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International Eucharistic Congress “spiritually uplifting, edifying”: Nigerian Archbishop

The Logo of the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, Hungary. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The just concluded International Eucharistic Congress was fruitful in multiple ways, a Nigerian Archbishop has said.

In a reflection titled “All my springs are in you” posted on Facebook on Sunday, September 12, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama underscores the spiritual value of the weeklong event that started September 5.

“It was a very fruitful Congress of amazing graces. Spiritually uplifting and edifying, it was also an auspicious moment of prayer for healing for our wounded world and a bleeding humanity,” Archbishop Kaigama says of his experience during the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, Hungary.

The Archbishop of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese further recounts, “I was impressed by the enthusiastic participation of pilgrims: their recollected and prayerful participation at Masses, the sacrament of reconciliation, youth and family programs.”

He highlights some of the spiritually uplifting moments including adoration where youth were among the worshippers and the candle procession over the weekend.

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“At the St. Stephen’s Basilica, youths and adults in their numbers joined in the over two hours of solemn adoration of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, with an excellent choir of forty and the orchestra of twenty-five musicians singing very lively hymns of Eucharistic adoration,” Archbishop Kaigama recalls.

He continues, “The Eucharistic Candle procession from the Parliament to the Heroes’ Square after the Saturday 11th September Mass was simply beautiful, and a clear demonstration of Eucharistic faith.”

During the Eucharistic celebration to conclude the International Eucharistic Congress on Sunday, September 12, Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to spend more time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament to become more like Christ.

“Dear brothers and sisters, let us allow our encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist to transform us, just as it transformed the great and courageous saints you venerate,” the Holy Father said in his homily.

He added, “We do well to spend time in adoration before the Eucharist in order to contemplate God’s weakness. Let’s make time for adoration.”

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In his reflection posted on Facebook September 12, Archbishop Kaigama expresses “immense gratitude” to the Holy Father, for "his words encouraging us to  know and love Jesus more dearly and by His grace, to transform humanity,  bedeviled by the pandemic of fear, anxiety, violence and indifference.”

The International Eucharistic Congress, Archbishop Kaigama notes, “afforded us the opportunity to celebrate the beauty of the Eucharist as the source, center and summit of our life as Catholics.”

“The Eucharist nourishes, heals and binds us and can be a remedy for a world that suffers a deficiency of moral values, allowing despair to displace hope, and some people trying hard to suppress the presence of God and drown His voice or pretend to teach, advise and reprimand God, because they believe in their scientific progress,” the Nigerian Archbishop says.

Making reference to the September 10 testimony of the President of the Republic of Hungary, János Áder, Archbishop Kaigama says, “the President no doubt, shows that he is a leader who combines politics with genuine spirituality.”

“It was inspiring to see him well-seated with the Deputy Prime Minister and other Government officials over one hour before the commencement of the Saturday Mass as well as the closing Mass of the Holy Father on Sunday,” the Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese recalls.

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The presence of the Hungarian top government officials says a lot about their spiritual disposition, Archbishop Kaigama remarked, and added, “No wonder, in his testimony he said among other things that ‘searching for God means active faithfulness’ and he counseled that all should use their talents given by the Lord, whole-heartedly.”

“The beauty of Hungary is not only in the wonderful historical and geographical landmarks, but that despite the 150-year attempt to eclipse their culture and Christian faith, Hungary has not allowed its culture and traditions to be uprooted from Christianity. They are happily a Christian nation and gladly say so,” the Nigerian Archbishop said.

“How one wishes that other countries whose civilization was very greatly influenced by Christianity will be able to say with the same clarity and categorical conviction that God is numero uno, and because of their Christian roots, they owe it a duty to promote Godly values when making social, political, and ethical policies and decisions,” the 63-year-old Archbishop says.

He goes on to acknowledge with appreciation the many volunteers (young ladies, young men, adult men and women, Mass servers, scouts, workers, etc,) “who warmly and charmingly welcomed us to their beautiful land, and went the extra mile to make our stay stress free.” 

The presence and the address of His Holiness Bartholomew 1, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople on September 11, prior to the Eucharistic celebration in front of the Hungarian parliament, attended by ecclesiastical and State dignitaries, was a good gesture of ecclesiastical fraternity, the Catholic Church leaders who was ordained a Bishop in April 1995 says.

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“The Eucharistic Congress left me with a firmer conviction that Jesus blesses us and shows us mercy in the Eucharist,” Archbishop Kaigama says.

He explains in his reflection posted September 12, “It is a Eucharistic imperative that we all become sincerely rooted in God and transformed into loving and peaceful human beings without artificial boundaries or barriers.”