DUBLIN, Ireland, MARCH 2, 2012 (Zenit.org)
This summer's international Eucharistic Congress in Dublin is aiming to attract youth with a program being described as "one of the most ambitious youth ministry programs ever presented in this country."
Young people from across Ireland are being invited to celebrate their faith at the June International Eucharistic Congress 2012 (IEC2012).
The program called "Go! Be Church!" will happen in an area known as the Chiara Luce Youth Space at IEC2012, and is aimed for youth from age 17 to 25.
Around 2,500 young people are expected to participate in "Go! Be Church!" this summer and, in preparation for the upcoming Congress, more than 350 young people from across the Dioceses of Ulster gathered in Tyrone last Sunday to celebrate faith through music, workshops and prayer at an event called Crossroads 2012.
The significant role that youth play in the Church in Ireland was highlighted by the presence of Cardinal Seán Brady, archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland, who was the principal celebrant of the Eucharist at Crossroads 2012.
Other bishops concelebrating the Mass were Bishop Liam MacDaid of Clogher, and Auxiliary Bishop Donal McKeown of Down and Connor. They were joined by IEC2012 Diocesan Delegates from the Northern dioceses.
Bishop McKeown emphasized the important role the youth program will play in the upcoming Congress: "These are difficult years for everybody in modern Ireland -and, in a particular way, for young people. We are all paying the price for trying to live in the fast lane or coarsening our hearts with superficiality.
"The 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 provides a once-in-a lifetime opportunity for the people of this island to pause and reflect on the deep human hunger; for meaning, love, God, healing and communion. Adults may well need to see, hear and listen to young people much more than the youth need the adults!"
Bishop McKeown added: "The Congress is a God-given opportunity to reawaken our idealism through reflecting on the mystery of love, community and service. It is a divine invitation to put communion at the heart of who we are as a people."
Each diocese in Ireland is being invited by IEC2012 to bring groups of young people to the Congress, either for the entire week or a portion of it. At the end of the week, young people will be missioned to go back to their parishes to begin local faith programs.
The IEC2012 Youth Space is named after Chiara Badano, an ordinary young woman involved in the Focolare movement, who died in 1990 at the age of 18, after succumbing to bone cancer. Because of her qualities as a friend, and her deep sensitivity to the needs of others, especially the poor, she came to be known as "Chiara Luce" (Claire "the Light" in Italian). Chiara was beatified in 2010 and is the patron saint of the IEC2012 Youth Space.
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