Fully 1.2 billion Catholics from five continents “will be watching us over the next few days” when the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress is held, Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, told public radio on Sunday.
Not only is the Congress a big draw for Catholics, but other denominations in Hungary and surrounding countries are also showing interest in “the big Christian meeting” in Budapest, the cardinal said.
“We agree with Eastern Christians on the Eucharist, so we have a common faith,” he said. “There’s a real basis for celebrating it together.”
More than 200,000 people have registered to attend the Congress’s various programmes, though registration is not required for participation in the main events, including the closing Mass to be held by Pope Francis. So far 75,000 faithful have registered for the final event, while various groups have indicated that they will come to Mass without registration, he added.
The head of the Hungarian Catholic Church said that the “statio orbis”, or “Assembly of the World”, led by the pope palpably symbolized the church’s unity.
The 52nd International Eucharistic Congress started on Sunday afternoon in Budapest, while closing Mass takes place at Heroes’ Square next Sunday. Hungary is hosting the event for the second time since 1938. Originally scheduled to be held in 2020, the event was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Featured photo illustration by Márton Mónus/MTI