Toronto gears up for congress

By  Sara Loftson, The Catholic Register
  • December 7, 2006

TORONTO - While the 49th International Eucharistic Congress isn't until June of 2008, planning is well underway. The archdiocese of Toronto plans to send 500 people on a pilgrimage to Quebec City where an expected 15,000 Catholics will gather to gain a deeper appreciation of the Eucharist.

"The Eucharistic Congress is intended to be a universal gathering as we don't belong to the church as individuals, but as communities," said Fr. Michael McGourty, acting dean of studies at St. Augustine's Seminary and Toronto's archdiocesan congress co-ordinator for the pilgrimage.

"The main message (of the pilgrimage) will be how can we live this out in our own communities and faith lives."

At present spaces are limited to two parishioners chosen by their parish pastor. Two members from each lay ecclesial movement in the archdiocese are also invited. But if the parishes don't respond by March 1, 2007, then the invitation will open up.

McGourty hopes to attract a cross section of people from the archdiocese to the pilgrimage.

"If 10 parishes send 50 people each it won't have the same effect as if we send two people from 240 parishes," said McGourty.

The pilgrimage costs $1,675 per person. This includes the registration fee, transportation, accommodation, daily breakfast and dinner, a visit to St. Anne-de-Beaupre Shrine and Montmorency Falls.

Pilgrims will stay at Chateau Mont-Sainte Anne located a few kilometres from the famous shrine of St.-Anne-de-Beaupre and a 30-minute drive from Quebec City.

The pilgrims will attend the Congress as a regular delegate, attending morning catechesis and faith celebrations. But there will be an added group catechesis component for pilgrims from the Toronto archdiocese.

"Anybody could go as an individual but there will be a greater faith experience for the (pilgrims)," said McGourty. "It does mean that they will have a responsibility to share that experience with their faith community (upon return)."

For more information visit the Toronto archdiocesan web site at

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