It’s good to know that the pilgrims are not only hearing about the Eucharist, receiving the Eucharist, or reading about the Eucharist – they are adoring the Eucharist, too!!!
I learned some very interesting things – there are eight, I repeat, EIGHT Eucharistic Adoration sites associated with the Eucharistic Congress. Impressive, eh? Two are in the Eucharistic City and the other six are outside the grounds. That’s wonderful for pilgrims who want to rest their weary feet and souls. I’ll speak about the on-site ones.
Chapelle de la Nouvelle Alliance houses the Ark of the Covenant. It is a small space, bright, and it’s completely quiet in there. Everyone kneels all around the monstrance on top of the Ark. I had some adoration time where I told my God, “I am here for you. There are many things on my mind, but I want you to know that I am here for you. Use this time as you will.” I saw people on wheelchairs, people with heavy bags, big raincoats – all sorts of people. But they came into this chapel because of their love for the Eucharist.
Chapelle Don de Dieu was a much bigger venue. The monstrance is very big, and there is a space for a band on one side and the chairs are all over. There are scheduled times throughout the day where different religious orders, lay groups or ministries would come and either sing or pray for Adoration. I really loved hearing beautiful voices in the background, and being in a darker atmosphere. There were sections for candles and for Confession. And in the dark, one can rest! I saw tired pilgrims sleeping on the floor (or maybe praying with their eyes closed in a reclining position, I don’t know). I met a couple from Alberta – the woman is expecting a baby in August but she and her husband really wanted to do this pilgrimage. I met a volunteer who says that her life changed because of the Eucharist. The joint Director of the Adoration Chapels talked about the vision they had of the Adoration chapels, to help transform hearts. All in all, it was a wonderful shoot.
Right after this shoot, Pedro picked me up in the van and we headed off to the Church of Marie de l’Incarnation. The Archdiocese of Toronto has over 500 pilgrims – Archbishop Collins of Toronto asked the parishes to sponsor two representatives, and the parishes responded heartily! They were all at this Church as part of their afternoon activities, for a prayer service led by Bishop Grecco, Auxiliary bishop of Toronto. All the pilgrims I talked to shared their overwhelming happiness about being part of this Congress. One talked about how happy he was to be in Quebec City, the place where he experienced his conversion.
For the fans I met today, thank you again! I met Fr. Ronnie from a parish in Woodbridge, who recognized me from Journey of Light. There were some ladies who recognized me, too, and people who kept snapping pictures of me. I really felt like a star! I think it appropriate that on the way back to my hotel, I had to walk on a red carpet to get through. It is my version of the red carpet at Cannes! Too bad I didn’t catch a picture of it.
Later on today, I will be appearing on-camera with Matthew to introduce and conclude our live coverage of the Eucharistic Congress. The continent being featured is Asia, and I can’t wait to hear the catechesis of Bishop Tagle from the Philippines and the witness talk of Elizabeth Nguyen Thi Thu Hong. Stay tuned to Salt and Light TV’s live coverage of Day 5 of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress!!