The International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, Hungary, will open this September with a 1,000-strong choir and a “vast” number of First Communions.
The organizers of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress made the announcement as they released new details of the packed program for the Sept. 5-12 event.
At a press conference in the Hungarian capital, the hosts emphasized the significance of Pope Francis’ decision to celebrate the event’s closing Mass in the city’s Heroes’ Square.
The congress was originally scheduled to take place in 2020 but was postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The visit of the Holy Father sends a strong message as it was 21 years ago the last time when the supreme pontiff, at that time St. Pope John Paul II, attended an International Eucharistic Congress — in Rome,” they said in a press statement.
“The Holy See usually is represented by the apostolic nuncio or legate at such global events, and the pope generally addresses the pilgrims in video messages.”
They noted that the congress will begin at 3 p.m. local time on Sunday, Sept. 5, in Heroes’ Square with an opening ceremony including a performance by a choir of 1,000 singers.
The opening Mass will then be celebrated by the papal legate at 4 p.m. in the square, which honors Hungarian national leaders. The Mass will be attended by students from Hungary’s Catholic schools.
Organizers said that “vast numbers are going to partake of the First Communion” at the Mass.
On Monday, Sept. 6, five days of events will begin at the main congress venue, the Hungexpo Budapest Congress and Exhibition Center.
The event’s program lists cardinals from five continents as leaders of the congress’ morning prayers, catechesis, testimonies, and workshops.