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Shrine to host Eucharistic congress

WASHINGTON - The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious will sponsor its second eucharistic congress Sept. 11-12 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

The congress, free and open to all, will focus on the Eucharist in the context of three types of Christian vocations - priesthood, religious life and marriage - and how each group can better appreciate the sacrament. The vocations are all characterized by an "irrevocable" commitment, an identification with Christ and a complete gift of self in love, according to the council's Web site.

The congress theme is "Sacrifice of Enduring Love."

"What we really want is to incite a love for the Eucharist," said Sister Doretta D'Albero, a member of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a spokeswoman for the council.

"With the demystification of just about everything else in society, I think there's a demystification of the Eucharist," she said in an interview with Catholic News Service.

Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington will convene the congress, followed by Mass with Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia as the main celebrant and homilist. He is the episcopal liaison for the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious.

Other events will include catechesis, workshops, eucharistic adoration and procession, music and an evening fireworks display dedicated to Our Lady Queen of Peace.

Speakers will include Carl Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus; Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec; Terry Polakovic, executive director of Endow, a Catholic educational program for women; Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston; Mother Ann Marie Karlovic, prioress general of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia; Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien of Baltimore; and Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The first congress drew 4,000 people from throughout the U.S. in 2004. Sister Doretta said it was hard to predict the outcome of this year's event, which took a year to plan.

"You show up, the Spirit shows up, and it all unfolds so beautifully," she said.

Find out more

More information about the upcoming eucharistic congress is available in English and Spanish on the Web site of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, www.cmswr.org, and in the calendar section of the national shrine's Web site, www.nationalshrine.com.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2009