Congress aims to restore memories of Christian roots

By  Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News
  • October 27, 2006
Cardinal Marc OuelletCORNWALL, Ont. - The primate of the Catholic Church in Canada has released the foundational theological document for the 2008 Eucharistic Congress, saying its “message brings as a main concern the memory of our Christian roots.”

Speaking to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) annual plenary in Cornwall, Oct. 16  Cardinal Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec, said Canada has lost the memory of those roots and the same thing is happening in Europe and the United States.

The teaching will focus on the Eucharistic Mystery as a living memorial of Christ's passion.

"The main concept of memorial is fundamental from a biblical point of view," Ouellet said.

 The memorial theme also resonates with the  province of  Quebec's motto, "je me souviens"  (I remember), and  Quebec City's motto "God's gift I will treasure," because the 49th Congress will coincide with  Quebec City's 400th anniversary June 15-22, 2008.

The city's founding also marks "an important entry point for missionary activity on the entire continent," according to the document's introduction.

Entitled The Eucharist: God's Gift for the Life of the World, the document's text has been in the works for the past year, Ouellet said, and has gone through three drafts. The Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses has approved it.

Ouellet described the preparations for the 49th international Congress as a "grand adventure," one that will bring grace, identity and a sense of mission to the church through the Eucharist.

"We feel quite a lot of enthusiasm being developed in all the regions of the country," he told the 80 or so bishops from across Canada.

Ouellet said that three challenges became clear after the 2005 Synod on the Eucharist. One was the need to deepen the sense of the sacred surrounding the celebration the Eucharist, to dig deeper into its mystery.

"Some of a tendency of reducing the Eucharist to a social happening," he said.

The second challenge, he said, was to dig deeper into the mystery of the church as the People of God, the Sacrament of Salvation, the Body of Christ and the Spouse of Christ.

The third was to understand better the missional aspect of the eucharistic gift in a global context. John Paul II accepted this when he described the Eucharist as God's gift for the life of the world, he said.

In our contemporary world, there has been a loss of important values. God has been forgotten with serious anthropological consequences, Ouellet said.

Ouellet explained the Congress will run from Sunday to Sunday and the catechesis based on the document will take place Monday through Saturday.

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