On Sunday, Budapest began to host for the second time the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress, a reference to one of the main rites of the Catholic Church, the Eucharist, which, according to the New Testament, was originated by Jesus Christ at the last supper, when he gave his disciples bread and wine.
The opening Holy Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the European Conference of Bishops.
“We are sending a message to everyone who is now listening to us that our joy is above all else: Jesus Christ himself! Mankind longs for the Eternal. He walks towards the Light! With today’s Mass, we are saying that in spite of all our weaknesses and sins, the light of Christ shines in the Church there,” Bagnasco said at the mass, which was also the first communion of 1,200 Catholic youth from Hungary and neighboring countries.
Hungary first hosted the congress — then named the World Eucharistic Congress — in 1938, with the main venue the same Heroes’ Square as it is now.
The mass was also attended by Hungarian President János Áder.
The highlight of the week-long event will be next Sunday’s concluding Holy Mass, celebrated by Pope Francis. Popes usually do not attend the congress in person. From Budapest, Pope Francis will continue to an apostolic visit to neighboring Slovakia.
Title image: The crowd gathers for the opening Holy Mass of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest on September 5, 2021. (MTI/Zoltán Máthé)