We were invited by Fr Regis to attend the Congress in Liverpool over the weekend of 7th – 9th September 2018. We have been members of the parish for 21 years and both play an active part in the life of the parish. Having said that, we both felt sceptical about the Congress weekend, not really knowing what it would entail and what would be expected of us.
The weekend was a story of two halves, the first day being very dry and almost academic in its content, with seemingly little or no relevance to our lives, the life of the parish or our school. We were left at the end of the day feeling underwhelmed and uninspired. The second day, however, was completely different. It was much more uplifting and inspiring, with two fantastic keynote speeches from Bishop Robert Barron and a series of talks/discussions given by lay people from across the country, their stories showing how the Word of God is being lived in the 21st Century. In particular, the chat show style interviews with young Catholics highlighted how they discovered Christ in their lives. It was encouraging to hear them speaking about their experiences with such joy and pride. On reflection, it seems that the church needs to support young people to find their own paths to their faith.
At the end of the weekend, we felt privileged to have been part of the Congress and understood that the first day gave some context to the second day. We understood that there is a theological side as well as a practical side to the Eucharist and that to fully understand the Eucharist one needs to be aware of its deeper meaning, but we felt that if our parish and school and community could remember that love is at the heart of the Eucharist then perhaps the deeper understanding would follow.
The keynote speeches from Bishop Robert Barron were the highlight of the Congress. They were thought-provoking, inspirational and gave us a new perspective on our faith. They have given us things to reflect on a daily basis, particularly around the 3 paths (2nd Keynote speech). They gave us a deeper appreciation of the mass and helped us to understand that the mass is an invitation from our Lord to share a meal with him.
We would highly recommend that you watch the videos of the keynote speeches. They can be found on www.catholicnews.org.uk. The links will also be on the parish website.
The weekend ended with the celebration of Mass at Liverpool Cathedral.
Barbara & Phil Cavanagh
Keynote 1 – http://catholicnews.org.uk/Home/Special-Events/Adoremus-National-Eucharistic-Pilgrimage/Congress-Day/Bishop-Barron-1
Keynote 2 – http://catholicnews.org.uk/Home/Special-Events/Adoremus-National-Eucharistic-Pilgrimage/Congress-Day/Bishop-Barron-2