Last week, this page featured an article explaining what a Eucharistic Congress is, where the idea to have one came from, and why Bishop Baker decided to move forward. In recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the Diocese of Birmingham being made its own See, a Eucharistic Congress is a great opportunity to thank God, to consider more deeply our call to be Missionary Disciples, and to learn how to draw our strength in that call from the True Presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
But how exactly will that happen at the BJCC? What will happen at this event that will accomplish those goals?
On this page you will find a provisional schedule for the event. We will begin Friday evening with a welcome at 6:30. Bishop Felipe Estévez of the Diocese of Str Augustine, FL, will talk to us about the Eucharist and reconciliation and reparation. His address will be bilingual. We will then all leave the BJCC and process outdoors (weather permitting) to the Cathedral of St Paul by candlelight. On the steps of St Paul’s we will pray for a short while, and then the Eucharist will be brought inside the Cathedral where Jesus will remain exposed for adoration throughout the night.
Saturday morning, the BJCC will open at 8:30am. The exhibit floor with vendors and ministries will be open for you to browse. At 9:00am we will gather for an opening prayer, and then the main activities will begin. Throughout the day, our brothers and sisters who need talks in the Spanish language will remain in the main meeting area where they will have several inspiring talks and a time for Adoration. The teens (middle and high school) who are present will be invited to move to a special conference room with talks and music set up just for them. There will be a room with sessions for children from Kindergarten to 5th grade. And there will be several options available to English speaking adults in the smaller conference rooms. Each of these adult break out sessions will be delivered twice, so you don’t have to be afraid to miss one for the sake of another. There will be maps and helpful people around to assist you in traveling from one place to another.
During this whole time, the exhibit floor will remain open, and there will also be a small chapel with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament if you wish to spend a few minutes there. For lunch, there will be concession stands open to purchase food.
At 3:00pm, all the activities will wind down except the exhibit floor. And at 4:00pm we will begin the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as Bishop Baker announced in last weeks One Voice, where all the clergy and people of the Diocese and our guests will join with many of our neighboring bishops in giving thanks to God for the blessings given to our Church. At the end of this liturgy, Bishop Baker will commission many who have accepted the call and been formed in this new vigor for missionary discipleship, and he will send us out to bring the light of the Faith to all our neighbors.
Please make sure you continue to read these articles, prepare to be at the Eucharistic Congress, and invite everyone! Next week in this space, we’ll hear about the literal road to the Congress, which as many of you know is under construction…