The National Eucharistic Congress was a three-day event which took place in Liverpool in September. Because places had to be limited, very few of us in our parishes were able to attend. Many of those who went from Southwark parishes came together for the first of the follow-up meetings at the Christian Education Centre, Tooting Bec, on Saturday 6 October. It was immediately evident that they had brought back with them an excitement for what they had experienced and an enthusiasm to share it. Representatives from the furthest reaches of Southwark Diocese crammed into the room with some having to listen through the open door!
Adoremus – Latin for “Let us adore” – may have been a slightly misleading title for the event as it was not simply about Eucharistic Adoration. Rather, it was about our relationship with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist of the Mass, and in Eucharistic Adoration, and in the strength we draw from those encounters to go out and share that joy and peace with the world around us.
Fortunately, modern technology comes to our aid in hearing the message from Liverpool as video recordings of the keynote speakers are accessible on www.catholicnews.org.uk/Home/Videos. Here you can watch and listen to :
1. Bishop Robert Barron – The Mystery of the Mass, & Sainthood, Sanctity and what makes us Holy
2. Sister Margaret Atkins – Teaching the Eucharist
3. Canon David Oakley – The Eucharist in the life of the Church
4. Canon Mervyn Power – The Scriptural Context
All are worth viewing.
Southwark delegates to the Congress were asked to complete a report summarising their thoughts and ideas. These reports have now been studied by the diocesan “Listening Group” and themes summarised as follows:
- We are the Body of Christ. Jesus present in Word and Sacrament
- Centrality of the Eucharist.
- Welcome that is open. Being able to read the signs of the times with wisdom.
- Passionate and Compassionate. Using real language.
- Witness that is personal. Recognition of the “Gifts of the Laity”/Lay Leadership
- Catechesis very important. Building links: Parish/ Deanery/School/Dioceses/Wider Church/ Ecumenical/Wider World.
- More awareness of what is going on in the diocese. So much wonderful work is going on especially with the various sodalities.
- Must be mindful of outcomes. How do we go forward?
- Devotional formation: Silence/meditation/Adoration/Importance of Sung Prayer/plus………..
- Coming together of the Diocese/ Long term planning/Synod/Parish Missions/Parish Renewal.
- Diocesan/Parish audit.
The challenge for all of us now is to absorb the messages from the Liverpool Congress and find imaginative ways of putting the ideas into practice in our parish liturgies, catechesis, pastoral care and outreach. A further follow-up meeting is being held at the Sacred Heart Church, Wimbledon on Saturday 10th November, 10.00 – 13.00hrs, where Fr Timothy Radcliffe will speak on “Discerning Mission and Legacy”