Catholic Register Staff

Catholic Register Staff

Cardinal Marc Ouellet chafes under the criticism that his pride and joy — the International Eucharistic Congress — is little more than a week-long piety-fest. So he's been chafing a bit more than usual this week as secular media here in Quebec have focused as much on such criticism as it has on actually covering the event.

Not that a Eucharistic Congress is a numbers game, but it has been readily apparent with anyone with eyes around here that the priesthood and hierarchy are very well represented indeed.

{mosimage}QUEBEC CITY - As many as 25,000 Catholics from around the world poured through the narrow streets of Quebec City June 19, accompanying the Blessed Sacrament in an outpouring of religious fervour absent from this city for at least half a century.

It should not be suprising that here in Quebec City, the cradle of Christendom in North America, that the liturgies have been surpassingly beautiful. There is a veritable cornucopia of worship services to attend, from the large daily Masses in the Pepsi Colliseum at the Expo City to the Adoration chapels, to the many Vespers and prayer services that happen daily at many of Quebec's historic churches.

{mosimage}QUEBEC CITY - Pilgrims who venture away from the International Eucharistic Congress grounds in this city are getting some living lessons in church history — almost 400 years of it.

Quebec City is celebrating the fourth centennial of its founding in 2008. And since the Catholic Church was there in the earliest years of this colony of France, it too is looking back into its own history and finding much to be proud of.

Looking for bright young, spirited and inspirational priests? In despair because you believe the media mantra about the dying priesthood? Have a little faith. They're out there, believe me. I keep tripping over them, especially here at the 49th International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City.

{mosimage}QUEBEC CITY - Human beings may be fallible but the Catholic Church as an institution remains sanctified through the Eucharist, says Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J.

And it is this sanctified institution that always deserves defending, even if its individual members err, the archbishop of Buenos Aires and primate of Argentina explained in a large catechesis session here at the 49th International Eucharistic Congress June 18.

{mosimage}QUEBEC CITY - Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga urged Catholics to support a campaign to get the Canadian government to appoint an ombudsperson that would scrutinize domestic mining operations overseas.

At a press conference held at the 49th International Eucharistic Congress June 20, the cardinal/archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, thanked the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace for conducting the campaign.

I have many good friends in the United Church, and they always seem very respectful toward Catholic teachings and practices, even if they disagree with them. Yet it seems lately that every protest by disaffected Catholics takes place in a United Church. Perhaps I exaggerate, but a little incident here in Quebec reinforces that impression.

Pope Benedict XVI sent his regards and blessings Wednesday, June 18, to the 12,000 or so pilgrims gathered here in Quebec City for the International Eucharistic Congress. Below is the text of his message from the Vatican Information Service.

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