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June 16th 2008

The Eucharist: Gift of God Par Excellence

“The Church received the Eucharist from its Lord Christ not as a gift among many others, however precious, but as the gift par excellence, for it is the gift of himself, of his very person in his blessed humanity and work of salvation,” declared the president of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress (2008 IEC), Marc Cardinal Ouellet. In this spirit, the catechist of the day, Archbishop Donald William Wuerl of Washington, D.C., delivered his teaching, and Jean Vanier, founder of the worldwide network of communities known as l’Arche, spoke in witness before a rapt and attentive audience.

CATECHIST: Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Donald William Wuerl

Archbishop Wuerl, chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Catechesis and the board of directors of the National Catholic Educational Association, was involved in the development of the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults and is the author of numerous articles and books, including the bestselling Teaching of Christ.

WITNESS: Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche

The International Federation of L’Arche Communities has branches in 24 countries and encompasses 131 member communities. Jean Vanier has written numerous books based on human fragility, compassion, reconciliation, and the importance of celebrating our humanity together.

TODAY AT THE 2008 IEC: Opening of the Eucharistic City, day to commemorate François de Laval, and the beginning of the Eucharistic Festival.

ExpoCité, transformed into a glorious Eucharistic City, opens at last to the general public. Until June 21, you can visit

The Vitality of the Eucharist Around the World

Six cardinals have been invited as panelists, with Jozef Cardinal Tomko presiding. This roundtable is a preamble to the workshops on pastoral questions. Location: Pavillon François-de-Laval.

Commemoration of Blessed François de Laval’s Arrival

This day will be devoted to highlighting the 349th anniversary of François de Laval’s arrival in New France. Activities will recall the spiritual heritage handed down from the missionaries and invite young people and Congress pilgrims to become witnesses to the Gospel by following in Christ’s footsteps. At 2:30 p.m., the blessing of a newly raised cross by auxiliary bishop of Quebec City Pierre-André Fournier will form the center and summit of the days festivities. This cross before Saint-Michel de Sillery Church will serve as a reminder of the 400th anniversary of Quebec City, the 49th International Eucharistic Congress, and the Jubilee Year of Blessed François de Laval commemorating the 300th anniversary of his death and the 350th anniversary of his episcopal ordination. The 2008 IEC organizers invite Congress pilgrims and the people of Quebec City to come and honor this cross with flowers throughout the week.

Eucharistic Festival Launch: Talks, Shows, Exhibits, and More

Through Saturday, June 21, the Eucharistic Festival is an opportunity to hear some of the greatest witnesses of the faith in the Eucharistic City or in parishes. To begin the festivities, Jean Vanier will present a talk entitled Peace: A Conflict Between Exclusion and Violence. This talk will be followed by a concert by the band of the Royal 22nd Regiment, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Pavillon François-de-Laval.

Tuesday, June 17, Morning Sessions at Colisée Pepsi

Catechesis by Philippe Cardinal Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon and primate of the Gauls (France), followed by witnessing from the founder of the Eucharistein Fraternity Fr. Nicolas Buttet, and a Eucharist celebrated by Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow.

© 2008 International Eucharistic Congress