By Vatican News
In a statement released on Thursday, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni announced that the 52ndInternational Eucharistic Congress scheduled for September this year in Hungary had been postponed to September 2021. The postponement was due to the current coronavirus pandemic and the “consequences for the movement and aggregation of the faithful and pilgrims.”
Speaking with Alessandro De Carolis of Vatican News, the President of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, Archbishop Piero Marini, explains the reason for the postponement.
Vatican Radio: Your Excellency, what did you take into consideration before reaching this decision?
Archbishop Piero Marini: The considerations were the following: the position of those responsible for Health and Hygiene not only of the Vatican but also internationally. They cannot now guarantee that everything, including flights and communications, will have returned to normal in September. It is an international congress with people coming from all parts of the world. So far, it seems to me that there have been more than 60,000 registrations. We cannot, therefore, safely celebrate a Eucharistic Congress without the certainty that our countries would be free from this pandemic.
VN: You have taken part in numerous International Eucharistic Congresses, which take years to prepare. What does this postponement mean to you?
PM: This postponement creates a bit of difficulty for the local Committee who will have to get in touch again with the participants and the guests for the Theological Symposium to review all of the positions. However, this year of preparation which is offered to us is also an opportunity to improve preparations for the Congress itself, and the theme. It is an opportunity to do things more calmly. I have participated in some Eucharistic Congresses beginning with Quebec, then Dublin, then Cebu. Never before have I seen so much interest in a Eucharistic Congress and never before have I seen so many registrations.
VN: The title of the Congress in Budapest is “All my springs are in you”. It sounds like an invitation to look at what matters most, especially in this period of uncertainty and fear...
PM: Yes, the theme is a short passage from a Psalm. They are words addressed to Jerusalem: “All my springs are in you”. Obviously, they can also be addressed to the source of all springs which is God. “All my springs are in you” is also, above all, directed towards the Eucharist.
VN: What do you feel like saying to the people of the Eucharistic Congresses and in particular to the Hungarian Church?
PM: To the Hungarian Church in particular, I say that this is an opportune time to better prepare for the Congress of 2021. At the international level, and to the local Churches, I ask that you organize everything in the best possible way. We hope that in 2021 the pandemic will be over and that even more people than those who have already booked this year will be able to participate. The Eucharistic Congress is also important because of the geographical position of Hungary, a post-communist country. I believe it is also important for Europe, to reflect on its roots. I hope that this Congress next year will be a moment for the Church and society to reflect on the fact that everything really depends, at least for us Catholics and believers, on the Eucharist. Jesus’ words have become our Gospel and Jesus’ actions have become our Sacraments. It is fundamental for us to see this in the celebration of the Congress.