An aerial view of City Park Stadium in New Orleans, filled with worshippers at the National Eucharistic Congress of 1938

In the Catholic Church, a eucharistic congress is a gathering of clergy, religious, and laity to bear witness to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, which is an important Catholic doctrine. Congresses bring together people from a wide area, and typically involve large open-air Masses, Eucharistic adoration (Blessed Sacrament), and other devotional ceremonies held over several days. Congresses may both refer to National (varies by country) and International Eucharistic Congresses.

On 28 November 1897, Pope Leo XIII proclaimed St Paschal Baylón patron of Eucharistic Congresses and Associations.[1]


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The 21st International Eucharistic Congress in Montreal in 1910. Canadian Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier is standing on the right.

The first International Eucharistic Congress owed its inspiration to Bishop Gaston de Ségur, and was held at Lille, France, on June 21, 1881. The initial inspiration behind the idea came from the laywoman Marie-Marthe-Baptistine Tamisier (1834–1910) who spent a decade lobbying clergy. The sixth congress met in Paris in 1888, and the great memorial Church of the Sacred Heart on Montmartre was the center of the proceedings. Antwerp hosted the next congress in 1890, at which an immense altar of repose was erected in the Place de Meir, and an estimated 150,000 persons gathered around it when Cardinal Goossens, Archbishop of Mechelen, gave the solemn benediction. Bishop Doutreloux of Liège was then president of the Permanent Committee for the Organization of Eucharistic Congresses, the body which has charge of the details of these meetings. Of special importance also was the eighth congress, held in Jerusalem in 1893, as it was the first congress held outside Europe.

In 1907, the congress was held in Metz, Lorraine, and the German government suspended the law of 1870 (which forbade processions) in order that the usual solemn procession of the Blessed Sacrament might be held. Each year the congress had become more and more international in nature, and at the invitation of Archbishop Bourne of Westminster the nineteenth congress was held in London, the first among English-speaking members of the Church. The presidents of the Permanent Committee of the International Eucharistic Congresses, under whose direction all this progress was made, were:

After each congress this committee prepared and published a volume giving a report of all the papers read and the discussions on them in the various sections of the meeting, the sermons preached, the addresses made at the public meetings, and the details of all that transpired.


International Eucharistic Congresses
Num. Date Location Theme Notes
1st 1881 Jun France Lille The Eucharist Saves the World
2nd 1882 Sep France Avignon
3rd 1883 Jun Belgium Liège
4th 1885 Sep Switzerland Fribourg
5th 1887 Jun France Toulouse
6th 1888 Jul France Paris
7th 1890 Aug Belgium Antwerp
8th 1893 May Ottoman Empire Jerusalem The Divine Mystery of the Eucharist First congress held outside Europe. Attended by hundreds of Latin Rite and Eastern Rite Patriarchs, bishops, priests, and faithful.
9th 1894 Jul France Reims
10th 1897 Sep France Paray-le-Monial
11th 1898 Jul Belgium Brussels
12th 1899 Aug France Lourdes
13th 1901 Sep France Angers
14th 1902 Sep Belgium Namur
15th 1904 Jun France Angoulême
16th 1905 Jun Kingdom of Italy Rome
17th 1906 Aug Belgium Tournai
18th 1907 Aug German Empire Metz
19th 1908 Sep United Kingdom London First Congress held in the English-speaking world.
20th 1909 Aug German Empire Cologne
21st 1910 Sep 7–11 Canada Montreal First Congress held in North America or the Western Hemisphere.
22nd 1911 Jul Spain Madrid
23rd 1912 Sep 12–15 Austria-Hungary Vienna
24th 1913 Apr 23–27 Malta Malta
25th 1914 Jul 22–25 France Lourdes The Eucharist and the Social Reign of Jesus Christ Cardinal G. Pignatelli of Belmonte was the papal legate.
26th 1922 May 24–29 Kingdom of Italy Rome The Peaceful Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist Pope Pius XI officiated the Mass at the St. Peter's Square; first congress after World War I.
27th 1924 Jun 22–27 Netherlands Amsterdam The Eucharist and Holland Cardinal Van Rossum was the papal legate.
28th 1926 Jun 20–24 United States Chicago First congress in the United States. Papal legate: Cardinal Bonzano. Hosted by Cardinal Mundelein, Archbishop of Chicago. Est worshippers: 500,000 at Soldier Field mass, 1 million at St. Mary of the Lake closing mass.
29th 1928 Sep 6–9 Australia Sydney First congress in Australia. The procession of the Eucharist, headed by the papal legate Cardinal Cerretti, was witnessed by 500,000.[2]
30th 1930 May 7–11 French protectorate of Tunisia Carthage The Eucharist is Africa's testimony First congress held in Africa.
31st 1932 Jun 22–26 Republic of Ireland Dublin The Propagation of the Sainted Eucharist by Irish Missionaries 1500th anniversary of Saint Patrick's arrival in Ireland. Catholic population of Ireland in 1932 was 3 million.[3]
32nd 1934 Oct 10–14 Argentina Buenos Aires First congress in South America. Papal legate Cardinal Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII).[4] Over one million people around Palmero Park heard a radio broadcast from the pope in Vatican City. Cardinal Pacelli celebrated High Mass and pronounced apostolic blessing on participants.[5]
33rd 1937 Feb 3–7 Philippines Manila Jesus in the Eucharist, Bread of Angels, Bread of Life First congress in Asia and in the Philippines. Attended by 1.5 million from around the world. Pontifical Masses in Rizal Park, with hundreds of thousands at each.[6]
34th 1938 May 25–30 Hungary Budapest Eucharist, the Bond of Love Papal legate Cardinal Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII).[7] Over 100,000 people from all over the world, including 15 cardinals and 330 bishops.[8]
35th 1952 May 27-Jun 1 Spain Barcelona Peace First congress since the end of World War II. Attended by hundreds of bishops and church officials, including Cardinal Spellman of New York, and Cardinal Stritch of Chicago. The Cold War limited attendance from communist eastern European countries.[9]
36th 1955 Jul 17–24 Brazil Rio de Janeiro Christ the Redeemer and His Eucharistic Kingdom[10]
37th 1960 Jul 31Aug 7 West Germany Munich City chosen by Pope Pius XII, who had been papal nuncio there. Attended by 430 bishops and 28 cardinals, including Cardinal Spellman of New York, Cardinal Cushing of Boston, and Cardinal Meyer of Chicago. Laid a foundation stone for a "church of atonement" near Dachau concentration camp. Closing Statio Orbis Mass celebrated on Theresienwiese Square.[11][12]
38th 1964 Nov 12–15 India Bombay First congress in a country without a significant Christian population, aiming to disseminate the doctrine of the "real presence of Christ in the Eucharist." Attended by Pope Paul VI, many cardinals, and 20,000 foreign visitors.[13]
39th 1968 Aug 18–25 Colombia Bogotá The Eucharist as the Bond of Love Bogota DC was chosen personally by Pope Paul VI, to host the 39th International Eucharistic Congress, following his visit to the Colombian capital. This was the third Congress ever held in a Spanish speaking country, and the first Congress held in Colombia. The Eucharistic Congress was attended by bishops, archbishops, cardinals, clergy members, and faithfuls from all over Latin America and the World, including the Archpishop of Bogota Luis Concha Cordoba, as well as the then Colombian Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, his holiness Pope Paul VI, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires Juan Carlos Aramburu, the Archbishop of Paris François Marty, Archbishop Carroll of Miami, and Archbishop Dearden of Detroit (USA). The Congress was focused on the renovation of the Catholic Church worldwide, but particularly that of Colombia, which was a country seeing great economic and social prosperity due to its economic boom in the mid 20th century. Colombia was a country that demonstrated the great social and economic changes to global societies, as Colombia strived industrialized and modern society, and it was with this in mind, that it was chosen to the be the seat of the 1968 International Eucharistic Congress.
40th 1973 Feb 18–25 Australia Melbourne "Love one another as I have loved you!" [14][15]
41st 1976 Aug 1–8 United States Philadelphia Hungers of the Human Family Attended by 1,500,000 people, including 44 Cardinals and 417 bishops.[16] Theme: "The Eucharist and the Hungers of the Human Family" (physical and spiritual hungers).[17] Mother Teresa and Dorothy Day were panelists at a conference on Women and the Eucharist.[18] Future Pope John Paul II gave the homily for Freedom and Justice.[19] US President Ford spoke of freedom and the Church's work for peace.[20][21][22]
42nd 1981 Jul 16–23 France Lourdes "Jesus Christ, bread broken for a new world" Organization: Henri Donze, Bishop of Lourdes; papal legate Cardinal Bernardin Gantin. Great number of young people, from Third World. Procession with candles successful.[23] This was the third time the congress was held at Lourdes.[24]
43rd 1985 Aug 11–18 Kenya Nairobi The Eucharist and the Christian Family Attended by Pope John Paul II.[25]
44th 1989 Oct 4–8 South Korea Seoul Christ is our Peace As he did four years prior, Pope John Paul II attended the congress, holding the Solemn Mass entirely in Korean on the final day. The two principal objectives were: promoting a deeper understanding of the Eucharist; and living the eucharistic faith in the reality of our world. Attendance was reported to be around 1 million.[26]
45th 1993 Jun 7–13 Spain Seville Christ Light of Nations The first post-Cold War congress, Pope John Paul II addressed the congress and declared, "I hope the fruit of this congress results in the establishment of perpetual Eucharistic adoration in all parishes and Christian communities throughout the world."[27]
46th 1997 May 25Jun 1 Poland Wrocław Freedom as Reflected in the Eucharist Attended by Pope John Paul II.[28] The congress addressed the distinction between "freedom" and "liberty".[29][30]
47th 2000 Jun 18–25 Italy Rome The third to be celebrated in Rome, the congress was the first of its kind to be celebrated in a Jubilee Year.
48th 2004 Oct 10–17 Mexico Guadalajara Pope John Paul II, being too ill to attend, named Cardinal Josef Tomko as Papal Legate. The Congress ended with a celebration of the Mass in the Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara, with a live link up to a simultaneous Mass celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, celebrated in the presence of Pope John Paul II. These simultaneous Masses marked the beginning of the Year of the Eucharist which ran from the International Eucharistic Congress to the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2005.[citation needed]
49th 2008 Jun 15–22 Canada Quebec City The Eucharist, Gift of God for the Life of the World[31] This congress coincided with the 400th anniversary of the city's founding.[31] The closing celebration took place on the Plains of Abraham, attended by tens of thousands of pilgrims.[32] Pope Benedict XVI's message was broadcast live, in both French and English, from the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, via giant screens set up on the meadow.[32] The Pope announced the next Congress was to take place in Dublin, Ireland, in 2012.
50th 2012 Jun 10–17 Republic of Ireland Dublin The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another (drawn from Lumen gentium) The congress coincided with the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of the Second Vatican Council.[33] In addition to the daily celebration of the Eucharist, there were over thirty workshops and presentations daily on various themes associated with the Eucharist. For many years, the Church has failed to respond appropriately to child abuse by clergy.[according to whom?] The blessing of a Healing Stone by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, as well as a personal meeting between the Papal Legate, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, and survivors of clergy sexual abuse, were among the ways in which the issue was addressed.[34] The Pope delivered a pre-recorded address to the closing ceremony on June 17.


51st 2016 Jan 24–31 Philippines Cebu City Christ in You, Our Hope of Glory (From the Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians) The second time in the Philippines, including Manila in 1937. Pope Francis appointed the first Cardinal of Myanmar Cardinal Charles Maung Bo as the Papal Legate.[37]
52nd 2021 Sep 5–12 Hungary Budapest "In You (=in Eucharistic Jesus) is the source of all our blessings." (Cfr.: Ps 87, 7) Originally scheduled to take place in September 2020, it was postponed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the second time Hungary hosted after 1938. Pope Francis performed a mass at Heroes Square, Budapest.[38][39]
53rd 2024 Ecuador Quito This will be in the first Andean country to host the event. It will coincide with the 150th anniversary of the consecration of Ecuador to the Sacred Heart of Jesus made in 1874 by President Gabriel García Moreno and supported by Pope Pius IX.[40]

United States National Eucharistic Congresses for the United States of America[41]
Num. Date Location Theme Notes
1st 1895 Oct 2–3 Washington, DC Held at St. Patrick's Church, the oldest Catholic church in Washington, DC, and at Catholic University, then only 8 years old. Twenty-five archbishops and bishops attended, most prominently James Cardinal Gibbon, the Archbishop of Baltimore along with some 250 priests, most from Fr. Peter Julian Eymard's Priests' Eucharistic League, and most from the Eastern United States.[42]
2nd 1901 Oct 8–10 St. Louis, MO Held at St. Francis Xavier, the college church for St. Louis University, some 15 bishops and 600 priests from the Priests' Eucharistic League attended.[43]
3rd 1904 Sep 27–29 New York, NY Held at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Archbishop John M. Farley of New York hosted the event.[44]
4th 1907 Oct 15–17 Pittsburgh, PA Held in the Cathedral of St. Paul.[45]
5th 1911 Sep 28–Oct 1 Cincinnati, OH Held at St. Peter's Cathedral. Archbishop Henry K. Moeller of Cincinnati hosted the event.[46]
6th 1930 Sep 23–25 Omaha, NE The Congress was held at a number of different locations in Omaha, including the cathedral, St. Cecilia's and Creighton University. A number of newsreel companies were on hand to film the event. Bishop Joseph Rummel of Omaha hosted the event.[47]
7th 1935 Sep 23–27 Cleveland, OH 500,000 Catholics from around the nation attended. The final Mass, in Cleveland Municipal Stadium drew 125,000. Speakers included Fulton J. Sheen, and Alfred E. Smith, the first Catholic major party presidential candidate. Pope Pius XI addressed the Congress by radio.[48]
8th 1938 Oct 17–20 New Orleans, LA Held in City Park Stadium. Chicago's George Cardinal Mundelein, served as a special Papal legate for the Congress. The Goodyear Blimp broadcast sermons, music and the rosary over special loudspeakers along the route for the final procession. Over radio, Pope Pius XI opened the Congress with a five minute address and closed it with a special blessing from Castel Gandolfo.[49]
9th 1941 Jun 22–26 St. Paul, MN Held at the fairgrounds for the Minnesota State Fair. About 150 bishops from across the United States attended.[50]
10th 2024 Jul 17–21 Indianapolis, IN To be held in Lucas Oil Stadium.[51]

See also


  1. ^ Acta Ordinis Fratrum Minorum. Ad Claras Aquas. 1897. pp. 207–208.
  2. ^ "International Eucharistic Congress 1928". Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  3. ^ "In Dublin". Time. June 20, 1932. Archived from the original on December 8, 2008. Retrieved June 22, 2008.
  4. ^ "Site locations changed". Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  5. ^ "16 Oct 1934 - Eucharistic Congress. Buenos Aires, Oct. 14". October 16, 1934. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  6. ^ "Cebu City Hosting the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in 2016". Manila Bulletin. June 28, 2012.
  7. ^ "Site locations changed". Florida International University. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  8. ^ "46th IEC - The History of Eucharistic Congresses". Archived from the original on January 26, 2016. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  9. ^ Ehlen, Ethel K. (January 22, 1952). "International Eucharistic Congress to Meet in Barcelona, Spain In May; Peace is Keynote of 35th Congress". Palm Beach Daily News. Archived from the original on January 24, 2013 – via Google News Archive.
  10. ^ "British Columbia Pilgrimage To Eucharistic Congress Set". The Manitoba Ensign. March 5, 1955. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016 – via Google News Archive.
  11. ^ "Catholics Open 37th Congress". The Miami News. July 31, 1960. Archived from the original on January 24, 2013.
  12. ^ "25 from Here to Join 37th Eucharistic Parley". The Milwaukee Journal. June 25, 1960. Archived from the original on January 24, 2013 – via Google News Archive.
  13. ^ "Roman Catholics: Bombay's Spiritual Spectacular". Time. December 4, 1964. Archived from the original on July 15, 2010. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  14. ^ Jn 15,17
  15. ^ "Radiomessage for the conclusion of the 40th International Eucharistic Congress, 25 February 1973 | Paul VI". February 25, 1973. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  16. ^ John DeMayo and Joseph Casino, The Forty-First Interional Eucharistic Congress, August 1–8, 1976: A History, (Pennsauken: DeVilieger, 1978) 6, 144; MC 80, 100.611: Committee on Special Guests: Final Report to the Board of Governors, August 16, 1967,
  17. ^ . MC 80, 100.2792: Letter to James Cardinal Knox from John Cardinal Krol, March 7, 1975,
  18. ^ MC 80, 100.1548: Letter to Cardinal Krol from Dorothy Day January 29, 1976,; MC 80, 100.1673: Letter to Cardinal Krol from Mother Teresa.
  19. ^ MC 80, 100.1755S7.1: Karol Cardinal Wojtyla Homily
  20. ^ The 41st IEC: A History, 547.
  21. ^ "41st International Eucharistic Congress". Catholic Historical Research Center of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. August 5, 2019. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  22. ^ "41st International Eucharistic Congress 1976". Catholic Historical Research Center of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  23. ^ "42. Congresso Eucaristico a Lourdes (Francia) dal 16 al 23 luglio 1981". Pontificio comitato per i congressi eucaristici internazionali. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  24. ^ "What happened at the Congress". Catholic Herald. August 7, 1981. Archived from the original on April 19, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  25. ^ ""Statio Orbis" mass for the conclusion of the 43rd International Eucharistic Congress in Nairobi - Kenya (August 18, 1985)". August 18, 1985. Archived from the original on January 31, 2016. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  26. ^ Bishop Michael Smith (May 1989). "International Eucharistic Congress, Seoul, South Korea". The Furrow. 40 (5): 301–304. JSTOR 27661523.
  27. ^ "Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration". Archived from the original on August 24, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  28. ^ "46th International Eucharistic Congress". Archived from the original on March 5, 2017. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  29. ^ "Watchman, what of the night? : 46th International Eucharistic Congress" (PDF). Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  30. ^ "46. International Eucharistic Congress - English Home Page". September 10, 1997. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  31. ^ a b "Celebration of the 400th Anniversary of Québec City". Archived from the original on July 5, 2008. Retrieved June 22, 2008.
  32. ^ a b "Pope: "Due Honour to Eucharistic Rite"- Dublin to Host Congress 2012". Vatican Radio. June 22, 2008. Archived from the original on April 15, 2013. Retrieved June 22, 2008.
  33. ^ "Lumen gentium". Archived from the original on September 6, 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  34. ^ "IEC 2012 Videos | IEC 2012". Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  35. ^ "Full text: Pope's address to Congress". The Irish Times. June 17, 2012. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  36. ^ "Final day of Eucharistic Congress gets underway". RTE News. June 17, 2012. Retrieved June 21, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  37. ^ "51st IEC 'successful'". Philippine Daily Inquirer. February 1, 2016. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  38. ^ "International Eucharistic Congress Postponed". Retrieved October 13, 2022.
  39. ^ "Pope Francis in Budapest for 1st leg of Apostolic visit". Retrieved October 13, 2022.
  40. ^ "53rd International Eucharistic Congress to take place in Ecuador". Vatican News. March 20, 2021. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  41. ^ "History of the National and International Eucharistic Congresses". National Eucharistic Congress. Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  42. ^ First National Eucharistic Congress (1896). Eucharistic conferences; the papers presented at the first American eucharistic congress, Washington, D. C., October, 1895. The Catholic Book Exchange. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  43. ^ Poirier, Rev. E. (1904). "The Eucharistic Movement and the Third Eucharistic Congress of the United States". In Third Eucharistic Congress (ed.). Third Eucharistic Congress of the United States. p. 5–6. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  44. ^ Third Eucharistic Congress (1904). Third Eucharistic Congress of the United States. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  45. ^ Reverend A.A. Lambing, LL.D. (October 3, 1907). "The Pittsburgh Catholic". No. Volume 64. Diocese of Pittsburgh. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  46. ^ "Chimes". Cincinnati Enquirer. September 28, 1911. p. 4. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  47. ^ "The Catholic Voice". Archdiocese of Omaha. November 17, 2023. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  48. ^ "Seventh National Eucharistic Congress". Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Case Western Reserve University. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  49. ^ Paterson, Seale (September 30, 2022). "The 8th National Eucharist Congress". New Orleans Magazine. Renaissance Publishing. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  50. ^ Umberger, Barb (June 25, 2021). "Practicing Catholic: 1941 National Eucharistic Congress in St. Paul drew tens of thousands". The Catholic Spirit. Archdiocese of St. Paul. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  51. ^ "National Eucharistic Congress". Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Retrieved February 7, 2024.


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