We're all softies at heart

  • June 21, 2008

It's highly unusual that journalists clap at the end of a news conference, or that you can look around and see their faces shining with joy, or the odd tear in the eye.

But there is something contagious about the joy that seems to build day after day at the Eucharistic Congress. I know it's affecting me, despite the long days, the hard work,

Every day at 1 p.m., there's a news conference in the white tent next to the journalists quarters. Usually Cardinal Marc Ouellet accompanies the day's witness and catechist.

On Saturday, June 21, he brought Cardinal Christian Tumi, Archbishop of Douala, Cameroun and Marguerite Barankitse, founder of Ngo Maison Shalom, a home for children left orphaned by civil war in her native Burundi.

Cardinal Ouellet went first, saying he was stunned by the faith and the enthusiasm he is seeing at the Congress.

It's been a marvellous week, he said.

Today's focus was on holiness, love, justice and reconciliation, and the importance of sharing the gift of God in the Eucharist with the world, especially those who are suffering.

A journalist asked Cardinal Tumi how one could live out the radical faith he described if one was just an ordinary person.

"I think anybody who receives the Body of Christ can be a witness like Jesus," he said. "When we receive the Body of Christ we become Christ in a way. We are divinized."

"Before the Blessed Sacrament, we are all equal," he said, giving examples of how young and old can witness to God's goodness in their daily lives.

"The Eucharist is food that helps us. Nobody is ordinary. We are all important because we are all created in the image and likeness of God," he said.

Well...words cannot possibly convey the power and confidence Cardinal Tumi conveyed.

But Marguerite Barankitse was the one who had some in tears. Her joy, her confidence, her love for God could have lifted a 747 airplane off the ground.

She has become a mother to children left orphaned by civil war, and she stresses that institutions like orphanages rob people of their identity. She helps the children discover their family origins. Though their parents were butchered in a grim civil war, Barankitse focuses on reconciliation and forgiveness, noting that even the assassins are "our brothers."

We are messengers of the new reconciliation, she said. We sent them off with a huge round of applause and cheers.

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

Rain or applause?

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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