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Busy days at Congress

Jesuits and their colleagues had a busy week at the thirty second International Eucharistic Congress which was held in Dublin, 10-17 June. Many of the events were held in the RDS but Magis Ireland, the Jesuit Outreach to Young Adults, reversed the trend by taking young people out into the city to spend time with people they might not normally meet.

 
Noelle Fitzpatrick, Projects Director with Magis was delighted with the take-up from young people in Ireland and around the world who signed up each day to spend time with people living with AIDS or disability, or members of the L’Arche community or traveller community. And a number of young people who went on the ecumenical trip meeting people from various faiths and denominations, said how much it meant to them. You can read the reflections on this below.

The Sacred Space stand was very busy as they introduced  pilgrims to their online prayer website and porvided the only quiet space in an otherwise bustling hall, where people could rest and pray in silence.

A number of Jesuits spoke at various seminars and signed their recent books at the Messenger Publications stand and the Pioneer Association stall did great trade with visitors from other countries really impressed by their spiritual take on the worldwide problem of addiction.

Faction films worked with the JCC to produce short video interviews with all those involved and they produced a short film which gives a real flavour of the week and the great work done by Jesuits, colleagues, friends and volunteers. To watch them, click here.

Reflections:

Gatherings like this make me appreciate the breadth and depth of our church, not as an inanimate object but as a true and living ever-present body of Christ in today’s world.

It has been a gift and a joy to be part of the Magis Ireland Ecumenical pilgrimage as well as the Taizé prayer.

It does give me hope and reassurance that there is room for our diversity and that diversity is a gift, as Brother Alois Löser, the Prior of Taizé affirmed in his talk.

What struck me was the involvement of groups such as the Travellers and even the quiet invitation of abuse survivors to come participate. I truly do believe in a gospel-based faith that does justice.

One thing I took away was a message from the final mass, “Become what You receive!” I hope people will perhaps take a deeper look into thepositive and profound affirmation of that message. It truly is a radical call to action and a reminder of our own responsibility.

If a gathering such as the International Eucharistic Congress is to have any credibility, especially for those who did not participate, then that depends on our own actions. A faith that is nourished and supported through the gifts and fruits of the Holy spirit and in a community of belonging cannot but spill over into the lives of others and they will take notice.

I find myself not content with standing idly by and not allowing the message of the Congress to somehow become part of my own life.

I am truly lucky to be part of a community of faith through groups like Magis Ireland that encourages young adults to look for the ‘more’ or the deeper message in life.

I will continue to find a way to incorporate this theme of ‘magis’ in my profession as a doctor, in a way that helps nourish me into a more positive approach to work and clinical practice that is  beneficial for the lives of patients- and not in an imposing way.

With the Ignatian prayer and reflection group that I am part of, I look forward to continue discerning how we can bring the Congress message into our lives and into the lives of others in a way that is authentic and true to ourselves in a spirit of joy and freedom.