The first International Eucharistic Congress, held in France in 1881, gathered some 300 persons at the head of Eucharistic movements in European countries. During the following 125 years, the format of Congresses strongly evolved and they now attract some 12,000 to 15,000 participants for a full week of celebrations, adoration, catecheses, cultural events, fraternal gatherings, and commitments to aid the poor.

The Pontifical High Mass at the Chicago Stadium on Children’s Day, June 21, 2022

Public events, especially the Closing Eucharist, draw considerable crowds. Moreover, every Congress is preceded by a Theological and Pastoral Symposium to deepen understanding of an aspect of the Eucharistic Mystery.

Article 20 of the Statutes of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses (1986) stipulates that:

“In preparing a Congress, emphasis is laid mainly on an intense catechesis on the Eucharist as the Paschal Mystery of Christ…, on active and conscious participation in the Liturgy…, and on a careful choice of initiatives and the diligent implementation of social ministries, in such a way that the Eucharistic table may be a sign of solidarity and sharing with the poor.”

Since 1881, the Pope had always been represented by a special Delegate at the celebration of Eucharistic Congresses. In 1964, Pope Paul VI took part in the last two days of the Congress held in Bombay, an initiative followed by his successor, John Paul II.

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© 2008 International Eucharistic Congress