On the weekend of September 7-9th the Bishops of England and Wales held a National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and Congress in Liverpool.
This gathering of the clergy, religious and laity was held to promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Church.
The title of the Congress – Adoremus – was a call for each of us to rejuvenate our worship of Jesus in the Blessed Eucharist and to focus on the place of the Blessed Sacrament in our lives.
In solidarity with those attending the Congress, Father Philip arranged for parishioners from Holy Ghost Church Exmouth and St. Peter’s Church Budleigh Salterton to come together as one for the celebration of Mass and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in the garden of Holy Ghost Church.
In his homily Father Philip made reference to the word “Ephphatha” which we had just heard in the Gospel reading. He explained that it means “Be opened” and said that the word “Ephphatha” is just as relevant to the Church today. He told us that whenever we feel hesitant or tongue-tied as disciples we should pray for more openness to hearing the word of God and listening to what God is asking of us.
Father Philip told us that at the time of the last Eucharistic Congress in 1908 a public procession of the Blessed Sacrament was not allowed. He said that nowadays we can be more open about expressing our Faith, explaining that as we are all tabernacles of Christ we carry Our Lord out into the world wherever we go. Father said that by celebrating Mass and Benediction out in the open we were sharing our faith and were being witnesses to neighbours and those passing by. He also told us that by our example we can show others the Good News that Jesus Christ loves us, gave his life to save us and lives by our side every day, to enlighten, strengthen and free us.
There was a large congregation attending Mass, sitting on an assortment of garden chairs, picnic benches and colourful rugs and cushions. After Mass coffee was served and it was wonderful to see so many people sitting outside in the warm sunshine eating their picnic lunches and chatting with their fellow parishioners.