• June 18, 2008

On the far end of the Pepsi Coliseum here in Quebec City, a white tent houses the media room for the International Eucharistic Congress. We have internet hook ups, a bank of computers for common use, tables with fresh flowers and a big screen TV to watch proceedings inside the Coliseum.

On Tuesday, June 17,, at the end of Fr. Nicolas Buttet's testimony about the transformational power of knowing the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the media tent seemed full of thunderous applause.

It took us a moment to figure out what was going on. Not only was there applause inside the coliseum that we heard via the big screen, but applause was pelting the tent in a downpour that made the little plastic raincoats thoughtfully provided in our backpacks suddenly most handy.

The rain was soon accompanied by cracks of thunder and lightning. The rain subsided and the sun came out later in the afternoon.

Fr. Nicolas joined Cardinal Marc Ouellet, president of the Congress and archbishop of Quebec City, and Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon and primate of France, at the news conference later that morning. Cardinal Barbarin had done a beautiful catechesis on the Eucharist and the Paschal mystery. Buttet had witnessed to the transforming power of the Eucharist in his life, one that had led him from being one of the youngest Swiss MPs to founding a religious community called the Eucharistein Fraternity.

What a joyful, loving presence Fr. Nicolas emanates. I got a chance to meet him and speak with him briefly after the news conference ended. He told a story about a young woman who had been so emotionally damaged that she became violent. When he tried to talk with her, she almost punched him. He said he removed his glasses so he would only receive a "blue eye" and not have his eyeball pierced with broken glass. But her fist stopped short of his face.

He told her that it was better that she take her anger to Jesus, present in the Eucharist, than to take it out on her brothers and sisters. Jesus can handle it.

The woman did eventually have an experience of Christ's presence in an Adoration chapel. She had prayed and prayed for a revelation that Jesus is real, and just as she was standing up to leave, He did reveal Himself to her. She wept and wept as Christ's love poured over her.

Later, Fr. Nicolas said one of the members of his community reported to him that the floor in the chapel was strangely wet. He explained it was the woman's tears.


For more coverage by the Catholic Register on the 49th International Eucharistic Congress see:

You’ll know they are pilgrims by their backpacks

Your TV eye on the Eucharistic Congress

This just in from head office

There's plenty of elbow room

Why is it always a United Church?

Where are young priests? Right here

Something old, something new

Those clerics are everywhere

The Eucharist is also service

More on the numbers front

Spending a little quiet time with Jesus

New priests bring new life to church

We're all softies at heart


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