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United Kingdom: Liverpool, Eucharistic Congress of English Catholic Church starting tomorrow

(London) “With this Eucharistic Congress in Liverpool, the English Catholic Church concludes the mission which began 110 years ago with the only other event of this kind on British soil. In 1908, the City of London almost turned Catholic with the arrival of Cardinal Vincenzo Vannutelli, the first Papal Legate to set foot in England since 1550”. This is how Fr. Nicholas Schofield, archivist at Westminster Cathedral in London, presents “Adoremus”, the second appointment with the Eucharistic in the UK. It will be held from tomorrow, Friday 7 September, to Saturday 9 September, at two locations, the Arena and the Catholic Cathedral of the city of the Beatles, with ten thousand faithful expected to attend the three-day celebration. At the first Congress in 1908, Catholics were prohibited from carrying the Blessed Sacrament in procession because of the opposition of the most extreme Protestant associations. Next Sunday, instead, walking behind the Blessed Sacrament will be not just the Catholic Primate Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Liverpool Malcolm McMahon, and the president of the Eucharistic Congress, the Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham Robert Byrne, but also the Anglican Bishop of Liverpool Paul Bayes, Methodist leader Sheryl Anderson, and other Christian leaders – something that would have been unthinkable a century ago. The programme features a theological symposium on Friday, a gathering on Saturday at the “Echo Arena” in Liverpool, which can accommodate up to ten thousand people, and finally the procession on Sunday. “One hundred years ago, our goal was to conquer a place in the public sphere. Today, it is to counter secularization”, Congress organiser Bishop Robert Byrne concludes.

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