Amy Gadoud writes: ‘Bernie Speakman and I were delighted to be St Joseph’s of Lancaster parish representatives for the Eucharistic Congress in Liverpool. It was an amazing opportunity especially as the last Eucharistic Congress in England was held in 1908. Unfortunately, on that occasion, it was not possible to carry the Blessed Sacrament in public procession through the streets, so we were even more blessed this time.
The first day was a Symposium Day with keynote lectures and breakout sessions. It was badged as the more academic day but we found the sessions accessible and illuminating. We were joined by Sally Lee and Sandra Smith from St Joseph’s primary school. Sally was frantically making notes and smiling, clearly inspired. “This is my assembly on Friday… “ Since then they have organised Eucharistic Adoration at the school and the inspirations from the day will be felt throughout the school. Bernie especially enjoyed an ecumenical session on the Eucharist and its meaning to our Christian brothers and sisters.
The second day was the Main Congress Day at Liverpool Arena. We were delighted to be joined by my Dad and sister and my son was at a parallel youth event and joined by about 10,000 other delegates. It was an a truly inspiring experience for so many Catholics to be gathered together. We also enjoyed viewing all the different habits and religious dress.
The highlights of this day were two amazing keynote addresses from Bishop Barron on the Mass and paths to holiness. His style is phenomenal. He can describe the truths of Catholicism in an engaging and meaningful way. The videos of his talk are available and if you do one thing following reading this report I would encourage you to watch these talks.
The day ended with Eucharistic Adoration and we were led in prayer by Cardinal Nichols and led the tone for the procession the next day.
The final day was the Pilgrimage Day. We started the day rushing to the station, but my sister was on time for the 9.30am Mass and Bernie and I attended at 11.30. We took the time before Mass to attend the Eucharistic Congress exhibition (well half of it) and are encouraging Fr Philip to host the exhibition in Lancaster.
A truly wonderful and uplifting Mass concelebrated with more bishops and priests than I have ever seen in my life. Special mention to the choir and altar servers who did Liverpool proud. We ended the day with a Eucharistic procession; the rain did not put us off, and my sister blamed the rain on my singing but we all including the tone deaf joined in the hymns. The sun came out for Benediction and we all left Liverpool wet but blessed.
On Tuesday 23 October we were delighted to feedback the main highlights of the events to the parish. As well as presentations from Bernie Speakman, Leo Gadoud Bishop Barron (via Youtube) and I we had group discussions and a time of prayer about how we could take the fruits of the Congress further.
We would like to thank the Bishop’s conference for organising the event, Fr Philip and the parish for the opportunity to be the parish representative and my sister Jennifer Mclaughlin for her wonderful hospitality.