52nd International Eucharistic Congress
A Short Reflection from Bishop Kevin Doran on the International Eucharistic Congress, which will be celebrated in Budapest, from 5th – 12th September 2021.
Hungary has very deep Christian roots dating from the beginning of the second millennium. The first King of Hungary, St Stephen (1000-1038 AD) led Hungary into the community of European Christian nations. Two hundred years later, the Hungarian Princess, Elizabeth, married into the royal family of Thuringia and, alongside of her responsibilities as Queen, devoted her life to the service of the poor and the care of the sick, following the rule of St Francis of Assisi.
The International Eucharistic Congress was last celebrated in Budapest in 1938, just before the Second World War. Since then, the people of Hungary have spend many years under oppressive regimes, first the Nazis and then Marxist Socialism. Fascism and Communism imposed a kind of unity in which the state took priority over the dignity and freedom of the individual person. By contrast, the Eucharist invites us into a communion of love, in which each person, created in the image and likeness of God is loved for who he or she is.
Hungary has drawn new life from the blood of the Martyrs in the second half of the twentieth century. It is hoped that the Eucharistic Congress, after years of repression, will contribute to the renewal of the Catholic Church in Hungary. There is also a strong awareness that people of all faiths suffered under the Fascists and under the Communists. This brings with it the hope that the Congress nay contribute to a new kind of relationship between people of different faith traditions, so that they may all grow together in mutual love and peace.
At a time when the world faces a variety of geo-political crises and now a global pandemic, the theme of the International Eucharistic Congress reminds us that all life comes from God. In English, the theme is translated “All My Springs are in You” and may initially sound a bit strange. It comes from Psalm 87, which celebrates Jerusalem as the place where God lives among his people. The “springs” refer to the fountains in the city of Jerusalem. Many people will know that, throughout the bible, streams and fountains are often used as a symbol of the gift of life and faith that comes from God. Drawing on the rich Eucharistic theology that has its origins in the Gospels and in the writings of St Paul, the Eucharist is described in the documents of the second Vatican Council as the “source and summit” of the Christian life. It is a way of saying that everything we are as Christians flows from the body of Christ, who died and is risen.
Using the words of Pope St John Paul II, the theological document of the 2020 International Eucharistic Congress reminds us of the “cosmic dimension” of every celebration of the Eucharist. “Even when it is celebrated on the humble altar of a country church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world. It unites heaven and earth. It embraces and permeates all creation”. Through the perfect humanity of Jesus offered to the Father, the Eucharist gathers people everywhere, and indeed gathers the whole of creation, in one great offering to God. At a time when we are still significantly limited by the impact of COVID-19, and fewer people than usual can participate in person at the Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, it remains possible for us to join in communion with our brothers and sisters in Budapest, and all around the world, as we celebrate around the “humble altars” whether they be in a “country Church” or a huge Cathedral.
The full text of the theological reflection for the Budapest Eucharistic Congress is at
Prayers of Intercession On the Occasion of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress
Today (this week), we join in Communion with Catholics from around the world who celebrate the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest. With them, we make our prayer for the Church and for the world.
- For Francis our Pope, who is the visible sign of our Communion – that he may be strong in faith and gentle in his pastoral care of God’s people. Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.
- For the Church throughout the world – that we may be refreshed by God’s word, as by a stream of fresh clear water. Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.
- For a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Eucharist – that, as we receive the Body and Blood of the Lord, we may be renewed in our desire to give the gift of ourselves in service of the poor and the vulnerable. Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.
- For Christians who suffer because of their faith in Jesus – that, like the Church in Hungary, they may remain faithful and see better days. Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.
- For an end to the COVID-19 pandemic – that the nations of the world will share their resources in a spirit of authentic solidarity. Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.
- For our sisters and brothers who have died – that they may gather with us again at the table in the kingdom of heaven. Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.
Almighty and every living God, it was your will that, through the power of your Holy Spirit, we your sons and daughters, through the celebration of the Eucharist, would be united in communion with your Son Jesus and with one another. We ask you now to grant us the grace to live what we celebrate, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen
PRAYER OF THE 52nd INTERNATIONAL EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS OF BUDAPEST (HUNGARY)
We give you thanks
Lord Jesus Christ,
because, in the Eucharist, source of love,
you gather your people and nourish them
with the Bread of Life and the Chalice of Salvation; the memorial of your passion, death and resurrection. The strength that you give us
through your sacrifice and your presence
enables us to be for others
bread which nourishes and wine which gives joy,
and humble servants of reconciliation
between churches and nations,
proclaiming in action and in word
that you alone are the Lord,
the source of every life.
All Information on the Programme of the Budapest Eucharistic Congress