What is a Eucharistic Congress?iec-2012

Since Pope Benedict XVI announced that the 50th International Eucharistic Congress will be held in Dublin in June 2012, people have been asking "what exactly is a Eucharistic Congress and what is its purpose?"

A Eucharistic Congress is an international gathering of people which aims to:

  • promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Catholic Church
  • help improve our understanding and celebration of the liturgy
  • draw attention to the social dimension of the Eucharist.

The Congress normally takes place every four years. The daily celebration of the Eucharist is at the very heart of the Congress. The wider programme of the Congress includes other liturgical events, cultural events, catechesis and testimonies, and workshops during the week of the Congress. The most recent Congress was held in Quebec in 2008 and was a source of encouragement and renewal for the many thousands who took part.

Most people in Ireland are familiar with the fact that a Eucharistic Congress was held in Ireland in 1932. Our parents and grand-parents speak of it as a significant event in their own experience of Church. Since we started preparing for the Congress, people from all over Ireland and even further afield have sent us a wide range of memorabilia relating to the 1932 Congress, some of which will be on display at a special exhibition in 2012 

For full details on the Congress go to


Parents Reflecting on their child's baptism

My name is Geraldine Brosnan. My husband Conor and I have three children. Oisín our youngest was baptised in September and he is now eight months old. Our eldest Tadhg is four and half and our daughter Sive is two and half.

As I am sure many of you know, as the parents of three young children your lives are very busy. The day to day routine takes over and some of Oisín’s firsts can be missed. Whereas with a first child you notice every milestone by the third you may not notice the second tooth or their first words. Having seen these things happen before you know that things happen in their own good time. We know that teeth grow, crawling becomes running and gurgling becomes talking.

What we really appreciated about the baptism of each child, whether the first or third, was the affirmation of each person’s, each individual’s uniqueness: their own special value in the family, in the Christian community and before God. We experienced the baptism of Oisín as not only a celebration of new life, but a true validation of the significance of that life.

As parents, Conor and I made the decision to present Tadhg, Sive and Oisín for baptism. Of course there is the cultural aspect of baptism: the milestone, the celebration and the expected. We also wanted our children to belong to the Christian community, from here in this parish to the Church throughout the world. There is also the link to the Church as a community from its foundation to today. Most importantly we feel that baptism offers each child the opportunity to forge their own relationship with God. The sacrament of baptism is the beginning of a spiritual journey that, regardless of the choices made along the way, will last for that individual’s lifetime and beyond.

Through the moral teachings of the Church, the day to day support of the Christian community and the celebration of the sacraments we hope our children will receive the gift of Faith and a sense of belonging and belief.

                                                                                Geraldine, Conor & baby Oisín


Our lives, our marriage and our sleep have changed completely since we had Edith last June.  Every day, our love for her grows and we marvel at the miracle of life and soul unfolding before our eyes.  Presenting Edith for baptism was very special for us.  This church and this parish are very important to David and me as we were married here three years ago.  Fr. Richard, Fr. John and all the parishioners have been very welcoming of us, blow-ins to Dublin as we are!  We look forward to bringing Edith to mass here and having her feel the sense of community and faith that we both do, as she grows in body and in spirit.  The baptism was greatly enhanced by the work of the baptism team and we thank Eoin and Irma for helping us to make the day spiritually, symbolically and personally special.  On Edith’s baptism day, to be honest, I was initially mostly concerned with whether or not she would cry her way through the celebration.  Sometimes, though, she really works with me and on that lovely day in September, she took a long nap, presumably quietly taking in the spiritual day that it was and allowing me to relax and remember it all for her!  Having both of our families gathered here was a great joy for us and we are reassured that Edith has a wide extended circle of faith around her as she grows.

To David and me, Edith is perfect in every way.  On the day of her baptism, we began her journey of faith with her.  As it has with both of us, faith will surely help her to know the existence of truth and of love as she travels through life.  David and I are committed to helping Edith to grow her faith and nourish her spirituality. 

                                                                                                        Lorraine, David & baby Edith


My name is Paula and with my husband Val we would like to share our experience of being parents for the first time. With our baby Alberto everyday is a new day, a new experience. And seeing him getting stronger week after week is so amazing. When I got pregnant we felt truly blessed by this miracle. We named him after Val’s father, but unfortunately my father-in-law passed away a few weeks ago and Alberto has been out helper to get through this difficult time with his smile and love.

So when he was two months old we decided to baptize him and the main reason was to thank God for this blessing and to ask God to send his angels to watch and take care of him at all times of his life, in times of joy and difficulty. As parents we want to give him nothing but the best.

                                                                                  Paula, Val & baby Alberto

A Reflection on Marriage

A reflection on Marriage - Valentine's Day Mass 14 February 2010


Jack and I got married here on New Year’s Eve a few weeks ago, so I thought I’d survived, and enjoyed all the nerves that I’d experienced in this Church.  That was until Fr Richard asked us to talk about our experiences as a newly married couple to the Valentine’s Day Congregation!

Well, Jack and I are only a few weeks in and so far, so good.  But I suppose the change in our relationship didn’t begin on the day we got married but from the day we agreed to marry each other.

Jack and I have known each other since childhood and were together for about 7 years when we got engaged.  Over these years I knew I loved Jack and was happy to spend the rest of my life with him, but sub consciously we had a ‘get out clause’.  On the day we agreed to marry each other, we opted out of this ‘get out clause’.  From then we weren’t just focussed on the here and now but on the much bigger picture.

As a friend put it last night, ‘when you decide to get married, you give up notions of another life and focus on the one you have together’.

I’ve often thought that you never truly know or understand another couple’s relationship.  Just as you never truly know or understand another person’s relationship with God.  And I have always considered both to be very unique, personal and intimate.  However, Marriage is a very open demonstration of both.

When Jack and I celebrated our marriage we declared something personal, quite publicly in front of family and friends. And we celebrated not just our own relationship with each other but formally invited God to be a part of our lives together.  And today we do that in front of the wider congregation. 

Another friend brought home to us how our wedding was not just a celebration of our love, but a celebration and reminder of the sacrament of marriage too.  This friend, was feeling less positive in her own marriage.  However listening to the words of our service reminded her and her husband to be thankful for their relationship, to remember that God loves and respects their marriage and to accept Gods guidance.

I’ve also noticed over the last few weeks that as a married couple you do things that you probably wouldn’t do as boyfriend and girlfriend.  For example when I told Jack what Fr Richard asked us to do today; I think Jack thought I was joking.  And more so, when I told him I agreed!  However he asked me if it would make me happy.  And agreeing that being part of a wider Christian community is important, we agreed to stand here today.

So we’re learning that throughout marriage you do things for each other, and in the name of God that are new to you, and may involve sacrifice.  All I can say is that so far it feels good, and sharing in this union feels like a good place to be.

We pray that throughout our marriage our love and faith in each other and in God will continue to grow. 

The 5 Main Symbols of Baptism

The 5 main Symbols of Baptism

Catholic Baptism is marked by specific signs and symbols that have a particular meaning for us.

These Symbols are:

crossThe Sign of the Cross is the mark of Christians showing that Jesus died on the Cross for us. At baptism parents and grandparents trace it on the child’s forehead to show that the child belongs to Christ, who now offers his help and grace always to face and overcome the sufferings and trials that life may throw at us.


Water is for cleansing and is a sign that all our sins are washed away; Our baptism continues with life. Through baptism we belong; through our lives we strengthen our belief.

Original sin is not a spot on our soul that has to be scrubbed away but more a truth about what it means to be human – we all try to do our best and do good, but we only have to look around to see this is not always what happens. Baptism gives us the unending strength, joy and comfort that comes from a God who created us in his own image and likeness and loves us unconditionally. God is ever present to us, ever with us, supporting us and walking our lives with us – even when we are not present to God.

Water is also a symbol of life – without water we couldn’t live. It shows is that Jesus is our real source of life. As Jesus is raised from the dead by the Father and given new life, so are we through the waters of baptism, raised to life in Jesus Christ and given life in him.

Oil of Baptism which is rubbed on the chest to give us strength; In olden times athletes used to rub themselves with oil to strengthen themselves and prepare themselves for the fight ahead.

Oil of Chrism, (also used at Confirmation) Chrism is a perfumed olive oil consecrated by the bishop during Holy Week (holy Thursday). It is rubbed on the crown or forehead signifying that we are sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We are anointed to bring the good news to others by the way that we live our lives. We are anointed priest, prophet and king just as Christ was.

Baptismal Candle reminds us that the light of Christ has entered our lives and the flame symbolizes the flame of faith which should burn throughout our lives. The Light of Christ is passed on to us in the form of a lit candle, which was lit from the Paschal Candle (Easter Candle) that was blessed at the Easter Vigil. We are called to be the light of Christ in the world and we are asked to keep that light burning brightly.

The White Garment signifies that the newly baptized has put on Christ and has risen with Christ. It is a sign of new identity and echoes what the early Christian used to do. When they were baptized and came out of the water they were clothed in a white garment to show innocence, new beginning, a new dignity/identity and a new life in the resurrection of Jesus.