922 Rome The Peaceful Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist Pope Pius XI officiated the Mass at the St. Peter's Square; first congress after World War I.
27th International Eucharistic Congress June 22–27, 1924 Amsterdam The Eucharist and Holland Cardinal Van Rossum was the papal legate.
28th International Eucharistic Congress June 20–24, 1926 Chicago First congress held in the United States. Cardinal Bonzano was the papal legate; the host was Cardinal George Mundelein, Archbishop of Chicago. A crowd estimated at 500,000 attended Mass at the Soldier Field. Closing mass at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary had almost one million worshipers.
29th International Eucharistic Congress September 6–9, 1928 Sydney It was the first congress in Australia. The procession of the Eucharist, headed by the papal legate Cardinal Cerretti, was witnessed by 500,000.[1]
30th International Eucharistic Congress May 7–11, 1930 Carthage, Tunisia The Eucharist is Africa's testimony First congress held in Africa.
31st International Eucharistic Congress June 22–26, 1932 Dublin, Ireland The Propagation of the Sainted Eucharist by Irish Missionaries The year 1932 was the 1500th anniversary of Saint Patrick's arrival in Ireland. The Catholic population of Ireland in 1932 was 3,171,697 Catholics.[2]
32nd International Eucharistic Congress October 10–14, 1934 Buenos Aires, Argentina The first congress in South America, Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (later named Pope Pius XII) served as papal legate.[3] Over one million people gathered in and around Palmero Park to hear a greeting and benediction from the pope, broadcast from Vatican City radio. A Pontifical High Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Pacelli, who pronounced the Apostolic blessing on participants.[4]
33rd International Eucharistic Congress February 3–7, 1937 Manila, Philippines The first congress in Asia and the first congress held in the Philippines, it was held during the pontificate of Pope Pius XI, and was attended by approximately 1.5 million people from around the world. Pontifical Masses were held in Rizal Park, with hundreds of thousands of people attending each one.[5]
34th International Eucharistic Congress May 25–30, 1938 Budapest Eucharist, the Bond of Love Cardinal Pacelli—later was named Pope Pius XII—served as papal legate to the congress, as he had 4 years earlier.[6] Over 100,000 people from all over the world attended the congress, including 15 cardinals and 330 bishops.[7]
35th International Eucharistic Congress May 27-June 1, 1952 Barcelona Peace The first Eucharistic congress since the end of World War II. It was attended by hundreds of Catholic bishops and other church officials, including Cardinal Francis Spellman of New York, and Cardinal Samuel Stritch of Chicago. However, because of the Cold War, attendance by Catholics from eastern European countries under communist control was limited.[8]
36th International Eucharistic Congress July 17–24, 1955 Rio de Janeiro Christ the Redeemer and His Eucharistic Kingdom[9]
37th International Eucharistic Congress July 31-August 7, 1960 Munich, West Germany The site was chosen by Pope Pius XII who had previously served there as a papal nuncio. Attended by approximately 430 bishops and 28 cardinals, including Cardinal Francis Spellman of New York, Cardinal Richard Cushing of Boston, and Cardinal Albert Gregory Meyer of Chicago, the congress laid a foundation stone for a "church of atonement" to be built near the Dachau concentration camp. At the close of the congress, a Statio Orbis Mass was celebrated on the Theresienwiese, a large square in Munich.[10][11]
38th International Eucharistic Congress November 12–15, 1964 Bombay, India For the first time, the congress took place in a country that did not have a significant Catholic population. Its objective was disseminating the continuing Catholic belief that the "real presence of Christ was in the Eucharist." Attending the congress were Pope Paul VI, a large number of cardinals, and an estimated 20,000 foreign visitors.[12]
39th International Eucharistic Congress August 18–25, 1968 Bogotá The Eucharist and the Bond of Love Attending the congress were Pope Paul VI, Archbishop Coleman Carroll of Miami, and Archbishop John Francis Dearden of Detroit.[13]
40th International Eucharistic Congress February 18–25, 1973 Melbourne Love one another as I have loved you[14]
41st International Eucharistic Congress August 1–8, 1976 Philadelphia Jesus, the bread of life The congress coincided with the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the United States from Great Britain. The Mass held at Municipal Stadium was attended by U.S. president Gerald R. Ford.
42nd International Eucharistic Congress July 16–23, 1981 Lourdes Hungers of the Human Family This was the third time the congress was held at Lourdes.[15]
43rd International Eucharistic Congress August 11–18, 1985 Nairobi The Eucharist and the Christian Family Attended by Pope John Paul II.[16]
44th International Eucharistic Congress October 4–8, 1989 Seoul Christ is our Peace As he did four years prior, Pope John Paul II attended the congress, holding the Solemn Mass entirely in Korean on the final day. The two principal objectives were: promoting a deeper understanding of the Eucharist; and living the eucharistic faith in the reality of our world. Attendance was reported to be around 1 million.[17]
45th International Eucharistic Congress June 7–13, 1993 Seville, Spain The first post-Cold War congress, Pope John Paul II addressed the congress and declared, "I hope the fruit of this congress results in the establishment of perpetual Eucharistic adoration in all parishes and Christian communities throughout the world."[18]
46th International Eucharistic Congress May 25-June 1, 1997 Wrocław, Poland Freedom as Reflected in the Eucharist Attended by Pope John Paul II.[19] The congress addressed the distinction between "freedom" and "liberty."[20][21]
47th International Eucharistic Congress June 18–25, 2000 Rome The third to be celebrated in Rome, the congress was the first of its kind to be celebrated in a Jubilee Year.[citation needed]
48th International Eucharistic Congress October 10–17, 2004 Guadalajara, Mexico Pope John Paul II, being too ill to attend, named Cardinal Josef Tomko as Papal Legate. The Congress ended with a celebration of the Mass in the Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara, with a live link up to a simultaneous Mass celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, celebrated in the presence of Pope John Paul II. These simultaneous Masses marked the beginning of the Year of the Eucharist which ran from the International Eucharistic Congress to the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2005.[citation needed]
49th International Eucharistic Congress June 15–22, 2008 Quebec City The Eucharist, Gift of God for the Life of the World[22] This congress coincided with the 400th anniversary of the city's founding.[22] The closing celebration took place on the Plains of Abraham, attended by tens of thousands of pilgrims.[23] Pope Benedict XVI's message was broadcast live, in both French and English, from the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, via giant screens set up on the meadow.[23] The Pope announced the next Congress was to take place in Dublin, Ireland, in 2012.
50th International Eucharistic Congress June 10–17, 2012 Dublin The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another (drawn from Lumen gentium) The congress coincided with the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of the Second Vatican Council.[24] In addition to the daily celebration of the Eucharist, there were over thirty workshops and presentations daily on various themes associated with the Eucharist. For many years, the Church has failed to respond appropriately to child abuse by clergy. The blessing of a Healing Stone by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, as well as a personal meeting between the Papal Legate, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, and survivors of clergy sexual abuse, were among the ways in which the issue was addressed.[25] The Pope delivered a pre-recorded address to the closing ceremony on June 17.


51st International Eucharistic Congress January 24–31, 2016 Cebu City, Philippines Christ in You, Our Hope of Glory (From the Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians) The second time in the Philippines, including Manila in 1937. Pope Francis appointed the first Cardinal of Myanmar Cardinal Charles Maung Bo as the Papal Legate.[28]
52nd International Eucharistic Congress September 5–12, 2021[29][30] Budapest, Hungary This is the second time Hungary will be hosting after 1938.[31]
53rd International Eucharistic Congress 2024 Quito, Ecuador This will be in the Andean country that for first time will be the host of the event, that also coincides in the anniversary 150° of the Consagration of Ecuador to the Sacred Heart of Jesus made for the former president Gabriel Garcia Moreno and supported by the then Holy Pope Pius IX in 1874.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "International Eucharistic Congress 1928". Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  2. ^ "In Dublin". Time Magazine. 1932-06-20. Retrieved 2008-06-22.
  3. ^ "Site locations changed". Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  4. ^ "16 Oct 1934 - EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS. BUENOS AIRES, Oct. 14". 1934-10-16. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  5. ^ "Cebu City Hosting the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in 2016". Manila Bulletin. 28 June 2012.
  6. ^ "Site locations changed". Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  7. ^ "46th IEC - The History of Eucharistic Congresses". Archived from the original on 2016-01-26. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  8. ^ "Palm Beach Daily News - Google News Archive Search". Archived from the original on 2013-01-24.
  9. ^ "The Manitoba Ensign - Google News Archive Search". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05.
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ "The Milwaukee Journal - Google News Archive Search". Archived from the original on 2013-01-24.
  12. ^ "Roman Catholics: Bombay's Spiritual Spectacular". TIME. 1964-12-04. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  13. ^ "Pope Paul's Visit to Bogota Focuses on Poverty Problems" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-02-14. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  14. ^ "Radiomessage for the conclusion of the 40th International Eucharistic Congress, 25 February 1973 | Paul VI". 1973-02-25. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  15. ^ Archived from the original on April 19, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2012. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ ""Statio Orbis" mass for the conclusion of the 43rd International Eucharistic Congress in Nairobi - Kenya (August 18, 1985)". 1985-08-18. Archived from the original on January 31, 2016. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  17. ^ Bishop Michael Smith (May 1989). "International Eucharistic Congress, Seoul, South Korea". The Furrow. 40 (5): 301–304. JSTOR 27661523.
  18. ^ Archived from the original on August 24, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2012. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ 46th International Eucharistic Congress
  20. ^ "Watchman, what of the night? : 46th International Eucharistic Congress" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  21. ^ "46. International Eucharistic Congress - English Home Page". 1997-09-10. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  22. ^ a b Archived from the original on July 5, 2008. Retrieved June 22, 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^ a b "Pope: "Due Honour to Eucharistic Rite"- Dublin to Host Congress 2012". Vatican Radio. 2008-06-22. Archived from the original on 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2008-06-22.
  24. ^ "Lumen gentium". Archived from the original on 2014-09-06. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  25. ^ "IEC 2012 Videos | IEC 2012". Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  26. ^ "Full text: Pope's address to Congress". Irish Times. 17 June 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  27. ^ "Final day of Eucharistic Congress gets underway". RTE News. 17 June 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2012.[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ "51st IEC 'successful'". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 2016-02-01. Retrieved 2016-02-01.
  29. ^ – official website
  30. ^ [2]
  31. ^ "Hungary to host next IEC | CBCPNews | IEC 2016". Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  32. ^ "53rd International Eucharistic Congress to take place in Ecuador". Vatican News. March 20, 2021. Retrieved March 23, 2021.


External links[edit]

Official websites[edit]

Historic websites[edit]