National Catholic Register


Spirit of John Paul II Alive at Congress

BY John Burger

June 29 - July 5, 2008 Issue | Posted 6/24/08 at 1:03 PM


Pope John Paul II may have died three years ago, but he was very present at the 49th International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec.

It was Pope John Paul who announced in 2004, when he inaugurated the Year of the Eucharist, that the next congress would be held in Quebec. The Pope’s longtime master of ceremonies, Archbishop Piero Marini, helped organize the congress as president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses and was present.

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland, received warm applause from the congregation as he processed into the coliseum to celebrate Mass June 17, obviously recognized as Pope John Paul’s longtime personal secretary. Like John Paul, he immediately went to a person in a wheelchair to offer a greeting and a blessing.

For Father Nicolas Buttet, founder of the Eucharistein Fraternity in Switzerland, who gave a catechesis on June 17, Cardinal Dziwisz’s celebration of Mass that morning called to mind a meeting the Swiss priest had with John Paul.

He had given the Pope a book he had written about his community, which he titled “The Eucharist at the School of Saints,” and was touched to learn that in his last encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia (The Eucharist in its Relationship to the Church), the Pope wrote, “Let us take our place … at the school of the saints, who are the great interpreters of true Eucharistic piety.”

“His entire pontificate [was dedicated] to the proclamation of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist,” Father Buttet said. “He said once, ‘Everything is possible if a new devotion to the Eucharist will be at the center of the life of the Church.’”

— John Burger