A monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament is displayed on the altar during a Holy Hour at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City July 13, 2023. OSV News photo/Gregory A. Shemitz

Last call for Eucharistic Congress

  • May 29, 2024

Registration is soon coming to a close for this year’s International Eucharistic Congress in Quito, Ecuador, an international journey that is promised to be rich in spirituality, discovery and connection. 

This year marks the 53rd International Eucharistic Congress. Traditionally held every four years, the Holy Father is once again inviting pilgrims from around the world to join in the various conferences, discussion groups, prayer times, processions, Eucharistic adoration evenings, cultural events and daily workshops Sept. 8 to 15. 

Neil MacCarthy, director of Public Relations & Communications for the Archdiocese of Toronto, recalls his experience attending 2008’s Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City as one he won’t forget. 

“I still remember it fondly as a great highlight and experience for myself and other people in connecting with other Catholics from around the world on a larger scale,” he said. “Being able to really immerse yourself in prayer, hearing great speakers and to have that moment of slowing down from the chaos and the busyness of everyday life to focus on those prayers and reflections.” 

Halifax-Yarmouth Archbishop Brian Joseph Dunn will be one of this year's national spiritual guides on the pilgrimage to Ecuador alongside Fr. Emanuel Zetino of Montreal. Fr. Chris Cauchi is the Archdiocese of Toronto’s liaison.

Once in Quinto, Dunn, Cauchi and Zetino will aim to guide their respective group of Canadian pilgrims in immersing themselves both in local history and culture, as well as spiritually throughout the journey — one that heavily centres on the Eucharist.

“We always talk as Catholics about the Eucharist being the source and summit of our life. With that, there is a primary focus on the Eucharist and the lectures and readings generally revolve around Eucharistic themes,” MacCarthy said. 

Through the tour agency Spiritours, the Archdiocese of Toronto is hoping to piggyback off of the pilgrimage to allow for participation at the national level with other Canadians. 

Organizers recognize that due to the long distance of this year’s pilgrimage, as well as potential timing complications as a result of its proximity to Labour Day, attendance may be difficult for some. Despite the hurdles, organizers are nonetheless adamant that those able to attend will be treated to a spiritually satisfying expedition complete with opportunities for deep faith connections with other pilgrims. 

“Attending a Eucharistic Congress is a very unique and historic experience and it allows people to be part of the global Church coming together to pray and to share fellowship with one another,” MacCarthy said. “Even if we speak a different language or live in a different part of the world, it is always a good reminder for us as Catholics that we are truly a global and apostolic Church — that is what we are called to be (and) this pilgrimage is a very physical reminder of that.” 

Registration deadline is June 6. See archtoronto.org/siteassets/media/offices--ministries/sub-sites/iec/2024-en-ecuador-toronto-program-form.pdf.

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