Péter Erdő: The Congress is the spirit of Christian love towards the world

06 March 2020

This will be the first time when during the International Eucharistic Congress the Holy Eucharistic will be presented in lovari –one of the many gypsy dialects- language as well. Moreover the poor and needy are going to be invited to love feasts both in Budapest and in cities around the country. We welcome everybody to the Budapest Catholic world event with a range of programs from scientific symposia, concerts with famous performers, heart breaking testimonies, interesting lectures – said, amongst others, Primate, Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest as the guest of “Good Morning Hungary” radio broadcasting of Radio Kossuth.

Cardinal Péter Erdő finds realistic Pope Frances’ visit to participate on the Closing event of the Congress. The Archbishop said that Pope Frances has been invited to the Catholic world event by himself, by the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference and by János Áder, President as well. “I strongly believe that the Statio Orbis – Closing Mass will be celebrated by the Holy Father himself. This Holy Eucharistic is going to be the solemnest event of the Congress, and will be presented on behalf the entire world.”

It was also mentioned by the Cardinal that the full event program of the Congress has been finished, well-known and prominent people, speakers accepted the invitation to perform lectures, testimonies and to celebrate Masses.

Péter Erdő emphasized that the world meeting is not dedicated solely to religious events, but to special prior events, programs as well, the aim of which are to express Christian love towards the world. On March 24th Budapest will host a the Caritas Hungarica international charity conference, being a muster of the social workers’ profession.

Love feast: in community with the needy

Prior to the Congress, a 3 days Theological Symposium is to be held in Esztergom, with the participation of the most outstanding theologians from all the continents.
Péter Erdő also spoke about the Love feast to be organised on the John Paul II. Square in Budapest, whereby hot meals will be served for the poor and the needy. “The feast is not a food distribution only, but we are going to have lunch together, expressing our feeling for being in community with them. Very similar events are going to be held in many cities around the country as well.”

The very same day, also in the spirit of community building, local and foreign guests are invited to a mutual religious and musical event to the Dohány street Synagogue of Budapest, organised together with the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary.

The registered ones amount up to 50 thousand already

The Congress starts on the 13th September with an Opening Mass in the Puskás Ferenc Stadium. The interest is incredible high, already more than 4500 have registered to the first communion. The Cardinal also mentioned that the white communion dress is made by a cooperative employing handicapped and reduced working capacity workers. The employees of the sewing shop are invited to the Opening Ceremony, to show them the fruit of their hard work.

26 thousands pilgrims have registered so far as individual participants, and together with the groups their number exceeds 50 thousand, arriving from 80 countries to the Congress.

Péter Erdő emphasised: at the Hungexpo the participants can meet lecturers and testimonies, like Konstantin Szabó from Sub-Carpathia, who will speak about his life as a priest in the illegality, since the Greek-Catholich Church was prohibited in the Soviet Union. He speaks about how his priest father could manage to celebrate the services, and how he suffered for this reason, and how he, Konstantin prepared himself for his priesthood in secret.

The Cardinal also mentioned the name of Jose Palme, Archbishop of CEBU, being host of the previous Eucharistic Congress held in the Philippines. The political and religious tensions are well known from the news, however the assassination against Jose Palme was committed by a severely depressed man of fevered mind, loosing his life in the gunfire with the police. Following the assassination attempt Jose Palme called the assassin’s father offering his assistance, thus showing the gesture of reconciliation.

“Sako Patriarch from Iraq witnessed himself how drastically the Iraqi Christian Community disappeared by now. Upon his personal experiences he can dramatically demonstrate how the events of the Middle-East effect the Christian world” – said Péter Erdő.

The Cardinal talked about the Nigerian Archbishop, John Onaiyekan, who closely witnessed the Boko Haram foundation and the expansion, along with all those terror attacks that forced 650 thousand of people to flee. Péter Erdő highlighted the importance, the wisdom and heroism in order to represent reconciliation and dialogue in such circumstances.

Faith and support

Cardinal Erdő called the radio listeners’ attention to the Italian writer, Chiara Amirante’s lecture, who in gratitude for her recovery, initiated a movement at the beginning of the 90’s. She started contacts with the poor, the homeless, the alcoholics, the drug addicts living near the Rome Termini station. She paid attention to everyone’s personal problem, how they happened to end up on the street. By now she is working on to ensure new perspectives for them, together with them they operate hundreds of centres. Péter Erdő added: Chiara has not established a drug rehab network, rather she showed the way of the personal repentance, ensuring a determinant impact for many life.

Moysés Azevedo, the founder of the Catholic Shalom Community will also be the guest of the Congress. Moyses has been called to become a priest during an Eucharistic Congress. He was about to hand over a gift to Pope John Paul II. on behalf of the Brazil youth – evoked Péter Erdő the community leader’s life. He was poor, -he said-, thus offered his life. By now he operates more than 400 pizzerias, sport centres together with the teenagers, showing them the path to the life of work and the faith.

Mass in Lovari language: The great feast of the development

This will be the first time when during the International Eucharistic Congress the Holy Eucharistic will be presented in lovari. “Unique and important event in each nation’s life, when the Bible is translated into their language, when the Holy Mass is celebrated in their own langue, this is the great feast of pride and cultural fulfilment” – worded the Cardinal. This event will be held on the 17th September at the Hungexpo. In the course of a workshop it will also be demonstrated what colourful and varied the gypsy pastoral is.

Péter Erdő was also asked about the Corona virus. The Cardinal emphasized that those measures were taken, which are usual during flu epidemics in moderate emergency situation: at the Mass the distribution of communion is effected hand to hand only, peace kiss is abandoned, while believers and priest are called for frequent hand wash.