The Cathedral celebrates the opening of IEC2012

Mullingar Cathedral Parish marked the opening of the International Eucharistic Congress with an open-air Mass in Pearse Street followed by a Corpus Christi procession to the steps of the Cathedral.

Several thousand people attended the Mass which was celebrated by Fr Padraig McMahon, Cathedral Administrator, with Bishop Smith presiding.

Click here for photos from the celebrations.

The following is an excerpt from Fr McMahon’s homily:

This morning the congregation of Christ the King in Mullingar gathers on a street to celebrate the Eucharist given us by our Saviour on the night before he died to save us. 

Try as we may to describe or understand how Jesus Christ can be really present in bread and wine, it comes down to a personal choice and act of faith and it is for each one of us to say “I believe” and “Amen.”

Many here this morning have memories of the Corpus Christi procession on the streets of Mullingar in years gone by.  My memories of the feast of Corpus Christi are of the Sunday afternoon procession back home in Kingscourt, traffic stopped, bunting, tricolours and papal flags flew from house windows and in front gardens; shop windows displayed statues or images of the Sacred Heart and Our Lady, decorated with flowers; and everyone walked – there were no on-lookers only participants.  Perhaps nostalgia embellishes the warm June sunshine, but I never remember it being cancelled because of rain!

And so today in procession on our streets we revisit something sacred from our past – to younger people present this may be new, to the not so young this is familiar.  This morning I think the Lord and Trappatoni can share the credit for display of flags.

Our celebration should not be about the past it must be about the present and the future.

Pope Benedict has written that the Eucharist is “a mystery that needs to be firmly believed, devoutly celebrated and intensely lived in the Church.”  There is a challenge for all of us in the Holy Father’s words; he connects the Eucharist and life.  Each of us must ask ourselves:

What can I do to make my participation in the Eucharist more meaningful and more relevant to how I live life each day? 

As we gather on Pearse Street this morning, may the Lord bring us to a deeper appreciation of the Eucharist as the divine jewel of our Catholic faith, may we constantly strive to intensely live what we celebrate.

Similar celebrations took place in Tullamore on Saturday 9 June.  Following Mass in O’Connor Park, the Eucharistic procession was led by the Town Band. Bishop Michael Smith, assisted by priests from Tullamore and neighbouring parishes, carried the Blessed Sacrament followed by those who attended Mass. On leaving O’Connor Park, the procession continued along Arden Road, William St. and Bridge St. to O’Connor Square. The celebrations concluded with Benediction. Click here for further details.