The Vatican has postponed another international gathering due to COVID-19, with the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress, due to be held in Budapest this September, postponed to 2021. Source: CNA.
A statement from Holy See press office director Matteo Bruni yesterday said the decision to move the eight-day gathering to September 2021 was made by Pope Francis together with the Hungarian bishops and the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.
Pope Francis this week also postponed by one year the World Meeting of Families in Rome and World Youth Day in Lisbon. The World Meeting of Families will be pushed back until June 2022, while World Youth Day will take place in August 2023.
The schedule of this year’s congress, planned for September 13-20, included Mass, prayer, catechesis, and talks, as well as cultural and spiritual events in the Hungarian capital.
A three-day symposium featuring talks on the Eucharist by religious and theologians was planned in the lead-up to the congress.
Pope Francis had been asked to visit Hungary for the event by the country's President, János Áder, who extended the invitation during a February meeting.
The Vatican had not made any official announcement about a papal trip to Budapest, but during an Angelus address December 15, Pope Francis asked for prayers for the conference’s success.
The International Eucharistic Congress first took place in France in 1881 with the goal of increasing devotion to the Eucharist and bringing awareness to the large number of Catholics in the country.
It has continued to be held every few years in a different city and has crossed the globe, taking place in Jerusalem, Nairobi, Melbourne, Korea, the United States and throughout Europe.
The last congress was held in Cebu, The Philippines, in 2016. There were 12,000 participants at the congress, though millions took part in associated Masses. Hungary last hosted the Eucharistic Congress in 1938.
The event aims to give witness to the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist and to promote a better understanding of the liturgy and the Eucharist in the life of the Church. The congress is now typically held every four years.