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Tuesday, June 21, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 21 JUN 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office a press conference was held to present the twenty-fifth Italian Eucharistic Congress, due to be held in the city of Ancona from 3 to 11 September on the theme: "Lord, to whom shall we go? The Eucharist for daily life".

  Participating in today's conference were Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli of Ancona-Osimo; Vittorio Sozzi, head of the Cultural Project of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI); Giovanni Morello, president of the academic committee for exhibitions during the congress, and Fr. Ivan Maffeis, vice director of the CEI national office for social communications.

  Benedict XVI will make a pastoral visit to Ancona on 11 September, where at 10 a.m. he is due to preside at a concelebration of the Eucharist at the city's shipyard to mark the close of the congress. During the afternoon he will meet with families and clergy in the basilica of San Cyriacus, then address a group of young couples in the Piazza del Plebiscito before returning to the Vatican.

  Vittorio Sozzi explained how the congress has been divided into five thematic areas: affections, fragility, work and rest, tradition, citizenship. "The celebration of the National Eucharistic Congress", he said, "may be seen as an important occasion for the public reaffirmation of faith in the Eucharist, the Sacrament of salvation and communion".

  The celebration of the twenty-fifth Italian Eucharistic Congress will also involve a series of cultural events, including an exhibition entitled "At the Table of The Lord: Masterpieces of European art from Raphael to Tiepolo", which will be held at the city's Mole Vanvitelliana from 2 September 2011 to 8 January 2012.

  The exhibition will include a series of Italian and European works from the fifteenth century on. The theme is that of the Last Supper, as interpreted by artists from two different perspectives: the institution of the Eucharist and the communion of the Apostles. The event, which is being organised by the Italian Ministry for Culture and the Vatican Museums, will also include a section on liturgical vessels from the Marches, especially gifts made by Popes over the course of the centuries to the various churches in that region of Italy.

  Another exhibition taking place within the ambit of the congress is entitled "Signs of the Eucharist" and has been organised with contributions from all dioceses in the Marches. It is based on the premise that the church is first and foremost a place for celebrating Mass, the liturgy of which is structured around the main Sacrament of the Eucharist. The practice of this liturgical rite requires a certain number of objects associated with the altar of the Eucharist, and the exhibition seeks to illustrate and describe these objects, which are an expression of popular religiosity, as well as of the splendour of the Church and her relationship with the local area.

  A third cultural initiative taking place in the context of the Italian Eucharistic Congress has as its title: "I must stay at your house today: The Eucharist, the grace of an unexpected encounter". It is an itinerant exhibition which, starting from the Gospel episode of Jesus' meeting with Zaccheus, illustrates the human need for the Eucharist.
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