A cardinal has urged Catholics worldwide to take part in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament Saturday in preparation for next year’s International Eucharistic Congress.
Writing on the global initiative’s website, Cardinal Péter Erdő invited Catholics to join together in Adoration Nov. 21, the vigil of the Feast of Christ the King.
“In the current epidemiological situation, where there is no opportunity to gather in our churches, we can also join in from our homes with our personal prayers,” said the archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and Primate of Hungary.
“Let us take part in this common adoration, join in with your parish, your community and your family! Let this worldwide adoration be the next station of our preparation for the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, and let us relive the regenerating love of God.”
Organizers have asked participants to register online at corpusdomini.iec2020.hu. The website reported that 2,002 communities had registered as of Nov. 17, in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Oceania.
According to the website of the 2021 International Eucharistic Congress, worldwide adoration has taken place twice a year -- on the Saturday of the week of Corpus Christi and the vigil of the Feast of Christ the King -- for the past three years, with a growing number of participants.
Saturday will mark the seventh time that the global event has been held. Last November, Catholics prayed together at 1,118 locations in 54 countries.
The Vatican announced in April that the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, due to be held in September, would be postponed to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Holy See press office director Matteo Bruni said that the decision to move the eight-day gathering to September 2021 was taken by Pope Francis, together with the Hungarian bishops and the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.
The schedule of the Sept. 13-20 event included Mass, prayer, catechesis, and talks, as well as cultural and spiritual events around the Hungarian capital.
The International Eucharistic Congress first took place in France in 1881 with the goal of increasing devotion to the Eucharist.
The last congress was held in Cebu, in the Philippines, in 2016. There were 12,000 participants, though millions took part in associated Masses.
The event aims to offer a witness to the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist and promote a better understanding of the liturgy and the Eucharist in the life of the Church. The congress is now typically held every four years.
Hungary has a population of 9.8 million, 62% of whom are Catholic. The country, which borders Austria, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, Ukraine and Slovakia, last hosted the Eucharistic Congress in 1938.
In his message ahead of the worldwide Adoration on Saturday, Cardinal Erdő said: “Jesus Christ, when saying farewell to His disciples, sent them into the whole world to proclaim the gospel. He promised to be with them ‘always, until the end of the age.’”
“He is with us in his teaching, in his mercy, in his sacraments, but most specially in the celebration of the Eucharist and in the Blessed Sacrament that we adore outside the Holy Mass, too.”